Social Work Case Study: A Veteran Dependent on Drugs

5 pages
1316 words
University of California, Santa Barbara
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Basic Information

John Sava is a 36-year old veteran, unmarried and speaks English as his primary language. He is serving a seven-year term sentence for possession of drugs at the Rutger prison and has completed six years of the sentence. He is transferring to Hebrand Prison as he awaits the parole hearing.

Presenting problem (including how John views the problem and if anyone else is involved with the problem)

John is dependent on drugs and in most cases uses them to avoid the realities and memories from his service in the military. He has also shown impulsive and aggressive behavior. Before his arrest, he was in an argument with his girlfriend and is currently facing an assault charge apart from the possession of drugs sentence.

Sources of data (Is there someone besides John you would talk to? Who?)

Johns girlfriend will be important in giving information about his social life, and life after the military. The social worker should also look if they and locate any of his family members to provide information about his childhood to avoid biased information from John. He has also served his sentence at the Rutger prison for six years, the prison wardens and doctors at the prison will be an added advantage in communicating information about his conduct and behaviour in the prison.

Background and Current Functioning

John is a veteran having served previously as a military man. However, he was sentenced to seven years in prison due to possession of drugs and an assault charge. He has also shown that he has anger issues and emotional problems. The Offender Classification Document states that John Sava has post traumatic stress disorder caused by the substance abuse. Currently, John is transferring to Hebrand Prison to await a parole hearing but still faces a separate assault charge. It is critical for John to have a social worker who will help in the transitioning to a better life. Thus it is vital to pinpoint the exact reasons that led to abuse of drugs, anger problems, and post traumatic stress disorder.

Family composition and background

John is from a family of four. However, he does not have a supportive family. John Sava is not in good terms with his parents since he stole money. His sisters husband is not talking o him since he hit him. His girlfriend has a restraining order thus he cannot even see his daughter.

Educational background

John does not have much about education. He graduated from high school and went straight to the army.

Employment and vocational skills

In the Army John managed to get work with the transport department, supply and logistics. After the army he did construction work with his friend.

Military history

He served the military since he graduated from high school. In his company, he did transport, supply, and logistics. However, he lost all his friends when they were attacked, and he is the lone survivor of the incident. He has seen a psychiatrist in the military to help cope with the incidences he faced.

Religious/spiritual involvement

John is not in any religious or spiritual involvement. He whoever state that his parents are godly. This means he was brought up in a religious family.

Physical functioning, health conditions and medical background

John has had no previous health problems and physical problems. However, he has been on medication ever since he was sentenced to curb his cravings and the nightmares he experienced.

Psychological and psychiatric functioning and background

John has had a psychological problem since they were attacked in the caravan and all his friends passed on.

Social, community, and recreational activities

John does not participate in any social, recreational, and community activities.

Basic life necessities

He is not able to get basic life necessities since he does not have a job.

Legal concerns

He has been sentenced for seven years due to possession of drugs and still has a pending assault charge.

Other environmental or psychosocial factors

John is suffering from a post traumatic stress disorder after he lost all his friends and nearly lost his life. His immediate family is not supportive and have no idea what he is going through. His girlfriend also has a restraining order against him.

Client strengths, capacities, and resources

He social worker should use the ropes assessment to classify Johns strengths, resources, options, and possibilities. ROPES is an assessment framework developed to analyze the strengths of a client (Joseph, Thirumoorthy, & Sekar 2016).

Resources: John is a veteran and currently has a lot of his resource he can access. He can get medical insurance; he can still get a referral from his previous bosses to get employment.

Options: John is still in prison, and he can continue learning about construction work in the prison and enroll to get construction duties. He also wants to remain clean and can still get help from the prison doctor and engage in activities that will divert his attention from drugs.

Possibilities: It is critical for John to reconcile with his family and is okay with the option of writing an apology letter. If his parole hearing is granted, he can get a construction job that will help him earn a better living. He also needs to reconcile with his girlfriend and get to work with the legal assistance to get at least supervised visitations with his daughter.

Exceptions: John seems to experience the PTSD when he is under pressure or the influence of drugs; thus, he needs to steer off drugs and get a support system that understands him and is ready to help him get better.

Solutions: From the interview, John is ready for change. He wants to get a job and stay clean from drugs. John Sava has also expressed a desire to reconcile with his family and see his daughter. As a social worker it is important to help John reconcile with his Parents and ensure he gets a job when he is granted parole. Enrolling him in recreational and community services will aid in reducing the addiction problem.

Impressions, Assessment, and Recommendations

According to the interview John is showing all the symptoms of PTSD. It is also clear that he is willing to stay clean from drug abuse and get a construction job. He therefore needs all the help he can get.

Clinical summary and impressions

John is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He lacks a support system thus aggravating the symptoms of his condition. Lack of a proper support system leads him to depression thus uses strong drugs to forget his problems. He needs to reconcile with his family and his girlfriend, so he and can get the support of the family. The family should be educated about the symptoms and dangers of PTSD, so they will be able to help John when he needs help.


John PTSD seems to be aggravated by the fact that he is not able to get employment to ensure he stays busy and not focus on the military events. He therefore resorts to alcohol and cocaine to get by. He also has problems with his family and lack people to confide in about his problems.

Goals and recommendations

Short term Goals

The short term goals include helping john to reconcile with his family, and ensure that he gets all the medical help he will need to continue with his treatment.

Long term goal

The long term goal is to help John get a job. Ensure that he stays clean from cocaine and alcohol abuse. It is also important to enroll John in the community and recreational programs that will add to his social support system.



Jones, M., & Aureala, W. (2015). Interview with John Sava. Center for Learning and Innovation. 765-677-3286.

Joseph, S. J., Thirumoorthy, A., & Sekar, K. (2016). Techniques for Brief Strengths Based Social Case Work. International Journal of Health Sciences and Research (IJHSR), 6(12), 265-273.


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