Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Davis, Thomas


Social workers are trained during the course of their education to work with the elderly and to understand the various dynamics of aging. These professionals also receive education on substance abuse and how to assess clients as well as link them to appropriate supportive services. How can social workers be more inclined to effectively treat the elderly substance abuser? What are, if any, special considerations a social worker should be aware of when working with the geriatric population? What treatment modalities seem to be more effective with the elderly client? This study utilized a qualitative analysis consisting of interviews with eight clinicians who specialize in the area of addiction treatment amongst the aging population. The purpose of this study was to gain insight and knowledge that can be used to promote social worker awareness of elderly substance abuse as well as the identification of effective addiction treatment methods in the field of gerontological social work. The findings of this study will impact future social work practice, policy and research in the areas of education, treatment, and advocacy for the aging and substance abuse populations. Keywords: gerontology, substance abuse, aging, polypharmacy, interventions