1. The education of a social worker is built on a liberal arts foundation so that we have a comprehensive understanding of human beings informed by centuries of knowledge development.
  2. United States policies governing addiction, instead of being informed by knowledge, are just plain stupid like our “war on drugs” and in effect are counter productive resulting in tremendous addiction problems in America.  We are just beginning to recognize our mistakes and change is now beginning to slowly spread.
  3. European policies tend to be more enlightened and effective.  Modern European culture tends to be less arrogant and more flexible than modern American culture.
  4. In the past and still to this day most of the American models of addiction treatment require abstinence.
  5. Abstinence models are not appropriate for all types of clients so that many who need other types of assistance are refused help.   Addiction is not a dichotomous either/or issue---it occurs on a continuum.  Therefore, what is needed for someone at one end of the continuum is likely to be very different than what is needed in the way of treatment for someone at the other end.
  6. America is borrowing the harm reduction model of addiction treatment from Europe because it incorporates both abstinence and a variety of less restrictive forms of treatment. 
  7. The harm reduction model also employs a strengths perspective and values client empowerment---which are old concepts that have proven their effectiveness over time.
  8. This model is also consistent with the latest research on why certain brains are more likely to become addicted and how the brain of the addicted person is significantly different.
    1. Due to genetics, certain brains are more likely to become addicted.  For example, those who are genetically inclined toward risk taking and impulsiveness are more likely to engage in novelty seeking behaviors related to addiction.
    2. Once the pattern of use is established, the brain is changed.  A normal brain gets high naturally with certain chemicals it produces such as dopamine.  Regular addictive behavior depletes the natural chemicals producing a general malaise.  The addict regains the pleasure through the addictive behavior.  Without that behavior, they are in pain. 
  9. Therefore, effective treatment requires that the brain of the addict be changed so that it does not crave the addictive behavior.
  10. To change the brain, the American pharmaceutical industry is creating drugs.  However, the injured addictive brain can heal itself without prescription drugs.
  11. What is needed is effective relationships.  In terms of prevention, we need to encourage a culture that is more relationship friendly for every type of brain, not just for those that conform to some mythical norm.  In terms of treatment, we need to develop social worker-client relationships that are based on the harm reduction model and develop client strengths as we empower them and relate to them with basic Rogerian principles that are consistent with social work ethics.
  12. Since the Philippine culture is more relationship friendly, this approach is suited to your culture and that is the reason that I am bringing up my children here rather than in the United States.