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Alcohol & Sub. Dep.: Family Struggling with Sobriety
Extent of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Epidemic and its Effects on the Individual, Family and Community: Legal Aspects of Drug Abuse
What are the Punishments for Drug Crimes?
Drug laws may vary widely by state and even by local municipalities. The legal penalties for drug crimes generally depend on several factors, such as:
On the other hand, possession of certain drugs (such as a small amount of marijuana) can be treated like a misdemeanor or even a traffic violation in some states. These types of charges can result in probation or a fine with little to no jail time. However, possession of large amounts of drugs, even for personal consumption, can result in serious felony charges.
What are Enhanced Punishments?
Enhanced criminal punishments may apply to a drug crime if:
Also, persons convicted of a drug crime may be required to forfeit their property. For example, if the defendant’s house was used to manufacture or distribute the drugs, a judge may require the house to be seized.
Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Alcohol and other Drug Abuse: Knowledge of certain Populations at Risk with Regard to Substance Abuse
Like the majority of other mental-health problems, drug abuse and addiction have no single cause. However, there are a number of biological, psychological, and social risk factors, that can increase a person's likelihood of developing a chemical-abuse or chemical-dependency disorder. The frequency to which substance-abuse disorders occur within some families seems to be higher than could be explained by an addictive environment of the family. Therefore, most substance-abuse professionals recognize a genetic aspect to the risk of drug addiction.
Psychological associations with substance abuse or addiction include mood disorders like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, thought disorders like schizophrenia, as well as personality disorders like antisocial personality disorder. Social risk factors for drug abuse and addiction include male gender, being between 18 and 44 years of age, Native-American heritage, unmarried marital status, and lower socioeconomic status. According to statistics by state, people residing in the West tend to be at higher risk for chemical abuse or dependency. While men are more at risk for developing a chemical dependency like alcoholism, women seem to be more vulnerable to becoming addicted to alcohol at much lower amounts of alcohol consumption.
Parenting Services for Families Affected by Substance Abuse
In the late 1980s, two factors arose that altered this picture. One was the growing recognition that substance abuse treatment for women had to address relational issues, including parenting, to fully respond to women's needs and therefore promote successful treatment outcomes. At nearly the same time, the crack "epidemic" raised serious concerns about the effects of perinatal exposure to drugs and the need to provide specialized substance abuse treatment for pregnant and parenting women. This "epidemic" highlighted the fact that a large proportion of child welfare caseloads were families affected by substance abuse, a fact that continues to be true, with estimates that up to 80% of the caseloads are currently affected by substance abuse [CWLA 1998].
The demonstration project, which was the impetus for the development of this program, was innovative in its integration of parenting and parent-child services into substance abuse treatment. One effect of this integration was to increase coordination and planning with child welfare agencies serving the same families. Initially this coordination occurred between the programs involved in the demonstration project and local child welfare agencies. The demonstration project, however, heralded an increase in substance abuse treatment programs serving women with children and families, leading to more systemic coordination. In light of the time limits imposed by the Adoption and Safe Families Act (EL. 105-89) and the steady high percentage of child welfare involved families affected by substance abuse, improvement and expansion in coordination and joint service planning becomes critical.
Families affected by substance abuse benefit in several ways from developing nurturing family relationships [Camp & Finkelstein 1997; de Cubas 1993] and particularly from enhancing parents' substance abuse treatment. Treatment and relapse prevention reports emphasize the importance of supporting the ability to form and maintain mutual and empathic relationships; the ability to experience success and enjoyment as parents; and the ability to cope with daily life stresses as crucial programmatic components [Bry et al. 1998; Camp & Finkelstein 1997; Castellani et al. 1997; Van Bremen & Chasnoff 1994].
For parents, family life and family relationships are critical areas for building coping skills. Incorporating these areas of concern into treatment programs can promote successful treatment and reduce relapse risk by keeping parents in treatment longer, as well as by increasing their self-esteem and sense of competence as parents [Camp & Finkelstein 1997; Chassin et al. 1991; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 1999; Van Bremen & Chasnoff 1994]. Promoting nurturing parent-child relationships reduces both the risk of substance abuse for both parent and child, as well as intergenerational patterns of violence, abuse, and neglect.
The CAPP project selected the Nurturing Program for Parents of Children Birth to Five Years Old, by Stephen Bavolek, Ph.D., for use in the structured parenting skills group, one component of the program of services. The Nurturing Program has a well-established history as an effective intervention for improving parenting skills and reducing risk of child maltreatment, as well as a validated, reliable measure of effectiveness instrument, the Adult Adolescent Parenting Inventory (AAPI).
To make the Nurturing Program more responsive to the needs of the target population--parents in substance abuse treatment--strategic modifications were undertaken:
These adaptations addressed important intergenerational factors associated with substance abuse and with child abuse and neglect, the transmission of patterns of child maltreatment, and the increased risks of alcohol or drug abuse faced by children of substance-abusing parents. The adaptations also maintained adherence with the core domains of the Nurturing Program, that is: (1) enhancing appropriate developmental expectations; (2) increasing empathy for children's points of view; (3) valuing and using alternatives to corporal punishments; and (4) establishing and maintaining appropriate roles.
- Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD., Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, Drug Abuse and Addiction, http://www.medicinenet.com/drug_abuse/article.htm
- Mary-Anne Enoch, M.D., M.R.C.G.P., and David Goldman, M.D., American Academy of Family Physicians, http://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0201/p441.html
Reflection Exercise #5
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