Identifying, Assessing and Treating Substance Abuse Problems withing the Deaf Community

Currently, little data is available to describe the extent of the substance abuse problem for Deaf individuals. Deaf individuals do not receive alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment services at rates equal to the general hearing population. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing face a number of barriers when seeking help and support for a substance abuse problem. These issues can make it difficult for them to access treatment services and to maintain a sober lifestyle upon completion of treatment. The lack of awareness, enabling and the access limitations are a few of the barriers existing today. This presentation will identify the barriers and explain the reasons why they exist, and possible strategies to help eliminate them.

About the Presenter

Debra Guthmann, Ed.D, NIC is currently the Director of Pupil Personnel Services at the California School for the Deaf, Fremont where she oversees all clinical services including: counseling, assessment and health services as well as admissions, I.E.P. implementation and any due process. In addition, Dr. Guthmann is the founding Director and current Project Director for grants funded through at the Minnesota Chemical Dependency Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals (MCDPDHHI). Dr. Guthmann has authored a number of articles focusing on a number of issues including chemical dependency and ethical issues pertaining to Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals. Dr. Guthmann has been involved with over 200 national and international presentations on related topics and written several book chapters which focus on dual relationships, substance abuse and treatment models to use with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Dr. Guthmann has been a guest lecturer at numerous post-secondary institutions and is on the adjunct faculty at San Francisco State University. Dr Guthmann is the Past President for the National Association on Alcohol, Drugs and Disability (NAADD) and Past President of the American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association (ADARA) which is one of the largest organizations for professionals serving Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals. She also serves on a number of boards including the Research and Training Center focusing on Substance Abuse and Disabilities located at Wright State University in Dayton Ohio, California Department of Rehabilitation's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Advisory Committee and San Francisco State University's Rehabilitation Counseling Training program. Dr. Guthmann is also a nationally certified interpreter for the Deaf.

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