The incidence of substance use disorders among people with disabilities appears to be even greater than it is for the general population. In particular persons served by the State-Federal Vocational Rehabilitation System. Such people pose a greater risk of substance abuse because of medication abuse, poverty, unemployment, and lack of education. They receive less academic education, as well as drug and alcohol addiction warnings and precautions. Substance abuse and dependence both are categorized as substance use disorders, and are viewed as chronic disabilities. Vocational rehabilitation is the process in which a recovering alcoholic/ addict can work towards returning to the workforce after substance abuse treatment.
An effective vocational rehabilitation approach is holistic, individualized, and comprehensive. It focuses on empowering the alcoholic/ addict to make decisions on short-term, and then eventually long-term goals. The holistic approach covers all life areas such as medical, social, psychological, educational, economic, legal, and spiritual. Each person’s plan is individualized, as they need to be fully involved in their drug rehabilitation even if at first they don’t agree with everything it entails. And the comprehensive part focuses on educating disabled person about the world of work, what it takes to compete in that world, and the training needed to be successful going into it. The point to all of these concentrated areas is to get someone completely ready to integrate back into the community, and sustain a productive, sober life.
Along with enrolling in vocational rehabilitation after residential treatment, finding as many other mutually focused support groups to aid in sustained recovery is recommended. As you can imagine, transitioning back into the “real world” after treatment can be daunting, but vocational rehabilitation will help cushion that transition. Upon acceptance into the program, vocational rehabilitation will provide benefits to alcoholics/ addicts for a lifetime. Utah has an exceptional vocational rehab program. According to performance data from the RSA (Federal Rehabilitation Service Administration), Utah’s program outperformed neighboring states on almost all performance measures. For further information please see the links below.
• Substance Use Disorders and Vocational Rehabilitation [pdf]