This course will investigate the disease of addiction. Students will be introduced to drug schedules and classifications. The impact of drug use, abuse, and dependence across the lifespan as well as the risk factors that lead to increased vulnerability to drug use and dependence will be explored. Students will develop a basic understanding of how and why drugs of abuse impact the brain and body and will be able to identify signs of drug intoxication, overdose, and withdrawal, and the potential health complications for a variety of classes of substances, including alcohol, benzodiazepines (e.g., Valium®, Xanax®, Klonopin®), and opiates (e.g., Vicodin®, Percocet®, OxyContin®).
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:
- Explain the biopsychosocial disease process of addiction and critically compare it to the moral model of addiction.
- Recognize the DSM5 diagnostic criteria for substance abuse and substance dependence and understand that substance use disorders, like all conditions exist on a continuum.
- Experience 12-step self help meetings and be familiar with the basic tenets of Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous.
- Identify drugs of abuse by category/classification and schedule and be familiar with the history of drug regulation.
- Identify major risk factors across the lifespan, including in the geriatric years, for developing a substance use disorder. Students will understand the special concerns related to geriatric substance use disorders including increased fall risks, potential exacerbation of cognitive deficits, risk for nutritional deficits, and potential medication/substance interactions.
- Be familiar with conditions, such as aging, loss and grief, injury and illness, mental illness, that are likely to co-occur with and/or precipitate substance use disorders.
- Identify the parts of a neuron and explain their basic functions.
- Name key neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine and serotonin) and explain their role in addiction.
- Possess a rudimentary understanding of the Central Nervous System and neurotransmission.
- Understand the acute and chronic effects on the brain and multiple systems in the body, of the following types/categories of substances: alcohol, nicotine, sedative/hypnotics, narcotics, hallucinogen/designer, marijuana, stimulants.
- Identify signs of drug intoxication, overdose, and withdrawal and be aware of the immediate risk factors associated with intoxication, overdose, and withdrawal of alcohol, nicotine, sedative/hypnotics, narcotics, hallucinogen/designer, marijuana, stimulants.
- Understand the role of replacement therapies (e.g., methadone and naltrexone) and other prescribed medication (e.g., anxiolytics, anti depressants, etc.) in the continuum of care and treatment.
General Education Outcomes (GEOs)
Course Activities and Grading
Discussions (Weeks 1-8)
Quizzes (Weeks 1-8)
Self Help Meeting Reports (Week 2)
Written Assignments (Weeks 3, 5, 6 & 7)
Available through Charter Oak State College's online bookstore
- Hanson, G. R., P.J. Venturelli & A.E. Fleckstein. Drugs and Society - Access Code. 13th ed. Jones and Bartlett, 2018. ISBN-10: 1-284-11087-7 or ISBN-13: 978-1-284-11087-6
|Week||SLOs||Readings and Exercises||Assignments|
Topics: Empiricism, theories of addiction, 12 Step self-help, diagnosis using the DSM5, risk factors, disease progression
Topics: Drug regulation and schedules, history of regulation, neurons, neurotransmission
Topic: How and Why Drugs Work
Topic: Stimulants and Nicotine
Topics: Hallucinogens & Marijuana
COSC Accessibility Statement
Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.
COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources
Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.