The constant exposure to persons who are addicted to illegal and prescriptions drugs has given me a sort of sixth sense about relapse and actual recovery. When social workers initially start their work with families, there is a certain type of behavior expected from drug addicted parents. Drug addicts are angry that their children are removed from their care, and they are devastated that they are required to quit their drug of choice in order to have their kids returned. If you look at the situation from their point of view, it is obvious that there is a sense of disappointment that changes are essential for the restoration of their family. With the pressures of recovery and the contingencies upon which children are returned, parents are placed in an almost impossible situation.
There should be an expectation that substance abusers will initially resist change, lingering in the pre-contemplative stage of recovery. The house is empty because the children have been whisked away by strangers, and you have no idea where your children are being placed. In the case of infants, they are placed with potential adoptive parents who are gambling their emotions, and often hoping that substance abusers continue their destructive behaviors. In the case of teens, they could be placed in group homes, which is probably one step from juvenile detention. A group home is possibly the worst type of foster placement available. The children placed within these homes are drug users and juvenile delinquents who have been in the foster care system for most of their lives. It is proper to make the comparative notion between incarcerated adults and teenagers in group homes. Incarcerated adults become better criminals before being released into the population; similarly, group home teens learn from their peers the proper methods of manipulation within a flawed social services system.
Different types of substance abusers are stigmatized, especially those who abandon, neglect, and abuse their own children. Marijuana users are not as stigmatized due to the acceptance of the drug among elite circles. The nation’s presidents have smoked marijuana, but were able to raise their own children while dominating the political system. Marijuana use may cause a sombering effect on cognitive and behavioral functioning, but it does not automatically become the center of a person’s life. Marijuana does not cause a physical addiction, but there are instances in which users develop a mental addiction in the presence of tragedy and adversity. Abuse, in general, causes some people to seek out easy resolutions to their problems. Even Marijuana serves as a temporary fix for personal problems.
In cases in which substance abusers are given the option between continuing their drug use and raising their own children, addicts began a mental and physical interpersonal war. It is easy for nonusers to choose their children over anything else in their lives, but it is an entirely different comparison when addictive drugs are present in the lives of certain people. Heroin is probably one of the most addictive drugs on the market, causing an instant addiction after initial use. Its significance is so entirely prevalent that the US government created an alternative to the use of Heroin. Opioid Replacement therapy, in the form of Methadone, has provided recovering Heroin addicts with a safer alternative to their addiction. However, there are critics who suggest that this sort of drug replacement continues addiction when a substance abuse intervention program is not incorporated with treatment. In areas of the country, there are Methadone clinics that require patients to participate in group and individual therapy before users are provided Methadone treatment.
Substance abusing parents incorporating treatment programs into their lives as mandatory intervention for the return of the children is very stressful, and in many cases, may cause relapse in the beginning stages of treatment. It is necessary for social workers and treatment professionals to understand the stresses of participating in recovery, which determines whether their biological children are returned to their care. Motivational methods of intervention are often beneficial when social workers have contact with the parents in recovery.
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