D., msw office hours: th 4: 30pm-7: 30pm or by appt

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California State University, Sacramento SWRK 118: Fall 2010

Division of Social Work Maria Dinis, Ph.D., MSW

Office hours: TH 4:30pm-7:30pm or by appt. (MRP 4021) Phone: (916) 278-7161

E-mail: dinis@csus.edu

Social Work 118: Chemical Dependency & Social Work Practice, Section 1


This course will introduce students to social work practice with the alcoholic/addicted individual and/or family. The ecological framework will be utilized for studying alcohol and drug dependence and its prevention/intervention. Emphasis will be placed on addiction as a biopsychosocial problem with a special focus on oppressed and marginalized populations.


Upon completion of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Discuss the different theories and/or models that describe the origins of chemical dependency.

  2. List the symptoms of intoxication and withdrawal from: alcohol, opiates, cannabis, amphetamines, cocaine, hallucinogens, the major and minor tranquilizers and other prescription drugs.

  3. Explain why some people misuse substances while others stop or control use without negative consequences.

  4. Identify effective treatment modalities and strategies in social work practice with alcoholics and addicts.

  5. Describe the stages of change and debate the importance of the social work motto “start where the client is” when responding to the unique needs of each addicted client.

  6. View the use of substances within a cultural perspective, and describe the special treatment of diverse populations in American society.

  7. Explain the addictive process as it affects family structure and roles.

  8. Outline the biopsychosocial effects of addiction on children (i.e., involvement of Child Protective Services; disabilities related to fetal drug exposure; and childhood trauma).

  9. Describe the process for matching clients to self help groups: AA/NA,, Al Anon, Sobriety for Women, Rational Recovery, etc..

  10. Name and describe organized efforts to involve the community in the prevention of social problems related to alcohol and drug use/abuse.

  11. Explain the recent changes in America’s evolving drug and alcohol public policy.

  12. Recognize own personal values and biases regarding substance use/abuse as a way to develop ethical social work with addicts and alcoholics.

  13. Explain how spirituality and healing contribute to the sobriety.


This course is concerned with why, how, how much, where, and when of substance abuse and its treatment. The inquiring student should emerge from the course with more questions than answers but a determination to keep seeking knowledge on the nature of addiction and unique individual and cultural differences. For classroom learning to take place, there must be class discussion and tolerance for our differences. Likewise, there should be empathy and understanding for the personal pain that could exist for many individuals coming from alcoholic homes or presently involved in a close relationship with an alcoholic/addict. For many students, this course, because of the dynamic and meaningful content, will serve as a turning point in some unexpected way. Students can be tremendously helpful to other students in sharing their feelings and realizations.

This course will use question/discussion sessions, lecture, small group exercises, and group presentations. The primary learning method will be collaborative and depends on class participation and discussion. Students will lead/participate in group exercises and discussions. Video, films, speakers, and simulation exercises will be used to accomplish the learning objectives.

Required Textbook

Capuzzi, D. & Stauffer, M.D. (2008). Foundations of addictions counseling. San Francisco: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

Recommended Textbook:

Inaba, D.S. & Cohen, W.E. (2007). Uppers, downers, all arounders: Physical and mental effects of psychoactive drugs, sixth edition. Ashland, Oregon: CNS Publications, Inc.


  1. Attendance: It is a basic requirement to attend class from the beginning to the end of each session. Missing one (all-day) Saturday class will result in an automatic one grade drop (i.e., if a student’s grade in the class is an A, for example, and the student misses one of the (all-day) Saturday classes, then B is the maximum grade they can receive for the course). This policy is not applicable when students miss only a portion of a Saturday class. Missing two (all-day) Saturday classes will automatically result in an F grade for the course.

  2. Chronic Lateness: Being late for class is disruptive to the instructor and the rest of the students, so please allow ample time for eating, parking, and walking to class. If a student is consistently late in the morning or after the breaks, the student will risk losing "participation" credit.

  3. Class room Preparation and Participation: Students are expected to participate in discussions and in oral/written exercises. Assigned readings are expected to be read before each class session. Students who do not participate risk losing "participation" credit.

  4. Grading: Grades are determined by the degree to which the objectives are met. Class participation is evaluated by informed discussion, such as demonstrating that readings have been read. Students will receive grades of A or B in recognition of the exceptional quality of their work on writing assignments and class discussion/participation. Students receiving grades D or F will need to meet with the instructor immediately.

  5. Late Assignments: There will be a deduction of points for every day that an assignment is late. If something has occurred in your life where you need more time for an assignment, please contact me by phone AND email before the assignment is due and explain your dilemma. It is possible that there will not be a penalty. Don't assume this, however, as there is no guarantee.

  6. Criteria for Written Assignments & APA format: All papers should be typewritten (double-spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins), and free of spelling and grammatical errors. Apply the basic 6th edition APA (American Psychological Association) style for all written assignments both in the main text and in citing references. NOTE: You must use APA citations when taking information or quotes from literary sources.  You can find information on APA format at www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/DocAPA.html

  7. Plagiarism and Cheating: It is unethical and illegal to plagiarize (i.e., to copy more than 3 words of another author or copy the ideas of others without citing the source). Similarly, it is unethical to copy another student's answers for a take-home assignment. Please be aware that I will watch for this and will take appropriate university-sanctioned action if necessary.

  8. Ethical Practice: It is expected that students will be familiar with and adhere to the NASW Code of Ethics. This code for ethical behavior should guide your actions in class. Ethical violations (e.g., disrespect for colleagues) will not be tolerated. Classroom dynamics must be safe, appropriate, on the topic, un-dominated and respectful of diversity or opinion and experience.

  9. Personal Ownership: It is encouraged that you assume personal ownership for expressions of bigotry. In other words, rather than attribute a negative characteristic to a social group or to a member of that group, you begin with, “this is how I have been taught to believe,” or “I hate to admit it but I do have the belief that…”

  10. Open Door Policy: Knowledge of the material in this course is your lifeline to good, quality social work and I want it to be as fun, understandable and interesting as possible. If you have a question, concern, or suggestion, please do not hesitate to come see me or call me. I am here to help you.

  11. Students in Need of Accommodations: The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) provides protection from discrimination for qualified individuals with disabilities. Students with a disability, who require assistance, will need to contact the Office of Services to Students with Disabilities (SSWD) for coordination of academic accommodations. The SSWD is located in Lassen Hall, Room 1008. Their phone number is 916-278-6955 (voice) or 916-278-7239 (TDD). I am committed to assisting students (or facilitating needed assistance) in any way I possibly can in areas of academic resources. Please let me know of any special education needs you may have as early as possible.


Table 1: List of Assignments, Percentage of Grade and Due Dates
Assignments % of your Grade DUE DATE
1. Exams (30% each) = 60% Exam 1: 10/30/10

Exam 2: 12/11/10
2. AA/NA Meeting & Term Paper (25%) = 25% Due 11/20/10
3. Class Participation and Discussion = 15% Every Session
Total = 100%

Grading scale
94-100% = A

90-93% = A-

86-89% = B+

82-85% = B

79-81% = B-

76-78% = C+

72-75% = C

69-71% = C-

Below 68% not passing


SWRK 118 is a very active course and participation is an ongoing requirement. Students should expect to contribute throughout the session and to show me that they have read the assigned readings. You will receive “participation” credit for every class you attend. Participation points are earned in the following ways:

  • Arrive for class on time in the morning and after the breaks.

  • Attend each class and be an active participant.

  • Know the readings enough that you can talk about them in the classroom discussions.

  • Volunteer to be in role-plays.

  • Complete homework, tests and written assignments in a timely manner.

  • Read and think about the readings prior to each class so that you may contribute to the class in an intelligent manner.

  • Challenge yourself to be an active learner by asking questions, discussing the course content with your classmates, and by addressing any concerns with the professor.

  • Challenge yourself to be open to hearing the ideas and thoughts of people with whom you disagree.

  • Disrespect for other students or the professor will not be tolerated. Classroom dynamics must be safe, appropriate, on topic, open and respectful of diverse opinions and experiences.

  • Read the Division of Social Work Student Standards of Performance, located on the Division Website under the FORMS link.

EXAMS 1 and 2: These exams will consist of multiple choice, true/false, short answer and essay questions that will cover information from lecture, discussion and course readings. Examples of the exam questions are given below. These exams are mandatory. Any student who does not attend these exams must notify the professor BEFORE THE TEST. There will be an automatic reduction of 20% off the final test grade for all make-up exams.
Three examples of multiple choice questions:

  1. The following is true in regard to the effects of substances on the brain:

  1. Although the AOD use affects the brain overall, it interacts mainly with the midbrain which houses sensory relay areas.

  2. Although AOD use affects the brain overall, it interacts most often with the forebrain crossing the blood brain barrier.

  3. Some data is known regarding the effects of AOD on the brain but we need we need more research in order to know what part of the brain.

  4. Very little is known regarding the effects of substances on the brain.

2. An example of an “Upper” is:

  1. alcohol

  2. amphetamine

  3. heroin

  4. benzodiazephine (i.e., valium)

  1. This model states that alcoholism is a physiological deficit in an individual, making the person unable to tolerate the effects of alcohol.

  1. Classic Psychoanalytic

  2. disease/medical

  3. learning/behavioral

  4. sociocultural

Two examples of a short answer question are:

  1. Is cocaine an “upper, downer, or all-aounder?”

  2. The CAGE is a screening "self report" questionnaire. What do the letters C-A-G-E stand for?

Three examples of an essay question are:

  1. Define the difference between “substance abuse” and “substance dependence?”

  2. Define the disease model. Discuss the specific 4 criteria of a disease. What are advantages and disadvantage of this approach?

  3. Define the Classic Psychoanalytic approach. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach?

AA/NA ASSIGNMENT: You will go to either an AA/NA Meeting and then write a 5 page paper. See page 11 of this syllabus.


*Subject to Change at the instructor’s discretion or as academic requirements demand.

Each Saturday class begins promptly at 8:00 and ends at 5:00. The lunch hour is between 12 and 1:00 PM. There is one break in the morning session and one break in the afternoon session. Campus food service may not be available so please bring a sack lunch or plan to go out for a quick bite to eat at a local restaurant.

Each Class is divided into Three Sessions, which amounts to a total of Fifteen (15) sessions for the entire course. Class dates are September 11, October 9, October 30, November 20, and December 11.


The readings are due before coming to the class!

Topic: Introduction & Welcome

Overview of course and course syllabus, and an initial review of assignments; Introduction of professor and students; What do you want in this class? The scope of the problem of chemical abuse and addiction.


Topic: Historical context of AOD in the United States & Theories of Addiction; Overview of different theories that explain onset of addiction.

Reading Assignments:

Capuzzi & Stauffer, Chapter 1


Topic: The biological and medical aspects of AOD addiction; The three main classification groups of AOD: Uppers, Downers and All Arounders; How drugs get to the brain to affect change in the body. Professional Issues

Reading Assignments:

Capuzzi & Stauffer, Chapters 2-3, & 9



Topic: AOD Assessment and Diagnosis

What is the difference between screening and assessment for AOD problems? Overview of assessment tools and DSM IV Diagnosis for substance-related disorders.

Required Reading

Capuzzi & Stauffer, Chapters 4-5


Topic: Individual Treatment and Group Treatment

What to do to engage clients and get them motivated.

What is an “ACOA” and how do we help them? Definition of codependency. Criticism of the “codependency movement.” The 12-Step Program of Al-Anon: how it works and who it has helped
Required Reading

Capuzzi & Stauffer, Chapters 6-8, &10

Log onto the website of Harm Reduction Coalition (www.harmreduction.org ) and click on "About Us." Download and read the section on "Harm Reduction Principles."


Topic: Types of Treatment Settings and Treatment Planning

What happens in treatment? Does it work? How do we make it better?

The importance of Twelve Step Programs (AA, NA, CA, Al-ANON, etc.) or/and other support groups (Rational Recovery, Women for Sobriety, etc.) What are the Twelve Steps and are they effective? The controversy around the Twelve Steps?
Required Reading

Capuzzi & Stauffer, Chapter 11

Exam 1 Today at 8:00am

Topic: Relapse Prevention

What is “relapse” and relapse prevention? What are high-risk situations and relapse warning signs? Relearning the pleasure of “not using.” What are cravings and how do you stop them? Using medications to prevent relapse.

Required Reading

Capuzzi & Stauffer, Chapter 12


Topic: Addictions and Special Populations
Considering the needs of various diverse groups including: Addiction and Families
Required Reading

Capuzzi & Stauffer, Chapter 13

Topic: Substance Abuse Prevention Programs for Children and Adolescents
How to best assess and treat the young addict.
Required Reading

Capuzzi & Stauffer, Chapter 14

Term Paper DUE


Topic: Gender and Addictions
Women, Men and Addiction and Treatment Needs
Required Reading
Capuzzi & Stauffer, Chapter 15

Topic: People of Color and Addictions
Culture and Substance Abuse Treatment

Required Reading
Capuzzi & Stauffer, Chapter 16

Topic: Persons with Disabilities and Addictions

Required Reading
Risk Factors and Types of Treatment
Capuzzi & Stauffer, Chapter 17

Exam 2Today at 8:00 am
SESSION 13 and 14

Topic: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Affirmative Addictions Treatment
GLBT Treatment and Assessment
Required Reading

Capuzzi & Stauffer, Chapter 18


Topic: Life Span Perspectives
Addictions Across the Life Span
Required Reading
Capuzzi & Stauffer, Chapter 19

AA/NA Assignment Term Paper (5 pages)

Attend an AA/NA meeting any time between now and the time the paper is due on November 20th.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: There are different kinds of 12 step meetings:

AA = Alcoholics Anonymous

NA = Narcotics Anonymous

OA = Overeaters Anonymous

GA = Gamblers Anonymous

EA = Emotions Anonymous

Al-Anon = 12 step program for families of Alcoholics

Nar-Anon = 12 Step for families of addicts

Positive Anonymous = 12 Step program for those addicts/alcoholics w/ HIV/AIDS

  • You must attend AA or NA since this is the focus of the class.*

  • Sacramento County has many meetings per day. Check out: www.aasacramento.org or www.sacamentona.org . You can also call the AA Central Office (454-1100) or NA (732-2299) for a meeting that is in your area.

  • You must attend an “Open” meeting (meaning they are “open” to anyone interested in being in the meeting). A “Closed” meeting is limited to only those individuals who identify as an addict or alcoholic.

  • You should attend the meeting alone so that you can experience some of the same discomfort that a client experiences (when an AOD treatment program mandates that s/he go to AA/NA meetings).

  • Should anyone ask why you are there, please be honest about your reason for being there. This is a common college assignment and generally students are well received at meetings.

  • Read all the reading assignments prior to going. This will help you better understand the meeting.

  • Do not take notes while in the meeting and respect anonymity –do not use real names in this assignment.

  • Be aware that every meeting has its own “culture.” Observe this culture objectively. You may be exposed to swearing. As well, someone might tell the harsh realities of his or her life. This may not be “pretty” but this is a place for exactly this kind of story-telling. As a social work student, practice “ethical behavior” by being respectful.

  • Pick up some of program literature and be familiar with it (some is free while some costs a small amount).

Guidelines for Written Summary: Write a 5 page summary. Include at least 6 citations in your summary (use APA Guidelines) & a final page for your references. Use these 7 headings:

  1. Demographics: Describe the demographics of the group (such as age, gender, socioeconomic status) (4%).

  2. Culture/Atmosphere: Describe the culture of the meeting (friendly, formal, rigid, chaotic?) (4%).

  3. Structure/Format: Describe the structure of the meeting (how was it conducted) (3%).

  4. Effective Components: List and describe two things you thought were effective or healing about the meeting (2%).

  5. Pick a treatment approach from the text and compare and contrast with the 12-step program meetings (5%).

  6. Describe which treatment model from chapter 1 is best suited for 12-step programs and explain why (5%).

  7. Room for Improvement: List and describe two things you thought were ineffective or counterproductive about the meeting (2%).

*If you are very familiar with AA and NA, please attend another type of self-help meeting pertaining to substance abuse. Talk to me about it first and we can decide on the best meeting for your learning needs.

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