A Social Worker Essay

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For decades, British governments pledged to combat and reduce the alleged cost of addressing the associated harms of substance misuse. Critics argue ploughing money into substance misuse diverts billions of pounds from more productive expenditure (Fordham et al, 2007). Yet investment in this area is essential for improving the prospects of future generations, especially as unknown numbers of children are subjected to ‘hidden harm’ amid their home environment (ACMD, 2003). Having unsuccessfully trialled different initiatives, the latest drug policy resorted to ‘recovery’. This approach tackles addiction by addressing wider contributory issues to encourage respectful and socially-accepted behaviour, and individuals to eventually contribute as fully fledged members of the community (HM Gov, 2010).

Despite the benefits, many are reluctant to participate within the recovery programme. Hesitancy primarily originates from the prejudicial attitude of structural forces, like government and the media, which caused substance misuse to become one of the most stigmatised conditions (Livingston et al, 2012). The role of a social worker is to minimise the impact of stigma by demonstrating that service users are accepted and worthy of assistance, boosting their morale and self-esteem, and working alongside them to show that recovery is really possible. This essay analyses the main drivers making substance misusers resistant to changing their behaviour, as well as discusses the

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