New Thoughts on an Old Problem: Working with Rural Substance Abuse

Sponsor: NH NASW

In this workshop, presenters Alison Mitchell and Sara Dupont will share results of a recent research study focused on identifying socially determined risk and protective factors predicting treatment outcomes from a population of individuals receiving substance use treatment in the State of Maine.  Using the study findings as context, participants will then be invited to review and discuss case studies in small groups and then together in the larger group.  Presenters will focus discussion on identifying social determinants of health in the case studies that might impede or facilitate treatment for rurally located individuals and families, inviting consideration and discussion of social work’s role(s) in addressing the issues identified.

To deepen the discussion, the focus will then turn to considering how the words we use and the agency structures within which we operate can also contribute to facilitating or impeding treatment progression in the context of the biopsychosocial factors previously identified.  Participants will leave the workshop with an enhanced sense of individual skills or practices that could be incorporated into service provision, as well as potential social work roles and responses to promoting social justice through treatment access for rurally located individuals and families affected by substance use, particularly opioid abuse, throughout New Hampshire.

Workshop Objectives:
1.Identify risk and protective biopsychosocial factors (social determinants of health) based on a recently completed study of biopsychosocial predictors of substance use treatment outcomes based on treatment episode data from the State of Maine
2.Apply study findings to case studies provided to participants
3.Evaluate how use of language and agency policies/ procedures may potentially further marginalize already vulnerable families
4.Identify and reflect upon responses that arise related to the case studies as a means of furthering reflexive practice and promoting social justice for rurally located opioid affected individuals and families

About the Instructors

Alison Mitchell, PhD, LCSW, is an Assistant Professor in Social Work at Plymouth State University in NH.  She earned her PhD in clinical social work from the Smith College School for Social Work in 2020.  Alison completed her MSW at the University of Maine, awarded the President’s Research Impact Award in 2013 and named Outstanding Master’s Degree Student in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture in 2014. Dr. Mitchell’s research focuses on factors supporting or impeding treatment in the intersecting areas of mental health, opioid use disorder, trauma, and rurality. She recently moved to NH from central Maine, where she worked as a mental health practitioner in private practice and in agency settings. In addition to her practice and research, Professor Mitchell was a long-time adjunct instructor for the University of Maine School of Social Work and has also taught part-time for the University of Connecticut and Smith College Schools of Social Work.

Sara Dupont, LICSW is an Assistant Clinical Professor in Social Work at Plymouth State University. Over the past 17 years Sara has worked in a variety of sub-disciplines of social work. She has worked within the community mental health system in areas ranging from children’s mental health to emergency services. Over the past 7 years she has worked in several community hospitals working as a medical social worker. While working in the hospital Sara specialized in work with pregnant and post-partum women who had a substance use disorder. She has a private practice providing mental health, substance use disorder, and dual diagnosis services to adolescents and adults.

For more information and to register click here

Event Details

June 8, 2022
8:45 am - 12:00 pm
non - member $100
member $75