Decision Making in Human and Social Services

The presented case explores how a human service professional finds himself in a precarious situation. According to the case, the professional realizes that the targeted community engages in specific rituals such as smoking marijuana.

This kind of ritual is a critical attribute of their meditation processes (Diller, 2015). The professional report the community members to the local law enforcement agency for the use of illicit drugs. This issue raises numerous ethical and legal questions that must be addressed from a professional perspective.

I strongly believe that the behavior of the human service worker was professional and acceptable. The fourth standard on the National Human Services (NHS) website guides human service workers to act in a professional manner in order to promote the safety of the targeted individuals. It is agreeable that smoking marijuana is illegal and can result in negative health outcomes.

The decision to report the malpractice to the law enforcers can be treated as a professional decision aimed at protecting the health and safety of the targeted beneficiaries (National Organization for Human Services, 2015). The human service professional can engage in continuous consultation. However, the action taken by the professional should not be limited to this option.

The third standard also supports this argument. The standard states that human service workers or professionals should be on the frontline to protect the rights and privacy of their clients. However, this kind of protection should be compromised if it can result in injuries or harm (National Organization for Human Services, 2015). It is agreeable that the human service professional did the right thing to ensure the needs of the clients were met.

It is also undeniable that human service professionals can break the confidentiality associated with the relationship, especially when the targeted clients engage in harmful practices. This means that the professional should have identified the best options in order to ensure the community was no longer smoking marijuana. Additionally, he could have consulted different experts and legal professionals in order to address the issue effectively.

It might also be argued that human services professionals acted in a legal manner. The smoking of marijuana is illegal in different parts of the world. This happens to be the case because the drug has numerous health implications (Corey, Corey, Corey, & Callanan, 2015).

Abusers of marijuana have the potential to commit various crimes or harm themselves. These aspects explain why targeted community members should be discouraged from smoking marijuana. The decision to report the ritual practice to the relevant authorities was therefore appropriate.

The issue of ethical behavior also arises from the presented scenario. The professional’s behavior was ethical in nature because he chose to report specific malpractice that could affect the outcomes of the targeted clients. However, this move could have affected the relationship between the professional and the community members (Diller, 2015).

That being the case, the individual should have exhausted several options before reporting the matter to the authorities. This means that he should have informed the clients about the existing laws regarding the use of marijuana.

The professional could have liaised with different legal experts in order to identify the best way forward. In conclusion, it is agreeable that the human service professional’s behavior was ethical and acceptable. This is the case because the worker wanted to address misbehavior that could harm the clients.


Corey, G., Corey, S., Corey, C., & Callanan, P. (2015). Issues and ethics in the helping professions, updated with 2014 ACA codes. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Diller, V. (2015). Cultural diversity: A primer for the human services. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

National Organization for Human Services. (2015). .

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