Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Centro de Integracion Juvenil - Center for Youth Integration

          Several weeks ago, the social work students in Cuernavaca visited the Centro de Integracion Juvenil also called the CIJ. This organization was established in the year of 1969 in Mexico City to provide treatment and prevention to young adults who have drug and substance addictions. The organization has served approximately 89,000 people who have suffered from addictions. The CIJ we visited has a team of one doctor, eight medics, five psychologists, and two social workers. We learned a lot more about the role of social workers in Mexico through this visit.

            The main responsibility of the social worker is to look at the patient and their environment. Most of the teens CIJ works with live with their families. Contrary to what many of us thought, most clients are voluntary. Social workers at CIJ work a great deal with families to help them support the individual who is receiving services. Although family support is crucial, we were surprised to hear that for safety reasons, social workers do not make home visits. As we have learned, safety is a first priority, but I believe home visits can be extremely beneficial. Termination, a very important stage in the therapy process, is also conducted by the social worker. This process happens when school, work, family are not chaotic and also when the individual has learned how to become self-sufficient.

            Social workers also play a key role by developing and implementing a variety of workshops. These are put in place to help the individual with their addictions. Prevention workshops are also an important part of the CIJ. These are held at schools and include topics relating to addiction, violence prevention and developing self-care skills. The social workers´ role is very important to the success seen at CIJ.
Social Work students at the Centro de Integracion Juvenil
            The visit to the Centro de Integracion Juvenil was very eye opening and rewarding experience.  We found out a lot more about what services are offered in Mexico as well as how individuals are being helped.  What similarities and differences do you see between the CIJ and organizations you are familiar with?

            Something that I found very interesting was that the organization believes that it is not necessary for an individual that is being served to give up their addiction entirely but rather the vital goal is to lower the dosage of the drug. What are some possible benefits and harms this policy have?

-Simone (social work student)


  1. I enjoyed this detailed description of your visit with CIJ, Simone -- loved the photo too. The approach to helping youth manage alcohol use responsibly is intriguing, and the role of family of course is critical. We have a lot to learn from Mexican social workers. The issue of safety and home visits is also important for us to consider explicitly. As you note, working with families in their own homes can be very fruitful, but there are also risks that should not be minimized or ignored and should be focused on in supervision and in agency training.

    Tony Bibus, Augsburg College

  2. This was interesting to read, and similar to Tony Bibus, I loved how detailed your post is. What really struck me was the last part, when you talked about how it isn't necessary for a client to give up their addiction, but rather lower the dosage of the drug. A benefit would be that they would learn how to use it moderately but I think the biggest harm could be that after their leave, they may turn it into an addiction again.This maybe a little hard for me to believe because of our different cultures but maybe this is the best way that works for them.

    Hlee Her, Augsburg College

  3. I enjoyed learning about the CIJ organization for young adults with substance addictions. It was nice that you explained the similarities and differences between social workers in Mexico and United States. I thought that it was interesting that social workers cannot do home visits and it makes total sense because home visits can be a risky at times, especially when helping families who are suffering from an addiction. Overall, I was happy to hear that the role of social workers is highly appreciated by the community in Morelos because someday I would also like to work in Mexico and in other countries.

    Julia Mayorquin, Augsburg College

  4. I really enjoyed reading your post about CIJ. I find it interesting how the organization believes that it is not necessary for an individual that is being served to give up their addiction entirely but rather the vital goal is to lower the dosage of the drug. I'm not sure how that program works with the drug wars going on in Mexico today and whether or not this sort of program would work in the US.

    Susan Martin, Augsburg College

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  6. Thank you Simone for sharing your experience in Mexico and with the Mexican social workers. Mexico is going through a lot of deep reported problems especially with the War on Drugs and I believe that only with the proper care and consistency it can be mitigated to some degree. Anyways, for the social workers in the states, I want to motivate them with this article about their salary:

  7. I'm afraid I'm repeating what a lot of what the others before me have already written, but here I go. I really liked how you explained how they treat and help young people in Mexico that struggles with addiction. I personally think that the addiction itself is the problem, and that it has to be treated to get rid of the addictive behavior. From my point of view I think it is surprising that their goal is to lower their dosage. I can see that being the last option after a long period of treatment without results, but I don't see that as a best and only solution. But as some above have mentioned, there might be cultural and structural differences that is the reason for this approach.

    It looks like you get to experience a lot and I hope I would get the same opportunity some day!
    Keep up the good work!

    Lise Eriksen - Augsburg College.

  8. I also find it very surprising that their vital goal is to only lover the dosage of the drug! I can understand if they want the individual that is being served to lower their dosage of drug step by step over time, but I think the ultimate and final goal would be for them to stop taking drugs completely!

    Henriette Ree- Augsburg College

  9. I really enjoyed reading your post about the CIJ in Mexico. I found it interesting that the Social Workers did not make home visits when they are working with the families a lot. However, it does make since because of safety issues. I was also surprised that most of the clients were volunteers. Like everyone else the thing that stuck out to me the most is that their goal was to lower the dosage of the drug instead of completely stopping. This makes me wonder if this helps patients not to have a relapse with their addiction because they are learning to control it. I thought you did a really good job including a lot of details in this post.
    Kristine Fonti- Augsburg College

  10. this is very interesting, the part I found most interesting was the part at the end about how they go about with people using. how instead of having them just quit they slowly ease them off of it giving them less and less, they can be hurtful because it takes longer, but in the end with this method a person is less likely to have a relapse.
    -Drewcella Davis