Understanding Substance Use

Understanding Substance Use
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Policy and Practice
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Elaine Arnull
Critical Approaches to Social Work
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The book will enable social work professionals to develop a critical understanding of substance use policy, theory and practice which they can use in practice.

Changes to drug and alcohol policy post-1995 introduced the partnership style of working and many different routes by which treatment can be accessed. This means that a wide variety of professional groups now work with drug and alcohol users.

"The book makes a major contribution to the understanding substance use, drawing on relevant and recent policy.  It draws on practice and engages the reader in current debates in the area.  The book provides theoretical underpinnings that are influential in practice.  As key aspect of social work practice, substance misuse is relevant for practitioners.  A much needed book for students, practitioners and policy-makers."
Bridget Ng'andu, Ruskin College


This book provides an analytical and critical discussion of policy and practice in this area. It lays out the key debates and issues for understanding, exploring, dealing and working with substance misuse issues, users, their families and other professionals. The reader is introduced to the policy framework and why it is important for generic social work and other health and social care practitioners to have an understanding of substance misuse and the issues involved. The reader is assisted to think about how they can use their professional skills and values to inform assessments and interventions with substance users and reflective exercises encourage the reader to consider values issues and examine their own attitudes. This book will be valuable to students and practitioners wishing to update their skills and knowledge.

Chapter 1 – Introduction

Chapter 2 – The social context of substance misuse

Chapter 3 – Social policy: drugs and alcohol

Chapter 4 – Why do people think substance use is a problem?

Chapter 5 – Values

Chapter 6 – Approaches to substance use

Chapter 7 – Concluding chapter

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