This book is a quick and accessible reference guide to the key concepts that social work students and professionals need to understand to be effective. The authors place practice at the center of the text, and include a host of case examples to bring the concepts to life.

Examining the essential topics of the social work curriculum, the concepts covered relate to practice, theory, policy and personal challenges. Further reading is included in each entry, so that the reader can explore what they have learned in more detail.

This book will be an invaluable resource for social work students during their studies and on their practice placement. It will also be useful for qualified social workers, who want to continue their professional education.

Substance Misuse

Substance misuse


In this chapter, the term substance misuse includes the misuse of all substances including drugs, alcohol and prescribed medication. In most western societies individuals use substances for comfort, pleasure, to treat medical conditions, or to relax or energise themselves in the face of their daily routine. Individual clients often use a range of substances in the course of a normal week.

Traditionally three types of substance use have been established:

  • Experimental use concerns the first time the individual uses that substance. Although very harmful in a small minority of cases, for most users and families experimental use is not problematic.
  • Social use is where use occurs within a social group. This kind of use is within boundaries and the user can and does choose to ...
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