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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Building a spiritual based model to address substance abuse

Author: Friedman, B.D.
Author Background: School of Social Work, Wayne State Univ., Detroit, MI 48202
Date 2000
Type Journal
Journal Title: Social-Thought
Volume/Pages 19(3): 23-38
Subject Matter Substance-abuse; Spirituality; Jews
Abstract Substance abuse is on the rise. There are many discussions about how society should deal with these issues. Some suggest increasing the education while others suggest using a big stick in order to punish offenders. Within treatment circles the term spirituality continues to be used as an important ingredient to address the substance abuse problem. But how does one define spirituality? The formerly low rate of substance abuse in the Jewish community suggested further investigation into the components that contributed to that rate. The author suggests that the low rate of substance abuse was linked to a value orientation that relied heavily on God, Torah, and Israel (community). These three concepts are used to help understand spirituality and how the interrelationship between the three are important in leading to low substance abuse rates. The author then generalizes these components into the larger social service community in understanding the term spirituality. The author suggests that there is a relationship between the interrelationship of God, Torah, and Israel with the concept of spirituality and proposes the development of a model based on this interaction as a way to reduce substance abuse. (Journal abstract.)