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Influence of Culture on Substance Abuse
Culture significantly influences the lifestyle and habits of a person. Thus, it also has a role to play in the substance abuse behaviour among adolescents. The paper attempts to understand the influence of culture on substance abuse in adolescents. The paper is divided into six sections. The first section highlights the knowledge, skills and attitude pertaining to cultural competencies. The second section mentions the dimensions of culture that impact adolescent treatment. The third section indicates the cultural groups that influence adolescent attitude and behaviour. The fourth section discusses explanatory models of substance abuse and its impact on treatment. The fifth section argues the effect of movement from one culture to another on substance abuse. The sixth section concludes the paper.
Knowledge, Skills and Attitude of Cultural Competency
Developing cultural competency is important in dealing with adolescents and incidences of with substance abuse. To build cultural competency, it is important for a professional to possess the knowledge of adolescent’s culture, its dynamics, communication style, its inherent values and network of support system. It is also important to understand the power relationship s within communities or institutions impact different cultures (Saldana, 2001). The skills important for developing cultural competency are sensitivity towards differences among cultures, ability to ascertain the significance of one’s race for the adolescent and capability to explicitly probe on sensitive issues about one’s race, culture and ethnicity. Attitudes for cultural competency are willingness to work with clients of different ethnic background, acceptance of differences and personal empathy and genuineness (Saldana, 2001).
Dimensions of Culture that Impact Adolescent Treatment
The dimensions of culture that impact adolescent treatment are developmental, biological, psychological, and social phenomena (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2005). Developmental phenomenon includes that way of upbringing of the adolescent. Biological phenomenon is the genetic variation in adolescents that increase their vulnerability to substance abuse. Psychological dimension includes the feeling of exclusion in adolescent and discrimination against them.
It also includes the set pattern of thinking in a given culture, and their definition of right and wrong. Social dimension of culture is one of the most important dimensions and includes the availability of substance and social acceptance of substance abuse and influence of parents, neighbours, society and cultural group.
Type of Cultural Groups that Influence Attitude and Behaviour towards Substance Abuse
The cultural group of adolescent significantly influence their behaviour and attitude towards substance abuse. The types of cultural groups that mostly adopt and promote long-term substance abuse are those that have faced a lot of negative emotions in life. A low-income urban minority, who has faced social discrimination, acute financial stress and lack of support system, is a typical adolescent to get into substance use.
According to Goldstein and Noguera (2012), low-income urban youth of colour are frequently confronted by a wide variety of challenges and hardships that are not experienced by young people in other areas. Overall, cultural groups that are vulnerable and more prone to emotional suffering are the ones that mostly influence their adolescents in to the practice of substance use.
Impact of Explanatory Model on Treatment of Drug Abuse
The explanatory model of substance abuse held by clients and family does impact its treatment and preventive practice. The explanatory models of substance abuse suggest that addictions are the result of social influence, genetic makeup, personality dysfunctions, stress, conditioning, compulsive behaviour or an integration of biopsychosocial phenomenon (Sremac, 2010). In each of these models substance abuse is the result of an influence, innate or ingrained in a person. Thus, it greatly impacts the treatment process.
Impact on Substance Abuse through Movement from One Culture to Another
According to Peele and Brodsky (1976), addiction is a social disease. Thus, movement from one culture to another can impact substance use in adolescent. When a person moves from a culture that is contaminated with the practice of substance abuse to a culture that strictly restricts substance abuse, it will force the adolescent to think back and analyse this practice. Movement to a better culture will help the adolescent grow up into a more matured human being and have a clear understanding of the right and the wrong. The good society will also influence and addict to attempt to quit the dangerous habit.
Substance abuse is a harmful addiction. A number of sociological, psychological and genetic factors influence a person into such addiction. Since culture plays an important role in influencing people’s behaviour into substance abuse at the early stages of life, it is important that the treatment of this addiction accounts for the cultural impact. Being sensitive to one’s culture and being able to influence cultural movement is one of the effective ways to deal with the problem.
Goldstein, M.J. and Noguera, P.A. (2012). How Educators can Incorporate Cultural Competence in Programs for Urban Youth. Retrieved from http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/er/pn_mg_div.html
National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2005). Alcohol and Minorities: An Update. Retrieved from http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Social/Module10AAdolescents/Module10A.html
Peele, S. and Brodsky, A. (1976). Addiction is a Social Disease. Retrieved from http://www.peele.net/lib/sociald.php
Saldana, Delia (2001). Cultural Competency: A Practical Guide for Mental Health Service Providers. Retrieved from http://www.uscrirefugees.org/2010Website/5_Resources/5_3_For_Service_Providers/5_3_3_Cultural_Competency/Hogg_Foundation_for_MentalHealth.pdf
Sremac, Srdjan (2010). Addiction and Narrative Spirituality: Theoretical-Methodological Approaches and Overview. Retrieved from http://vu-nl.academia.edu/SrdjanSremac/Papers/285748/Addiction_Narrative_and_Spirituality_Theoretical-Methodological_Approaches_and_Overview