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Substance Abuse Treatment with Clients of French Background

The information in this paper is supported by the Scholarly Journal Articles located within the Northwestern State University library Database.

Substance abuse is a widely known addiction and struggle within cultures around the world. The use of substances can affect a person mentally and physically, but with the reliable sources we have it is possible to get treated for substance abuse. Through this paper I will be discussing the effects of substance use among the French background along with the different types of substances that are abused. The information portrayed in this paper will provide statistical rates among the French culture due to substance use. Lastly, this paper will discuss the factors that may have triggered substance use within the French culture.

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History of the French Background

The French have been well-known over the centuries for their tasteful wines, their impeccable leadership roles and strong support for their nation. The French background believe heavily in celebrating with alcohol. Its cultural importance is reflected in its association with the essential and major milestones of life- with birth, fertility, with death (Straussner,2002). The French background strongly believe in family and religion. Religion is important in this culture along with the consumption of substances. The average French family has defined roles, the father or husband has the position of highest authority (Straussner,2002).

Migration of French to the United States

The migration of French citizens to the United States has been happening for a long time as early as the 18th century. Higonnet (1980) notes that the French frequently enter the United States via another country, such as Germany, the French Caribbean, and, in particular; Canada (Straussner,2002). When the French started to immigrate, they started to go different places. The migration was either between the United States or Canada. Straussner (2002) noted that the majority of Frenchmen emigrated to Canada were of the Catholic religion, whereas French Protestants went directly to the United States.

The French migrated to the United states because of unemployment issues. After a while, the French-Canadian migration came to the United States. Straussner (2002) noted the bulk of this migration was directly related to economic opportunities and was part of an apparently contagious groundswell of immigration to the United States from Europe via Canadian ports of entry. When the French came to the United States, they had a group that settled in Louisiana and overtime migration of the French slowed down.

Prevalence Rates of Substance Use Among the French Background

Substance use and abuse can cause numerous physical problems along with mental problems. Continuous use of alcohol can be harmful to the liver and brain. Straussner (2002) noted that France has an extremely high rate of cirrhosis of the liver. The French culture also consume tobacco along with alcohol. Drug abuse, as we know it in todays treatment context, first appeared as being problematic in the 1960’s (Straussner,2002). Straussner (2002) notes that the major drugs consumed were cannabis, LSD and other hallucinogens. Straussner (2002) also noted that heroine was reported as the primary drug of choice by 69% of identified drug users in that time period.

As time moved on different drugs became part of the French background and soon the mixture of different drugs became the most prevalent. In an article obtained from the Northwestern State University Database there was a statistical article based off of a study done for alcohol and cancer among the French population. We found modest awareness that alcohol causes cancer in the French general population, results consistent with those from other developed countries.27–29 In a previous article,30 we found that alcohol is not perceived as a main risk factor for cancer but is ranked at the same level as more controversial environmental and psychological risk factors ( Bocquier,A.,2017; Fressard,L.,2017; Legleye,S.,2017; Peretti-Watel,P.,2017; Verger,P.,2017).

Prevalence Reasons for Substance use in French Background

In the French culture there are roles and rules that are to be followed within the religion and inside the household. Straussner (2002) notes that in general, anger is not an acceptable emotion. This can cause a spike in substance use or abuse because if anger is not accepted and they get punished for showing this emotion then they will only have alcohol or drugs to cope or deal with their feelings. The roles of men having more power than women can also cause a spike in substance use due to the fact of being under control and inequality.

Socialization plays a huge role in drug use or experimentation among teenagers of the French background. Cannabis is nearly always the first illicit drug used by teenagers in France (Arnaud,C.,2014; Delpierre,C.,2014; Ehlingher,V.,2014; Genolini,C.,2014; Godeau,E.,2014; Jovic,S.,2014; Ross, J.,2014; Spilka,S.,2014). This survey article discusses that family plays a role in drug use among the French background. School as well as larger social environmental parameters are associated with cannabis use within the French. Socialization plays this role because the pressure of peers is how experimentation occurs which can lead to addiction and more use of the substance.

Treatment Models for a Client with French Background

When dealing with a client who has a French background it is beneficial to use the right treatment methods so the session and client can gain a positive session and reach his/her goal. When you are dealing with the French background it is important to know about the French culture such as they are known for having a slow pace regarding relationships. This is important to know that way you can set up a pace on how to move and how to deal with people who are semi-closed off. As a counselor It is also important to be aware of the cultural beliefs associated with the French culture. The understanding of the French religion will be useful to where you can get an idea as to what treatment process you can refer them to while also getting an idea as to how the use was stimulated.

The first treatment model that would be recommended for a client with French background is to attend an AA meeting or NA meeting. This model would be a good choice because in an AA meeting you are not required to speak about your addiction. The French culture likes to take things slow and build relationships. After the client would attend a few meetings it is likely that the client will start to make friendships within the group and furthermore be comfortable with sharing their problems.

The French culture has a strong family dynamic so it would not be uncommon for the client to want his/her family to be part of the treatment (Straussner,2002). The role of religion can be used as a treatment model meaning that the client of a French background one cannot address treatment without understanding the dynamics of Catholicism and the influence it might have (Straussner,2002). Straussner (2002) noted that the sacrament of penance which includes the act of confession, fosters the luxury of forgiveness, as well as the ability to start over, both of which is important issues in substance-abusing clients.

Treatment Approaches for a Client with French Background

A culturally shaped approach can be beneficial when dealing with a French client. A clinician should be aware of the background for who and what type of cultures treatment programs were for. When gathering information about a client the clinician should be very careful when reviewing the information. When looking for a treatment approach with the culture of the French they should analyze all the data before decided on a particular one. If the clinician notices the client is heavily dependent on religion, then they need to do research on the particular religion and try and see if or how substance use is incorporated into the religion.

In Catholic religion the wine is part of the sacrament and the French are mainly Catholic. To a person of French heritage whose family has always incorporated wine as a key component of any social and business gathering, the idea of abstinence may seem totally contradictory to the basic tenets of life (Straussner,2002). When dealing with this subject the clinicians skills come in as his/her ability to understand the French culture by treating a substance abuse problem within each client of this background. Another approach that can be utilized is the skill of knowledge and ability to be openminded and establish trust within the professional setting. The importance of being understanding and the ability to leave your (the clinician) own feelings about a particular subject whether you agree or not separate from the client.


Many cultures see substance abuse in different ways and in many cases simple things such as religion, family and friends, and the cultural background can play a role in aiding the use or abuse with a substance. Without the proper help of an educated or experienced clinician the likelihood of getting help is low. Throughout this paper I talked about the things that can lead to substance use and how religion can be part of the struggle or problem. I also discussed how the French culture or people with French background portray substance use or abuse. In conclusion, substance abuse is not abnormal, and each culture plays a part in either aiding it or not. The main importance is to receive help by a professional and for the professional to be educated on the background of the client.


  1. Baggio, S., Spilka, S., Studer, J., Iglesias, K., & Gmel, G. (2016). Trajectories of drug use among French young people: Prototypical stages of involvement in illicit drug use. Journal of Substance Use, 21(5), 485–490. https://doi-org.nsula.idm.oclc.org/10.3109/14659891.2015.1063720
  2. Knibbe RA, Joosten J, Derickx M, Choquet M, Morin D, Monshouwer K, & Vollebergh W. (2005). Perceived availability of substances, substance use and substance-related problems: a cross national study among French and Dutch adolescents. Journal of Substance Use, 10(2/3), 151- 163.
  3. Jovic, S., Genolini, C., Delpierre, C., Spilka, S., Ehlinger, V., Ross, J., Arnaud, C., & Godeau, E. (2014). Socialization Instances Linked to Cannabis Experimentation Among French Teenagers. Substance Use & Misuse, 49(13), 1808–1819 https://doi-org.nsula.idm.oclc.org/10.3109/10826084.2014.935788
  4. Bocquier, A., Fressard, L., Verger, P., Legleye, S., & Peretti-Watel, P. (2017). Alcohol and cancer: risk perception and risk denial beliefs among the French general population. European Journal of Public Health, 27(4), 705–710. https://doi-org.nsula.idm.oclc.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckx024
  5. Straussner, S. L. A. (2002). Ethnocultural Factors in Substance Abuse Treatment (1st ed.). New York, USA: The Guilford Press.

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Substance Abuse Treatment with Clients of French Background
The information in this paper is supported by the Scholarly Journal Articles located within the Northwestern State University library Database. Substance abuse is a widely known addiction and struggle within cultures around the world. The use of substances can affect a person mentally and physically, but with the reliable sources we have it is possible to get treated for substance abuse. Through this paper I will be discussing the effects of substance use among the French background along wit
2021-10-25 05:10:24
Substance Abuse Treatment with Clients of French Background
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