Role of a Social Worker: What are the Negative Effect of Parental Drug Misuse on Children Growing Up to Young People and Inherent Effects to Their Lives?



Role of a Social Worker: What are the Negative Effect of Parental Drug Misuse on Children Growing Up to Young People and Inherent Effects to Their Lives?













The misuse of drugs has had a myriad of effects on children and young people in general. Parents who misuse substances expose their children to many risks which eventually can prove to be life-threatening as well as catastrophic. One of the many effects of drug abuse range from absence of parents to a general lack of parental care to the children. These effects have far-reaching consequences, and it’s, therefore, the duty of the social worker within the society to ensure that the children and exposed populations acquire the appropriate care to aid in coping with the circumstances as well as alleviating the situation to enable a productive social life (Community Care, 2013). As such, the study seeks to clearly articulate the duties and responsibilities of social workers in their various capacities in working towards the ideal society. The ideal society is one in which all aspects of the civic life are properly catered for, and citizens are in full capacity to discharge their civic obligations with lesser resistance. With the clear expression of the importance of the involvement of social worker in the civic life, the expression of professionalism and an earnest expression of a lack of intent to oppress the family get to classified as outstanding and desirable qualities of a social worker. With every chapter clearly outlined, the introduction gets preceded by the literature review and possible theories in practice as the second and third chapters respectively. The fourth chapter presents the findings and analyses cases of drug misuse within the UK. Markedly, the fifth chapter presents the conclusion as well as measured recommendations for the prosperity of the social workers within the UK. As such, the integrated cooperation between the healthcare worker, therapist and the social worker becomes an absolute necessity in solving the social problem. Therefore, the involvement of social workers in solving the problem which gets faced by both parents and children involved in drug abuse cannot get over emphasized.

Table of Contents

Abstract 2

Chapter One. 5

Introduction. 5

History and Background of the Study. 7

Rationale/Significance of the study. 9

Aims and objectives of the study. 11

Literature Review Strategy. 12

Ethics and anti-oppression considerations. 13

Project Outline. 14

Chapter One. 14

Chapter Two. 14

Chapter Three. 15

Chapter Four 15

Chapter Two: Literature Review.. 17

Peer Reviewed Literature. 17

Effects of Substance Misuse to the Parent 17

Effects of Substance misuse on Parental Role. 19

Failures of Parents Misusing Substances. 20

Research Gap in Understanding the Role of the Social Worker 21

Chapter Three: theories and ethical practice. 23

Introduction. 23

Information Reliability. 23

Ethical Practices. 24

Underlaying Theories. 25

Chapter Four 28

Analysis of Findings. 28

Chapter 5. 33

Recommendations. 33

Conclusion. 34

Reflection. 35

References. 37




Chapter One


The misuse of drugs has had a myriad of effects on children and young people in general. Parents who misuse substances expose their children to many risks which eventually can prove to be life-threatening as well as catastrophic. One of the many effects of drug abuse range from absence of parents to a general lack of parental care to the children. These effects have far-reaching consequences, and it’s, therefore, the duty of the social worker within the society to ensure that the children and exposed populations acquire the appropriate care to aid in coping with the circumstances as well as alleviating the situation to enable a productive social life (Community Care, 2013). As such, a keen and carefully poised research gets deemed necessary if the relationship between drug abuse and family ties is to be understood as well as the exact niche of the social worker in the unfolding of the events.

Substance abuse and drug abuse are almost used synonymously in different contexts. Both terms connote the use of a drug or substance in amounts or ways which harm either themselves or others around them. The improper use or misuse of a substance has been referred to as a substance-related disorder by some academicians and has grown to represent an impairment in normal decision-making process requiring the aid of social workers, therapeutics or other professionals. Drugs alter normal body functions, and their improper use can result from a genetic disorder or a learned habit. For the purpose of this report, the term drug will relate to alcohol, cannabis, opiates, cocaine and amphetamines, just to name a few (Cleaver & Unell, 2011).

The impacts of drug misuse on both parents and their children vary with the period of use as well as the age group of the dependents. Markedly, when the parents get involved in drug and substance abuse for less than six months, the subsequent impact on the child is not as pronounced as when the parent has been involved in drug use for two years. For the parent, they have to seek the help of a professional as well as struggle to keep their parental roles alive as soon as they get addicted. The children suffer neglect, abuse and at times get affected by the mere absence of their parental figures. These impacts are more pronounced in younger age groups than the rest. 11 – 15-year old are projected to be more affected by a substance-abusing parent than the young adults within the 16 – 59 age brackets (Government of UK, n.d.).

The Home Office maintains the duty to analyze and make publications of drug misuse in England, and this comes in the light of events that the Crime Survey in England and Wales got transferred to the Office of National Statistics. According to the Statistics on Drug Misuse, published by the Health and Social Care Information Center, 8.4% of adults had taken illicit drugs in the previous year (Government of UK, n.d.). Notably, this figure relates to adults aged 16-59 years of age. In contrast, the overall drug use prevalence among children aged 11-15 years of age has been on a downwards spiral since the year 2014. In the 2014/15/16 period, 15%, 10%, and 6% were the respective percentages of children who reported cases of drug use in England (Bradshaw, 2016). Markedly, these figures point to the increasingly negative perception of drug use among kids which reflects on more numbers expressing disapproval of engagement in drug use. Also, 11% of children aged 11 reported to have used a drug at least once in their lifetime compared to 24% of 15-year old’s who professed to have been involved in drug use once in their life. These statistics point to the increasing need for social workers within the UK.

The Social Work Task Force report identifies that social workers get tasked with many responsibilities in the UK community. Fostering healthy living and ensuring that family members get assistance in all spheres of social life becomes one of the essential duties that social workers get tasked within the community (Force, 2009). Therefore, it becomes the inevitable responsibility of social workers to provide individuals struggling with drug and alcohol abuse problems. It’s up to the social worker to ensure that the people caught up in these problems get the appropriate professional assistance and ensure that close family members and relatives including children are shielded from harm about the client. The care of a social worker becomes a necessity in cases where an adult is not able to care for either themselves or children. Drug and substance abuse massive impairs the parent’s ability to look after their children which substantiate the intervention of social workers. The social worker’s role includes ensuring that the child is not exposed to harm or danger while still in the hands of the parent. Also, the child facing one or more cases of exploitation, neglect or abuse necessitates the intervention of a social worker so as to safeguard the health and welfare of the child. In severe cases, the social worker is mandated to decide to take the child away from home so as to attain other care opportunities under a different but prescribed environment.

History and Background of the Study

Over the course of history, social workers have aided community members in many ways. Social work originated in England as a result of the industrialization period. During these times, poverty was a rampant problem in which social work was advanced as one of the most feasible solutions. Therefore, social workers were associated with poverty relief more than other social problems faced by the communities (Collins, 2008). As times passed, the roles played by social workers in society expanded to include not only poverty but also most of other personal problems faced by individuals in the community. As such, social workers got increasingly recognized in cases of family care, drug abuse and in cases of mental disorders. The responsibilities of social workers grew and were more associated with aiding individuals to execute their civic duties as well as cope with social problems by the use of available resources.

Social workers assist community members in many ways. One of the most prominent roles played by social workers includes assisting victims of drug abuse to get a decent living for themselves and the society in general. They do this through the use of their adept decision making and fair judgment on the status of the individual affected by substance abuse. Drug abuse changes the perceptions of individuals as well as their priorities and leads to a skewed judgment of reality over a given period. As a result, the intervention of a professional becomes necessary if the subject in question is a caregiver. Each social worker gets equipped with a particular skill to aid in alleviating the social problems experienced by the members of a community. As such; they’re able to serve as psychiatrists and welfare advisors in correctional institutions. Additionally, they get equipped to provide advice to families facing one or more obvious social problem.

Social work, as a profession, gets founded on helping one or more members of a society achieve the highest level of satisfaction possible. They aid community and society members to deal with day to day social problems by use of resources which are at their disposal. These problems range from drug abuse, unemployment, poverty and even domestic violence to name a few. The help extended by the social workers includes emotional as well as professional support in the event of a social problem. A social worker aspires better lives for the clients as well the entire community as a whole. Social workers have to be meticulous in their profession as well as keen and adept in presenting their services to prospective clients (Granfield & Cloud, 2001). They have to be rational in making judgments for each case that gets submitted by one or more members of the society. In listening to cases of parental substance abuse, a social worker has to listen actively, speak effectively, and think critically so as to solve the underlying problem in the most acceptable manner. Parental substance abuse poses a many of dangers to their children as well as the community as a whole. Therefore, understanding these effects as well as the condition of parents who abuse the drugs is pivotal to the success of this study.

Drugs get defined as substances which alter the normal body functioning. They range from alcohol to casual pain relievers and anti-depressants. As such, drugs are designed to be consumed in a given set of circumstances and for various reasons. The improper and at times the harmful use of these substances amounts to substance misuse and can have many adverse effects than positive to the person as well as individuals within the society. Parents are persons who are either male or female within the society who are charged with the responsibility of taking care of their children and providing for their every need and most importantly, give their kids protection. With this overall objective and responsibility that parents have for their kids, it becomes imperative that anything which diminishes this role gets to be properly articulated as well as understood so as to provide compelling solutions for better performance. The misuse of drugs falls within the circle of concerns in which light should be shed upon since the abuse of substances greatly impacts children as well as young adults in a negative manner. Therefore, there’s a growing need to expound on these effects so as to comprehend the key aspects of the problem as well as clearly articulate the specific roles played by social workers in alleviating the problem within the UK societies.

Rationale/Significance of the study

The study of the roles played by social workers possesses a lot of weight when viewed from different perspectives. These differing perspectives either serve to showcase the success enjoyed by current and to practice professionals within the field or the downsides and their perceived lack of comprehension and providing adequate solutions to a given social problem. It is of paramount importance that social workers understand the statistical figures as well as underlying problems within the society for them to articulate the best way of solving the problems and aiding the individuals and groups in society attain better lives. Markedly, this study weighs in on the crucial role played by social workers in alleviating the drug misuse menace among parents in the UK. The intervention of a social worker is considered necessary when the actions or lack of from an individual expose either themselves or one or more members of the community to harm. The perceived negative effect has to have an impact which greatly reduces the capacity of individuals to participate in the civic life so as to draw concern from a social worker. As such, England boasts a figure of around eighty-four thousand registered social workers all working towards alleviating the conditions of the social life (Draine et al., 2002). Notably, this number stresses on the relative importance attached to the duty of social workers within the communities.

With the potential rise of cases of drug and substance abuse, understanding the roles played by social workers in the event of such social problems becomes of paramount importance. Social workers work hand in hand with other professionals within other fields of specialization to ensure that pressing social problems to get the appropriate professional intervention and aid in advancing the lives of disadvantaged members of the English community. Children and other close family members get to be the ones who directly feel the impact of a parent’s misuse of substances. The impact varies and significantly contributes to stress and myriads of other social problems faced by children, young adults, and extended family members. Notably, the children and young adults may be encouraged to make use of the drug or feel alienated by the lack of parental attention when they need their parents to take care of them. The kids get impacted in more negative than positive ways, and such consequences do not present the ideal society aimed for by all social workers (Mathbor, 2007). Therefore, to forestall further future calamities, it is the duty and responsibility of social workers to ensure that the parents get the proper advice and counseling lessons to enable a change of lifestyle while at the same time aiding their children to live normal lives. The parents may need the attention of medics or therapy sessions to undo the damage done by substance abuse, and it is the duty of social workers to ensure that the parents not only get the appropriate professional attention but also monitor progress towards the set goals and objectives. Therefore, the present study illustrates the starring role played by social workers within the UK among parents diagnosed with substance abuse in one or more parts of their lives.

Aims and objectives of the study

As mentioned above, the study seeks to clearly articulate the duties and responsibilities of social workers in their various capacities in working towards the ideal society. The ideal society is one in which all aspects of the civic life are properly catered for, and citizens are in full capacity to discharge their civic obligations with lesser resistance. Parental misuse of drugs presents a social problem which necessitates the intervention of a social worker. The social worker’s first and most crucial duty is understanding the problem that one or more family members face as a result of substance abuse. From this point, the social worker employs their prowess and experience in critical thinking and decision making to craft the appropriate solution to the problem. The parent’s role in providing for the needs of their children get to be massively diminished by substance abuse, and it’s the duty of the social worker to diagnose the situation and provide the best solution during these events. The solution has to reduce the potential harm to the beneficiaries while at the same time assists the parents get to better grounds in which they can discharge their civic and moral responsibility to their children in the best way possible. Therefore, the present work aims to outline the important role played by social workers in aiding families of substance abuse to get getter lives and provide better living conditions for other members of the community.

Therefore, these aims possess within themselves the overall objective of providing information on the importance of the services dispensed by social workers in the community. Victims of drug abuse, more than any other group in society, need the information on where to get help in the heat of these events. While at the same time, the social workers, in general, need to understand the relative importance of their professional services in furthering the endeavors of the kingdom. As such, this study seeks to shed light on the degrees of importance played by the social workers in aiding parents who have been diagnosed with substance abuse provide better lives for their children and act in ways which promote positive social lifestyles (Blustein et al., 2002). In doing this, social workers aim for the young adults develop better mental pictures of who they should be in society and also helps the young adult develop the strongest role model picture that every child has of their parents. The information generated by this study will aid policymakers, and other professionals understand the importance of social work to the community as well as potential victims of substance abuse understand the help provided by social workers within their community. As such, the study provides benefits not only to the UK citizens, but also to professionals, policy makers, and other countries in general who can learn a thing or two from the vital aspects discussed in this report.

Literature Review Strategy

The review of relevant and related scholarly work enhances the present study and ensures that sources used to provide facts for the study are not only relevant but also credible. As such, inferences and conclusions made on one or more aspects of the report look to be made from peer-reviewed journals, published books or governmental and institutional websites. These are the most credible sources which provide not only facts to the cases presented by the main focus of the study, but also ensure that the facts are in line with previous studies. Notably, the review of adjacent professional and scholarly work serves to make sure that a study has been keenly researched on and the findings have been weighed in on by one or more members within the field. The use of information presented by these sources adds extra weight to conclusions as well as win the confidence of future research efforts into the discipline. Markedly, the research aims to make use of peer-reviewed journals, governmental and institutional websites as well as books in furthering the aims and objectives of this study.

Ethics and anti-oppression considerations

A social worker must present an aurora free of biases and oppression to clients at all times. They must continually strive to maintain the moral fabric within the society intact and free from personal preferences. Notably, maintaining high moral standards wins the approval of clients in controversial decisions that social workers might have to make. One of these situations is when a social worker decides that the child of a parent addicted to substance use has to be taken away for their safety from their parents. The parent’s understanding that the social worker’s intention is not biased in any way and has their interests at heart as well as the safety of their children enables the parent to bear more easily with the necessary choice of the day. According to Levin & The environment of the social worker can determine their contribution in the alleviation of a social problem. Thus, this project will compel the researcher to refute the urge to integrate personal bias in data analysis. In this regard, the study will incorporate professionalism to offer the researcher the opportunity to develop concise resolutions that can mitigate the effects of substance abuse on parents to their children. Professionalism will enable the researcher to avoid policies that can engender social exclusion through the combination of social justice and human rights principles during data analysis and policy recommendations (Corte, et al., 2016).

Cases of oppression should be minimized when dealing with clients at all costs. It is the duty of social workers to ensure that they make professionalism an integral part of their day to day activities. Social workers are bound to be problem solvers and caregivers in the society. Thus, social workers should develop a platform through which oppression of their clients is mitigated (Glaser & Suter, 2016, Pg. 395). In this light, social workers should maintain a personal touch with their client that allows them to develop measures through which they can integrate professionalism to offer problem-solving approaches supported by evidence (Lowe, 2016, pp 59 – 68). Besides, there will need to demonstrate an understanding of the society and the role played by conflicting issues in the society. Consequently, this will provide an opportunity to employ equity in policy-making which when supported by social justice fosters community support in moderating against substance abuse in our case (Danso, 2009, pg. 539). After that, these anti-oppressive practices present an opportunity to explore global solutions for local problems that can present diverse solutions for our problem statement.

Project Outline

Chapter One

In this chapter, the research topic will be availed supported by the background and rationale of the research. Next, the aims and objective of the project and the literature review strategy that will be used in the project. After that, the chapter will conclude with ethics and anti-oppression considerations, a project outline that has details of the potential information for the project and then the project timetable.

Chapter Two

Chapter 2 contains information from the peer-reviewed literature on the use of substance misuse and its effects that have led to the division of the chapter into three subsections. The first subsection entails the effects of the abuse of substances on the parent. Next, the effect of parents’ activities due to substance misuse in implementing their parental roles will be criticized. Thirdly, there is a critical analysis of the failure to implement expected parental obligations by the parent abusing drugs on the wellbeing of the children as they grow. Lastly, a review of the research gap detailing why explaining the role of the social worker can alleviate the research problem.

Chapter Three

This chapter contains different topics that arose during the review of current research-based aligned to the research topic. These topics are analyzed against the role of the social worker as provided for by the International Federation of Social Worker. Moreover, the information will be evaluated against reports provided by Local Safeguarding Children Boards and Youth Offending Teams. This information is critical as it provides an overview of the effects of the parents misusing drugs on the wellbeing of children and young adults. The chapter will conclude by explaining the role of the social worker guided by Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 that appreciates the role of the social worker in helping children prescribed for social services. Section 11 provides for the room through which children welfare is safeguarded.

Chapter Four

This chapter will relate the analysis in chapter three with aims and objectives of this project. Subsequently, the analysis will lead to the development of recommendations emphasizing the role of the social worker. In conclusion based on the information from analysis and recommendations at hand, I will offer a review of the contemporary issues that can be attached to the need to explore how to expand the role of the social worker.

Project Timetable

Activities Time Frame Status
Developing the Research Topic 24/10/2016 – 28/10/2016
Literature Review on the Research Topic 1/11/2016 – 11/11/2016
Proposal Development 14/11/2016 – 18/11/2016
1st Session with Supervisor 21/11/2016
Working on Supervisor Feedback 22/11/2016- 2/12/2016
2nd Session with Supervisor 4/12/2016
Working on Supervisor Feedback 5/12/2016-11/12/2016
Submission of Proposal 12/12/2016
Working on Supervisor Feedback 1/2017- 2/2017
Literature Analysis 1/2017- 3/2017
Review and Application of Theories to Case Studies 1/2017- 3/2017
3rd Session with Supervisor 27/3/2017
Working on Supervisor Feedback 4/2017
4th Session with Supervisor 23/4/2017
Working on Supervisor Feedback 24/4/2017 – 10/5/2017
Review the Final Draft 24/4/2017 – 10/5/2017
Submission 15/5/2017




Chapter Two: Literature Review

Peer Reviewed Literature

The use of peer reviewed literature plays a starring role in ensuring quality in delivering articles for submission. Journals which include peer reviews ensure that all papers submitted for publication get the approval of experts in the field as legitimate research in which all core cases get carefully considered (Podsakoff, 2003). The following literature review has been carefully crafted through the use of peer-reviewed literature to add weight to the core facts used to support the arguments presented in the paper.

Effects of Substance Misuse to the Parent

Substance misuse presents parents with a myriad of problems which differ according to the substance misused. For instance, research has shown that parents who misuse marijuana experience moments of concentration lapses and often present cases of memory loss depending on frequency of use. Also, cases of over reactions have been reported in instances when the parent is under the influence of the drug. These results can be compared to alcohol abuse cases which have been postulated as overrun by abuse and at some instances violence. The chief reason for which some parent result to drug abuse has been showcased as stressful family situations in which the parent is not in a position to provide for the family. Notably, these sets of circumstances predispose a parent to addiction problems in the long run. Additionally, an adult who misuses drugs suffers according to the period under which they have exposed their bodies to the substance. As such, parental drug abuse problems can either be termed as chronic or acute (London Safeguarding Children Board). The general atmosphere around the misuse of drugs is, of course, negative and presents more challenges than gains to both the adult as well as community members around them. According the WHO, continuous drug misuse leads to mental problems which take up a sizable portion of a country’s Gross National Product (GNP). These figures range from 3 – 4% of the annual value of the GNP dedicated to alleviation of drug misuse problems. Apart from these economic burdens, disturbances as well as unrests caused by a drug misuse condition within the community reduces the productive hours of those providing care for the parents as well as the neighbors who feel the impact first hand (Barnes, 2006). Drugs have the chief advantage of providing surreal life experiences which are not as appealing in reality as they seem. In a study conducted on thirty-eight young people aged 15-27 years of age with at least one parent involved in substance misuse found that the children had to take on family responsibilities at an early age (Bancroft, 2004). Markedly, this was due to the parents taking on to alcohol and other substances in an effort to provide an escape pathway for the problems experienced in providing for the family. Bancroft et al., (2004) noted that children felt that their life in childhood was shortened by their having to assume responsibilities at very tender ages. Bancroft (p. 21) notes that in one instance one of the participating young adult mentioned being forced to assume care for self as well as sibling’s due to an absentee mother who always abused alcohol. Therefore, most adults who get caught in the conundrum of drug abuse present themselves with reduced concentration levels in family matters. Subsequently, the personal bond between the parents and their children gets diminished to nonexistence and more times than not the children have to take on responsibilities within the household settings.

Markedly, the child’s life also gets negatively impacted by the drug misuse. These adverse impacts range from abuse, deteriorating health, poor grades, psychological disorder and social withdrawal as well as physical harm. These effects get exacerbated by continual drug use among the parents. Apart from suffering the loss of the bond with their children, parents also suffer physical harm as well as deteriorating health conditions solicited by bodily neglect. Continued use of the drug exposes the body to addiction which leads to a grown habit of dependence on the drug at the expense of necessities such as food, water and appropriate clothing (Bancroft et al., 2004). These impacts are easier dealt with if the drug use patterns are still acute but become increasingly insurmountable with time as chronic disorders surface. Although the drug presents temporal solutions to problems, in the long run, additional costs have to be incurred in hiring the services of a social worker as well as a therapist in dealing with the addiction when it sets in (Valleman & Templeton, 2007). These overall disadvantages to the parental role point to the fact that drug abuse should be discouraged within the society.

Effects of Substance misuse on Parental Role

Different substances affect parents in a variety of ways, but all diminish the parent’s capacities to discharge their parenting role. As the substances take a toll on the parents focus on providing physical and emotional care for their children, parenting becomes an uphill task. Consequently, this leads to more drug abuse as well as accompanying levels of neglect on their social responsibilities to their children as well their family members (Stein and Nyamathi 2002, p. 1011). With a lack of attention, the children having to assume parental responsibilities at very tender ages such as care for siblings as well as self. Although most of the children and young adults exposed to this social issue have shown great levels of resiliency in dealing with the problem, they often experience difficulties in dealing with the change in responsibilities. With the parents increasingly incapable of discharging their parenting role, the children have to seek attention as well as moral and emotional support from extended family members. A study conducted by Bancroft et al., (2004) noted that the most of the children and young adults interviewed increasingly sought after the attention of relatives and felt closer to family members following the absence of parental care. Evidently, at this point, the social workers and other professional caregivers should provide the support to the family unit which faces the risk of breaking down.

Failures of Parents Misusing Substances

Drugs, whether abused in the short or long term subsequently impair one’s judgments and notable decision-making prowess. The impaired judgment brought about by the consecutive use of a drug leads to unfit decisions and skewed judgments which at most work to the detriment of the parent-child relationship leading to strains and alienation. Parents abusing alcohol have been associated with violence and abuse during episodes when they are under the influence of the drug. Additionally, cases of neglect have also been reported as parents dedicate more of their productive time in pursuit of the drug and its ecstasies other than being home caregivers. Drug addiction leads to the loss of paternal attention to the children and subsequent loss of guidance to young adults.

Besides, parents are the first and most preferred moral examples to their children. Notably, this means that their actions or lack thereof never passes unnoticed by their children who scrutinize their every move. In being their role models, the children tend to copy their parent’s action under the notion that that’s what acceptable in society. In the unfortunate event that a parent happens to be a drug addict, the child follows the habit to their detriment. Notably, this societal construct can be used to explain the relative increase in drug use among 11 – 15-year old’s. 11% of children aged 11 years confessed to having used a drug on one or more occasions during their lives, while 24 % of 15-year old confessed the same (Heart, 2003). These figures point to the fact that as the children grow and increase in understanding, they tend to have inappropriate influences to indulge in drug abuse cases. Parents who get involved in drug misuse help in increasing the percentage of children involved in drug abuse.

In the UK, nine hundred and twenty thousand children live with parents abusing drugs. Additionally, two hundred and fifty to three hundred and fifty thousand dependent children live with parents abusing drugs. These circumstances expose the children to a variety of challenges ranging from emotional and physical abuse as well as neglect (Sinha, 2008). Notably, these situations lead to cases of emotional withdrawal as well as social problems later in life. For example, Bancroft et al., (2004) notes that among the interviewed children and young adults, a larger proportion of the affected persons professed facing social withdrawal cases later in life. These case was noted mostly due to the lack of social skills experienced during the early stages of life as well as the relative loneliness experienced during those early days.

Research Gap in Understanding the Role of the Social Worker

In the fall out of events, the role of social workers in ameliorating the drug abuse problem among the adults and the ensuing negative effects has not been outlined clearly. The exact relationship between the social worker and other professionals within the field also lacks a proper definition along with the exact roles that the social worker plays in the case of substance abuse. Markedly, some of the roles played by the professionals may be intertwined therefore the exact niches occupied by each professional should be clearly outlined to ensure that the roles played by social workers gets to be clearly understood. Therefore, this paper aids in bridging the gap in terms of information supply between parents facing drug addiction problems and professional social workers. Each of the parties needs to understand the capacities as well as the circumstances of the other with all other underlying factors for them to work together for the common good. As such, parents, therapist, social workers as well as physicians look to form better working relations if their roles are clearly articulated. On the one hand, the parent needs to understand that their activities negatively affect their children and they can seek the assistance of a social worker who’s a professional in solving such social problems (Barnard & McKeganey, 2004). On the other hand, the social worker needs to be adequately informed with all necessary requirements surround the circumstances leading to paternal drug abuse. With the appropriate knowledge, the social worker stands better chances of understanding the client as well as provide professional aid when called upon.



Chapter Three: theories and ethical practice


The use of credible information sources is a critical aspect of any research project. The level of trustworthiness of the sources determines the degrees to which the reader accepts not only the information conveyed, but also the results, conclusions and recommendations of the study as a whole. Therefore, ascertaining the reliability of information sources plays a paramount role in the research process. Additionally, various theories as well as ethical practices have played starring roles in understanding the relationship between a social worker and parents with substance abuse problems. These theories have placed the problem at hand in perspective and aided in understanding the logical reasons behind the behaviors reported for the child as well as the parent in cases of substance abuse reported to agencies. As such, this chapter articulates the reliability of the information sources and presents some of the theories serving as the backbone of the research project.

Information Reliability

The level of trustworthiness of information sources becomes a key aspect as far as the use of the information is concerned. Markedly, information from more credible sources such as governmental websites and peer-reviewed journals get the nod for the most accurate descriptions of the status of cases on the ground. Notably, this gets hinged on the fact that information from these sources gets filtered adequately to prevent personal biases as well as inappropriate content in the information presented to the final user. Therefore, high levels of confidence get placed on the information from these sources. Markedly, information from peer reviewed journals, and governmental websites get to be the main sources of information fueling decision and policy-making endeavors. As such, this project makes use of these trusted sources to provide background as well as perspectives of understanding the drug misuse problem at hand. These sources have served to further shed light on the theories underlying the behaviors experienced among the adults over the course of the research. Therefore, the next section details the theories playing a significant role in the understanding of the social worker’s role in mediating the interaction between substance abuse parents and their children.

Ethical Practices

When separating a parent from their child becomes the only possible decision, a social worker gets faced with many ethical concerns. The decision gets typically met with resentment from both the parent as well as the child. At this point, it becomes the exclusive responsibility of the social worker to explain in acceptable terms as to why separation is the only viable choice left. Notably, this choice would be necessitated by a remarkable decline in the parent’s capacity to provide care for and support to their children. The decline in capacities would also be flanked by incessant rises in the degrees of danger and harm exposed to the child. Crime has also been highlighted as a major factor behind the increase in dangers exposed to the child. Therefore, it is in the light of these circumstances that an ethical perspective has to be clearly articulated.

Ethics is concerned with the morally right and wrong outcomes underlying human actions or lack thereof (Valleman, Templeton & Copello, 2005). It has been defined as the study of man’s actions from the point of view of either the rightness or wrongness. The outcome of an action gets to be the overriding determinant on which the ethical perspective is hinged. Therefore, there are a number of ethical issues postulated in the unfortunate event that a parent has to be separated from their children due to rises in risks exposed to the child. As such, it gets to be the social worker’s responsibility to combat the resentments that might arise from parents, the child as well as the family members. For instance, if a child is under the care of a single mother who subsequently gets addicted to alcoholism exposing the child and young adult to abuse and violence, the social worker has to step in and explain to the parent the reason as to why they cannot have the custody of their children. Therefore, the social worker should be well acquainted with sound reasoning which portrays the utmost professionalism as well as a general sense of willingness not to oppress the family unit. Most of these traits have been imbued in every social worker through the trainings received from school as well as seminars. Therefore, the social worker should approach the situation as calm and composed as possible while at the same time exuding a sense of empathy for the parent and the child.

According to the Family Rights Group, a social worker cannot remove a child from the care of their parents except through a court order or with the consent of the parents (Family Rights Group). As such, for better results, the parents have to be expressly convinced of the potential welfare hazards should their child remain with them. If, however, it becomes imperative that the child faces pronounced issues should they remain at home it’s the duty of the social worker to ensure that they follow the appropriate legal channels to secure the safety of the child. However, various ethical issues get presented by the case of parents having to surrender their children to alternative care agencies. The prospect of ending the strong bond between the parent and the child and the subsequent effect on the mindsets of either of the two becomes the most significant challenge that the social worker would have to deal with. The effect may get translated as a lack of humanness on the part of the social worker and their intentions may get grossly misunderstood and mistaken for being evil by most of the onlookers as well as the parent and the child. Markedly, the parent as well as the child have to be assured that they are scheduled for visits several times a week according to the degree of severity of the parent’s drug misuse problem. As such, theories have to be advanced so as to understand these relationships as well as circumstances better.

Underlaying Theories

Various theories have aided the understanding of the role of the social worker in securing the safety of the child in the event that one or both of the parents get entangled in drug misuse problems. These include the attachment theory, the systems theory as well as the rational choice theory.

The Attachment Theory

An applicable theory to the study becomes the attachment theory which was famously coined by John Bowlby (Bowlby, 2005). In the general use of the term, it connotes a situation whereby an individual gets attached to a person and derives a sense of security and stability from that bond. The bond presents opportunities for growth as a person as well as chance to take risks and develop into a complete person. As such, Bowlby’s studies indicated that a child’s emotional and physical development got hinged on their ability to develop a strong bond with at least one of the main caregivers. Therefore, the child’s development and transition into a young adult get negatively impacted by the event of a parent’s involvement in drug and substance abuse (Mikulincer, Shaver & Pereg, 2003). In light of these circumstances, it’s the social worker’s duty to ensure that the child or young adult’s development does not get permanently damaged by the parent’s drug misuse problems.

The Systems Theory

Apart from the attachment theory, the systems theory tends to present its case as a theory carefully crafted to fit the pursuits of this study. The social worker and parents as well as their children are part of the larger social system in the community. as such, the theory postulates that entire systems coordinate to find solutions to the most pressing of problems. In this theory, its believed that all members of society are involved in not only identification of a problem but also its solution. The systems theory postulates that all the systems as varied as diversified as they might be, all work hand in hand to solve a problem which might present itself in one form or another (Rubin and Babbie, 2016). Therefore, under the premise of this theory, every system works to solve a specific social problem be it personal or group oriented. Markedly, the systems theorists founded their ideas from the study of complex human actions. The study presented the fact that systems in the society are self-supporting and worked to place the foundations for the systems theory. Notably, the society in a systems theory model supplant and supplement other activities through the individuals of the society who bear most common pursuits as well as expectations. Therefore, the social worker in maintaining their position in the system take advantage of the system’s societal healing prowess and work hand in hand with it in providing solutions. Therefore, the study is projected to incorporate many aspects of the systems theory when understanding the role of social workers in adult substance misuse cases.

The Rational Choice Theory

Additionally, the rational choice theory deserves a mention within the context of this report. Notably, this theory postulates that all choices made by an individual have the core aspect of being rational and well thought over (Haidt, 2001, pg.814). An individual, in making a choice on whether to act or not in a certain way accurately measures the gains and weighs them against the costs to determine if they stand to gain or lose by the action. Therefore, an individual who acts in a specific way is estimated to be in position to give a justification for their action as well as clearly articulate as to why they acted in such a way. Under the guidance of this theory, social workers can apply the information received from this theory in generating possible questions geared towards understanding why adults misuse drugs. The explanations will go a long way in providing possible solutions to the problem that keeps ravaging the UK society. Notably, such an application of theories would serve not only to understand the role of the social worker, but also the reasons behind the drug abuse problem among parents seeing that it’s against normal rational decision making to act in a way which endangers loved ones. Fundamentally, this theory aids in understanding why massive efforts have been made in research pursuits geared towards understanding why parents caught up in the drug misuse conundrum do as at the expense of their health as well as their children.

Chapter Four

Analysis of Findings

From the study, it is evident that the number of social workers within England is sizable. These figures, however, do not reciprocate to substantial aid for parents addicted to substance use. Parents facing substance abuse problems negatively impact children while children who are negatively affected by their parent’s activities remain anonymous. The overall effect of the misuse of drugs to the family unit includes irresponsibility from the parents since they’re unable to efficiently provide parental care to their children and hence expose them to harm in one way or another. Subsequently, the children get faced with the challenge of neglect, abuse and other forms of exploitation. Additionally, these impacts reflect poorly on the child’s performances in school such as poor grades, anti-social lifestyle as well as the fear of authority and emotional problems. Social workers are not adequately trained to work hand in hand with other professionals in solving some societal needs and problems. For drug and substance abuse, the professional social workers need to get acquainted with most of the facts involved in such cases and the possible range of personnel they need to work with along with resources needed for them to execute their duties. Therefore, it is imperative that proper recommendations be made to aid decision and policy makers for them to institute better mechanisms in which social workers and potential clients and victims of drug and substance abuse can share and work in a symbiotic relationship.

A research carried out by Opium Research found out that most of the adults who were interviewed thought that drug use represented substantial amounts of the total earnings of each adult parent (Fig 1). Although most of the respondents who affirmed to be drug and substance users affirmed to only spend meagre amounts on the drug use, it is however impractical to assume that they accessed their drugs free of charge. Under the study, the research team had to consider that most of the respondents were either unwilling or not comfortable in expressing the full amount of money spent on drug purchase. Subsequently, the findings reflected that the higher percentage of respondents would be willing to express amounts that they would not be entirely comfortable in telling community members.

Figure 1: Expenditure on Drugs (Adopted from Mann, 2014)


Additionally, the research concluded that Marijuana scored the highest popularity rankings for the most used illegal drug (Fig 2). The high prevalence of the drug’s use points to the fact that most of the user’s tried in one way or another and succeeded in consuming an illegal drug. The ensuing drug misuse points to the increasing need for responsible parenting for the children of the adults who get involved in the drug misuse. Notably, the irresponsibility that comes with the use of the drugs leads to a growing need for a professional with intrinsic capabilities to mend the social fabric between the parents and the children. Undoubtedly, the professional has to have the welfare and safety of the entire family at heart for them to make significant efforts in staining the status quo. Therefore, these findings probe more research into the role of the social worker as all these events play out.

Figure 2: Drug Popularity (Adopted from Mann, 2014)

Among every age group, Cannabis remains to the most commonly used drug right from the teenagers to the advanced adults Fig 3). The continued and rising trend of usage of the drug begs not only the question of finances, but also the degree of responsibility having in mind that the use of cannabis within the UK borders remains illegal. Notably, these findings portray the increasing need for specialized social workers who are properly equipped to diagnose the problems faced and recommend viable solutions.

Figure 3: Drug Use (Adopted from UK Government, n.d.)

Figure 4: Accessibility to Drug (Adopted from UK Government, n.d)

Additionally, figure 4 presents the accessibility options for drug users within the UK societies. The most outstanding finding in the chart gets to be the fact that most of the drug users forged access to the drugs by use of family members or close friends and acquaintances. Markedly, this simple finding presents new possibilities to the research and begs the question on what possible solution could be implemented so as to alleviate the conditions. As such, the role of the social worker in alleviating the drug access problem cannot be over emphasized in light of these circumstances. Notably, the relatively high chances of access to the drugs indicate that measures have to be put in place so as to forestall future events of drug misuse. The availability of a drug may temp one to make use of it and if it happens that the consumer is a parent their children will suffer dearly.



Chapter 5


In light of the discussed role and civic problems facing the England parents in drug misuse, various institutions and branches of the governments, as well as professionals, need to work hand in hand to alleviate the current situation. Therefore, statutory as well as individual recommendations are discussed below in efforts to provide the best solutions to aid the objectives of social workers in England as well as increase the possibility of parents addicted to drug use attaining professional care and assistance.

From the study, it was conclusively asserted that training the social workers on how to provide aid remains of paramount importance if the drug misuse patterns among parents will be efficiently dealt with. As such, professional training opportunities should be presented to active social workers as well as adjacent professionals on how to approach clients of drug addiction. The training should focus on providing the key information which relates to how the clients and victim’s relationships are negatively affected by the drug use problem. Therefore, pieces of training and seminars should be incorporated into the normal professional schedule of practicing social workers so as to provide them with an extra edge for dealing with current and emerging trends in drug abuse. Training, seminars, and workshops also provide ripe avenues for professionals to meet up and substantially increase the overall knowledge base when discussing matters of professional importance. Among these cases, drug abuse in parents and the subsequent negative effects on the family unit get discussed and best ways to deal with emerging trends be presented. In a nutshell, the social care experts sharing of ideas among themselves and training of lesser experienced professionals looks to provide the extra edge required to reduce the overall cases of drug abuse among adults as well as parents (Galvani, 2012, December 13).

Statutory measures also get to be viable options in as far as changing the curriculum as course content of social workers aspiring professionals. The projected change will aim at including the current trends in social work in the student’s expected curriculum. Additionally, specialization will be allowed so that students get the chance to be exclusively skilled in handling drug addiction problems among parents at an early age (Wills et al., 2004). Notably, this proposed change will provide the young professional with the opportunity to grow in the profession and by the time that they are called up in professional duties will be adequately loaded to aid in the most appropriate manner.

Additionally, avenues for interaction with adjacent professional groups and bodies will provide grounds for each professional to develop a knowledge base on what the professional requirements of each get to be. These adjacent and substitute professionals include therapeutics, medics and as well as physicians. The sharing of ideas between these professionals will only increase their overall capacities in dealing with drug abuse problems among parents as soon as they surface. In light of these events, it is imperative that all professionals involved in providing care and attention to the drug use parents as well as the children who find themselves in the unfortunate circumstances of having to cope with drug use parents, effectively share ideas as well as experiences in managing the situation (Smith et al., 2007).


Markedly, the report makes use of case and concept reviews in stating the facts of other scholars within the field. Not only has substance abuse been portrayed to present overall negative consequences to the individual parent, but the children get also disadvantaged through the loss of paternal care. The social worker’s aid in ensuring that individuals attain their maximum individual levels of success. The responsibilities of social workers in managing personal adult drug abuse problems have not been stressed enough due to a lack of information on adverse impacts of drug abuse and child care. As such, the social workers’ niche in aiding both parents and their children recuperate and maintain a healthy relationship becomes the responsibility of the social worker. As such, the integrated cooperation between the healthcare worker, therapist and the social worker becomes an absolute necessity in solving the social problem. Therefore, the involvement of social workers in solving the problem which gets faced by both parents and children involved in drug abuse cannot get over emphasized.


From the report, along with the analysis and the conclusion, it was evident that the roles of social workers have evolved throughout the years to include all aspects of social life. In its earliest of days, social work wore the garment of piety and was expressed in philanthropic terms often carried out by individuals or religious entities. However, I came to learn that in the modern world the duties and responsibilities of social workers changed to include most parts concerned with enhancing the capabilities of an individual or a group to cope with social challenges by making use of available resources. Markedly, the society faces many challenges deterring the full involvement of members to civic life. Among these problems gets to be drug misuse among the adults which presents nothing but adversities to society and most of all, the dependent children. The study opened my eyes to the adversities that children face when their guardians are substance abusers. Consequently, I came to realize that these challenges were far reaching and ranged from neglect and abuse, to situations of violence at the extreme. Although I came to understand that the roles of social workers in alleviating social miseries might overlap with the duties of other professionals such as therapeutics and physicians, the social worker plays a crucial role in problem identification. Consequently, I came to realize that England does not suffer from a lack of social workers, in fact, it suffers from poorly trained social workers. With this overriding challenge, it was imperative that I recommend that trainings, seminars as well as frequent sharing of information among the related professionals be given the priority it deserves among the elite. The countless hours that I have spent on this report have served as eye openers to the negative impacts that society gets faced with and this has provided an avenue for me to appreciate the crucial role played by social workers in alleviating the conditions.






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