This course is based upon material published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and is part of their recently published Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) on improving cultural competence.
According to SAMHSA – The development of culturally responsive clinical skills is vital to the effectiveness of behavioral health services. According to Cross et al in 2001 cultural competency is a set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that . . . enable a system, agency, or group of professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations This Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) uses Sues (2001) multidimensional model for developing cultural competence. Adapted to address cultural competence across behavioral health settings, this model serves as a frame-work for targeting three organizational levels of treatment: individual counselor and staff, clinical and programmatic, and organizational and administrative.
Chapter 6 – This course emphasizes the concept that many subcultures exist within and across diverse ethnic and racial populations and cultures. Drug cultures are a formidable example—they can influence the presentation of mental, substance use, and co-occurring disorders while also affecting prevention and treatment strategies and outcomes. Drug cultures differ from the types of cultures, but they do share some common features. For instance, there is not a single drug culture in the United States today, but rather, a number of distinct drug cultures that differ according to substances used, geographic location, socioeconomic status, and other factors. Understanding the role that drug cultures play in clients lives is particularly important because these cultures, more than any other cultural connections, influence clients substance use or abuse and the behaviors in which they engage to manage mental disorders. Perhaps most importantly, the person who uses gains acceptance from a group of peers even as mainstream society increasingly discriminates against him or her because of his or her substance use or mental illness. Prejudice from mainstream society may make ties with the drug culture even stronger; he or she may feel as if there is no other place to turn for social and cultural support. Within a treatment program, an understanding of drug cultures will help providers engage new clients and recognize the social and cultural bonds that might lead them back to substance use or other high risk behaviors that are contraindicated for individuals who are being treated for psychological symptoms and/or mental illness. However, unlike other types of cultural affiliations, the treatment providers relationship to the drug culture does not just involve understanding; the provider must actively work to weaken that connection and replace it with other experiences that meet the clients social and cultural needs. In many cases, this involves helping the client connect with a culture of recovery to meet those needs over the long course of recovery.
Although this document was written from the perspective of providing drug treatment services, it contains some of the most current research and collaboration from renowned sources in the field. It was extensively revised and vetted by a wide array of behavioral health specialists and has undergone a more rigorous screening and review than most peer reviewed publication. As a result, the information is appropriate for clinicians who work with a wide variety of presenting problems, not just those involved in substance abuse treatment.
This course is appropriate for beginning, intermediate and advanced level practitioners who wish to develop their understanding of cultural competence. The course material provides a review of what drug cultures are and how they differ. It discusses how to identify key characteristics of a drug culture and the relationship between drug cultures and mainstream culture. It then reviews the role of drug cultures in substance abuse treatment and how to develop a culture of recovery.
This course is particularly useful for licensed clinicians who require clinical continuing education courses for license renewal. It is especially appropriate for behavioral health workers who require cross cultural counseling content for license renewal.
Authors: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Learning Objectives: This course will provide the practitioner with detailed information regarding cultural competence. Specifically, a professional will:
- Identify key characteristics of a drug culture.
- Recognize the role of drug cultures in substance abuse treatment.
- Describe how to develop a culture of recovery for clients.
Citation: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Improving Cultural Competence. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series No. 59. Chapter 6: Drug Cultures and the Culture of Recovery. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4849. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014.