The role of social workers in the treatment of addictions:A brief history

Shulamith Lala Ashenberg Straussner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article describes the history of social workers' involvement in the treatment of addictions in the United States. Beginning with Mary Richmond, the “mother of social casework,” social workers have played an increasingly important role in the treatment of individuals with alcohol and other drug problems and of their family members. Today, social workers are important players not only in program development, administration, and treatment of chemical addictions, but also in “process” addictions, such as eating disorders and gambling. Moreover, social workers are increasingly involved in addictions research and policy arenas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Addictions treatment
  • History
  • Process addictions
  • Role of social work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Rehabilitation


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