The Substance Abuse Handbook

The Substance Abuse Handbook

by Pedro Ruiz, Eric C. Strain, and John G. Langrod; Philadelphia:
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2007
528 pages • $59.95 (softcover)

The Substance Abuse Handbook offers a comprehensive, clinically oriented approach to the treatment of addictive disorders. It contains a wealth of useful information, ranging from causes of addiction to different modes of treatment. The authors' stated goal was ambitious: "We wanted to offer the field the most authoritative, clinically oriented information on the subject of substance use, abuse, and dependence, with emphasis on diagnosis, treatment, and prevention." Generally, the authors have accomplished their intended goal.

The text covers substances of abuse, behaviors related to addiction, evaluation and treatment, associated medical conditions, life cycle, wom-en's issues, specialty groups, prevention, and training and education. Since the authors use a clinical approach to addiction, evidence-based references are largely ignored and there is a lack of solid research sources. This is the biggest limitation of this book.

For example, on page 438, a study is described in which "patterns of illicit drug use in 1,876 individuals actively involved in vocational rehabilitation services in three Midwestern states have been conducted." Although this is quite an important study, no reference is provided. Without this information, the reader will not be able to locate this or any related research materials. In addition, page 455 states, "stigma, prejudice, and discrimination constitute the greatest barrier to recovery." Again, statements such as this are presented throughout the text without any citation. Could this be the authors' point of view and not be based on researched evidence, or is this statement based on empirical study? This is an issue throughout the handbook. Consequently, the reader is left without sufficient information to pursue inquiries. Fortunately, each chapter provides a "suggested readings" section, which is helpful.

Finally, I commend the authors for their thoroughness and clinical approach to addictive disorders; in particular, their emphasis on women and life-span topics is welcome. However, one specialty area, substance abuse among military veterans, is missing.

While veterans are mentioned in passing, there is no chapter exclusively designated for the discussion of this important group. Veterans who are returning from war zones have many difficulties, including substance abuse and dependence. Veterans need to be treated in a unique way because of their experiences and should have received special attention in this volume.

This book has wide appeal for specialists in the field of substance use disorders and for other professionals in related fields. It should be of particular interest to certified rehabilitation counselors who work with persons who have disabilities who are attempting to gain employment through federal or state vocational rehabilitation agencies. This handbook can be an asset to a person with such a caseload as well as to someone with a combined or general caseload.

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