Addiction and Cultural Competence

Addiction and Cultural Competence –  A Looming Concern

Addiction, it has been said, is a condition that crosses all socioeconomic, gender, age, and cultural lines. The more we learn about addiction, the more it seems that anyone, from anywhere, regardless of their background, can fall prey – especially when we consider the wide range of substances that people can become addicted to.

And no longer are addictions exclusive to illegal drugs or alcohol. In fact, prescription medication addiction – one of the fastest growing categories of addiction – is becoming increasingly common. As addictive pain medications like oxycodone are prescribed with greater frequency and wider range, the reality is that more people from are being exposed to potentially very addictive medications.

With greater exposure to addictive pain medication a broader range of people are being exposed – and that means people from a variety of cultures.

The implication, as one study led by researchers at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry evidences, is that people of Chinese and South Asian cultures may experience more severe mental illness at the time of hospital admission that other patients (Chiu et al., 2016).

Another implication is that Asian tobacco companies are now poised to enter the global market, which is likely to mean more people smoking – and addicted to tobacco – nationwide (Lee et al., 2017).

With a wider range of cultures exposed to addictive substances – and having them directly marketed to them – the concept of cultural competence becomes increasingly important for those clinicians who treat addiction.

Knowing what is expected and considered appropriate for each culture is a critical competent of establishing rapport with patients from different cultures. For example, one study found that handshaking – a Western staple greeting – is viewed more positively by Westerners than East Asians (Katsumi et al., 2017).

It is these social norms, argue sociologists, that govern our lives by giving us implicit and explicit guidance on what to think and believe, how to behave, and how to interact with others. When following the social folkways, mores, taboos, and laws of those from another culture, we gain a feeling of trust from them – which in the clinical setting, is indispensable.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

Improving Cultural Competence in Substance Abuse TreatmentImproving Cultural Competence in Substance Abuse Treatment is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE) course that proposes strategies to engage clients of diverse racial and ethnic groups in treatment. Culture is a primary force in the creation of a person’s identity. Counselors who are culturally competent are better able to understand and respect their clients’ identities and related cultural ways of life. This course proposes strategies to engage clients of diverse racial and ethnic groups (who can have very different life experiences, values, and traditions) in treatment. The major racial and ethnic groups in the United States covered in this course are African Americans, Asian Americans (including Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders), Latinos, Native Americans (i.e., Alaska Natives and American Indians), and White Americans. In addition to providing epidemiological data on each group, the course discusses salient aspects of treatment for these racial/ethnic groups, drawing on clinical and research literature. While the primary focus of this course is on substance abuse treatment, the information and strategies given are equally relevant to all types of health and mental health treatment. Course #40-39 | 2015 | 75 pages (54 w/o references) | 30 posttest questions

Prescription Drug Abuse CE CoursePrescription Drug Abuse is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that examines the misuse of prescription drugs (including opioids) in the United States. Misuse of prescription drugs means “taking a medication in a manner or dose other than prescribed; taking someone else’s prescription, even if for a legitimate medical complaint such as pain; or taking a medication to feel euphoria” and is a serious public health problem in the United States. When taken as prescribed, medication can be of great benefit to a patient, helping reduce pain, save lives, and improve one’s overall quality of life. However, when individuals misuse their prescribed medications or take medications not prescribed to them, the consequences can be disastrous. Illicit drug use, including the misuse of prescription medications, affects the health and well-being of millions of Americans. Among other deleterious effects, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis, and lung disease can all be affected by drug use. The important thing to remember is that the medications are not inherently bad in and of themselves – it is how people use (and abuse) them that creates a problem. This course will discuss what drives people to abuse prescription drugs and how they obtain them; diagnostic criteria for substance use disorder; history and progression of prescription drug abuse, including types and classes of drugs used; and the cost of prescription drug abuse on addicts and non-addicts alike. The course will then review the sequence of treating individuals who have a prescription drug use disorder, including screening, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and maintenance. Screening tools, assessment instruments, treatment programs, and evidence-based recommendations are included. Comorbidity between substance use disorder and mental disorders is also discussed. Course 31-00 | 2018 | 50 pages | 20 posttest questions

Cultural Awareness in Clinical PracticeCultural Awareness in Clinical Practice is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that provides the foundation for achieving cultural competence and diversity in healthcare settings. Cultural competence, responding to diversity and inclusion, are important practices for healthcare professionals. This course will help you to gain an awareness of bias and provide strategies to adjust your clinical mindset and therapeutic approach to adapt to “the other” – people who differ in color, creed, sexual identification, socio-economic status, or other differences that make inclusion difficult. Inclusion is defined as “the state of being included” or “the act of including,” which is something all clinicians should strive for. This course is designed to provoke thought about culture, diversity, and inclusion. Even though research for evidence-based practice is somewhat limited in this area, the concept of cultural competency (however it is defined and measured) is a key skill for healthcare professionals to create an inclusive therapeutic environment. Course #31-07 | 2018 | 57 pages | 20 posttest questions

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

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