Culture Influence Drug Use, Abuse and Dependency

Ways in Which Culture Influence Drug Use, Abuse and Dependency

11 Consider the discussion and the insights you gained from it.

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  1. In what ways does culture influence how drug use, abuse, and dependency are defined and treated? Research two cultures of your choice and report on how these cultures define and treat drug use, abuse, and dependency. How do different cultures explain the origin of drug related problems?

Compare and contrast the two approaches. (In approximately 500 – 600 words)

  • Explain at least five elements of a culture that counselors need to understand to work more effectively with clients from various cultures. How can you as a future counselor work to ensure that you understand these elements? (In approximately 500 – 600 words)
  • Research the ways in which women differ from men in their substance use, abuse, and treatment needs. Write a 300-word essay on these differences, providing examples as applicable.
  • Research and write a 300-word essay on the differences between adolescent substance abuse and adult substance abuse. How should their treatments differ?
  • Research and write a 300-word essay on substance abuse among senior citizens. What are the major risk factors for senior citizens to develop substance use disorders? How can this be prevented?

Combine all your writing into one document before submitting. List all references at the end of the paper.

Sample Solution

Ways in Which Culture Influence Drug Use, Abuse and Dependency

Culture can be defined as a system of beliefs and behaviors that shape the perspective and actions of individuals within a society. It serves as a guide for how people belonging to a particular culture should behave and conduct themselves. Drug abuse, on the other hand, refers to the inappropriate use of alcohol, illicit drugs, and other substances. However, what is considered illicit varies across cultures and can be influenced by social classes. Many cultures generally discourage the use of illicit drugs, but some allow the consumption of alcohol in ceremonial contexts, which can be misused through excessive drinking. Culture plays a significant role in determining the level of drug use, abuse, and dependency within a community. If a culture does not establish clear guidelines regarding the consequences of careless drug use, individuals within that community may feel free to use substances. In the modern world, no culture is exempt from drug use and misuse.

The Black American population in the United States is particularly affected by substance use and abuse. Within Black American culture, drug use is often seen as a coping mechanism for dealing with real-life challenges. Black individuals often associate drug use with the socio-economic issues they face on a daily basis. Many people turn to drug abuse as a way of temporarily escaping from difficult circumstances. Drug use is sometimes viewed as a part of the lifestyle within the Black American community, even depicted openly in the music videos of prominent artists. Movie stars and other influential figures within the Black-American community are also known to be engaged in drug use. Treating drug abuse among African-Americans requires providing a culturally sensitive environment and ensuring access to services that offer social support.

The Hispanic population in the United States is another culture significantly affected by drug use and abuse. Similar to Black Americans, Hispanics often perceive drug use and misuse as a means of coping with economic challenges. Drugs are used as a mechanism for getting through tough times. The assimilation of white culture values has also contributed to substance use and misuse among Hispanics. Traditional gender role attitudes within Hispanic culture can also encourage drug use. In substance abuse treatments, Hispanics prefer to have Latino counselors and peers in their programs. Culturally-modified therapeutic community, recovery programs, and outpatient programs have proven effective in addressing substance abuse among Latinos. Additionally, family and religion play crucial roles in the recovery from drug abuse within the Latino community.

Within Black American culture, substance use and abuse are attributed to socioeconomic issues such as unemployment, poor living conditions, domestic problems, discrimination, and police brutality. In Hispanic culture, substance use and abuse are often linked to socioeconomic factors and the length of time spent in the United States. Those born in the United States tend to adopt American cultural values, which may lead to early engagement in drug use and misuse. Socioeconomic factors like inadequate housing, homelessness, poverty, unemployment, and limited education contribute to drug abuse and misuse among Latinos.

Substance Abuse Difference between Men and Women

In order to work effectively as counselors, it is crucial to understand various elements of culture. Cross-cultural counseling has become increasingly important, requiring counselors to be competent in multiculturalism and diversity. Cultural diversity encompasses not only racial and ethnic dimensions but also socioeconomic status, spirituality/religion, ability status, and sexual orientation (Lee, 2008).

To effectively work with clients, counselors must comprehend the social and historical context. In the United States, this involves understanding the historical development of counseling as a discipline and its societal context, particularly following World War II. The post-war era brought about significant changes, with historically marginalized groups demanding social, political, and economic inclusion. Familiarity with key historical events and social movements that have shaped attitudes, values, and behaviors of different groups is essential for counselors working with diverse populations (Lee, 2008).

Religion or spirituality is another important cultural aspect that counselors should understand. Religion holds significant importance for many individuals and plays a crucial role in their overall well-being. Counselors should recognize that religious and secular life may differ across cultures and be open to integrating spiritual dimensions into counseling practice. Respecting clients’ religious beliefs and ensuring that counseling aligns with their values is essential (Lee, 2008).

Counselors also need to be mindful of how social class affects their clients. The impact of classism can significantly influence clients’ perceptions of the counseling process, particularly if they perceive it as reflecting upper or middle-class cultural norms. Understanding how different communities perceive social status is crucial for counselors (Lee, 2008).

Cross-cultural ethical practices are another cultural element that counselors must understand. The American Counseling Association emphasizes the importance of cultural diversity. Becoming a culturally competent counselor requires an open-minded attitude and a commitment to respecting and valuing cultural differences. It involves continuously learning and making ethical choices within various cultural contexts (Lee, 2008).

Familiarity with different languages is also beneficial for counselors. It enhances effective communication, especially when working with clients who may be illiterate in the counselor’s primary language (Lee, 2008).

To be effective counselors in the future, professionals should understand their professional and ethical responsibilities, including maintaining client confidentiality. Actively engaging with individuals from different cultures and learning about their values and norms is essential. This can be achieved through reading books, journals, and documentaries that provide insights into specific cultural communities (Myers & Salt, 2013).


Alvarez, J., Jason, L. A., Olson, B. D., Ferrari, J. R., & Davis, M. I. (2007). Substance abuse
prevalence and treatment among Latinos and Latinas. Journal of ethnicity in substance
abuse, 6(2), 115–141.
Kuerbis, A., Sacco, P., Blazer, D. G., & Moore, A. A. (2014). Substance abuse among older
adults. Clinics in geriatric medicine, 30(3), 629–654.

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