HLTH 4511: Introduction to Problematic Substance Use

Learners review conceptual, historical, political, and societal factors that influence values, beliefs, approaches, and practices with persons with problematic substance use. Learners reflect upon their own attitudes and beliefs and consider how prior knowledge and experiences may influence their understanding of substance use disorders and their perceptions of persons experiencing problematic substance use and their families. Learners are introduced to foundational concepts and methods in prevention and treatment of problematic substance use.

Learning outcomes

By working through the learning activities in this course, participants will:

  • Examine perception of their attitudes and beliefs about persons engaged in problematic substance use, and their families, and consider how conceptual, historical, political, personal and societal forces may have contributed to their attitudes and beliefs.
  • Identify or describe factors (biological, psychological and social) currently believed associated with the etiology of problematic substance use.
  • Recognize the impact of health-related stigma on past, current and future approaches to the prevention and treatment of problematic substance use and mental illness.
  • Identify how conceptual, historical, political and societal forces have shaped past and current approaches to problematic substance use prevention and treatment in North America.
  • Describe the principles of evidence-based practice (EBP) and the skills used in applying those principles: as defined in the Evidence-Based Decision Making (EBDM) process.
  • Explain the unique challenges/needs faced by evidence-based decision makers working in the field of problematic substance use.
  • Examine a range of evidence-based practices currently used in the prevention and treatment of problematic substance use.
  • Use EBDM skills to evaluate the evidence in support of long standing and innovative practices for the prevention and treatment of problematic substance use.
  • Recognize the interprofessional nature of Canada's substance abuse workforce.
  • Appreciate the importance of interprofessional collaboration in planning and evaluation of programs for in the problematic substance use field.

Course topics

  • Lesson 1: Self-Recognition of One's Own Attitudes and Beliefs about Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders
  • Lesson 2: Understanding the Biology of Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders
  • Lesson 3: Psychological Determinants of Problematic Substance Use and Abuse
  • Lesson 4: Understanding the Social Risk and Protective Factors in Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders
  • Lesson 5: Evidence Based Practice in Substance Use Workforce: Developing Skills for Finding the Best Evidence
  • Lesson 6: Evidence Based Practice in Substance Use Workforce: Developing Skills for Critically Appraising and Applying the Best Evidence
  • Lesson 7: Established and Innovative Approaches for the Treatment and Prevention of Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders: What should we be Aiming for in the Treatment and Prevention of Substance Use Disorders?
  • Lesson 8: Effectiveness of Interventions used in the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders
  • Lesson 9: Interventions Used in the Prevention of Substance Use
  • Lesson 10: Introduction to Stigma and its Impact on the Delivery of Care
  • Lesson 11: Strategies to Reduce the Stigma of Substance Use
  • Lesson 12: Diversity within Canada's Substance Use Workforce - The Need for Interprofessional Collaboration

Required text and materials

Miller, W. & Carroll, K (Eds.). Rethinking Substance Abuse: What the Science Shows, and What We Should Do about It. New York: Guildford Press, (2006).
Type: Textbook, ISBN: 978-1-60623-698-7

Additional requirements

Computer with Internet is required.

Assessments

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory final project. The following table illustrates how the final grade will be determined for this course.

Assignment 1: Substances and the Elderly 8%
Assignment 2: Substances and Pregnancy 20%
Assignment 3: Substances and Youth 30%
Assignment 4: Persons Who Inject Drugs 12%
Final Project*: Substances and Intergenerational Trauma 30%
Total 100%

*Mandatory

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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