Addictions Worker

Course Info:

Course Introduction

Addictions Worker Level 1 (AW 1) introduces students to the world of addictions in Canadian society. They begin with an overview of drugs and drug use in Canada today. Topics include drugs as a social problem, toxicity, substance dependence, crime and violence as it pertains to drug use, and the pharmaceutical industry in Canada. Students review how drugs work on the brain and human body, and learn about the chemical theories of behaviour. Students also are introduced to various non-substance addictions, including Impulse Control Addictions (kleptomania, pyromania, gambling) and Behavioural Addictions (food, sexual, pornography, using computers or the internet, playing video games, working, exercising, and shopping) This course consists of 20 days (100 hours) of daily, participative learning sessions.

Addictions Worker Level 2 (AW 2) continues the exploration into addictions, this time focusing on uppers and downers which are stimulants (like cocaine) and amphetamines (pain killers), depressants, and inhalants. Students learn how psychotherapeutic drugs including antipsychotics and antidepressants are used in the treatment of mental illness. Topics include alcohol and familiar drugs like tobacco and caffeine, as well as natural health products and over-the-counter drugs. This course consists of 20 days (100 hours) of daily, participative learning sessions.

Addictions Worker Level 3 (AW 3) moves into restricted drugs including opioids, hallucinogens, cannabis, and performance-enhancing drugs. Students learn about both the prevention and treatment of addictions, including organizations, like AA, which focus on rehabilitation. This course consists of 20 days (100 hours) of daily, participative learning sessions.

Course Prerequisites

  • A Community Service Worker diploma from Academy of Learning within the last 2 years, OR
  • A Community Service Worker diploma from another accredited institution within the last 2 years; prospective students may use Credit for Prior Learning:
    • On transcript
    • By challenging courses
  • Exceptions may be considered in consultation with the Healthcare Division

Course Notes

Students are supplied with textbooks for ongoing reference. In addition to quizzes, tests, and assignments, there is a Final Exam upon completion of the course. Students must achieve a mark of 75% overall and on the Final Exam to successfully complete the course.

Course Breakdown

Level 1:

Drug Use: An Overview The drug problem, talking about drug use, drugs in the media, four principles of psychoactive drugs, and important definitions

How Did We Get Here? Have things really changed?, and can we predict or control trends in drug use?

Drugs and Drug Use Today Methamphetamine use in your community, and trends in drug use

Correlates of Drug Use: Risk and protective factors, religion and drug use, personality variables, genetics, antecedents of drug use, gateway substances, motives for drug use, and gender (socioeconomic status and level of education)

Drug Use as a Social Problem: Laissez-faire, and pharm parties

Toxicity: How dangerous is the drug? fear and decision making, intravenous drug use and the spread of blood-borne diseases, and clean needles

Substance Dependence: What is it? Three basic processes, changing views of dependence, psychiatric diagnosis of substance-use dependence, which is more important: physical dependence or psychological dependence?, and broad views of substance dependence

Crime and Violence: Does Drug Use Cause Crime? Why we try to regulate drugs

Drug Products and Their Regulations: The history of drug regulations, is media coverage of new prescription drugs too rosy? regulation of pharmaceuticals, drug submission process, prescribing practices, provincial and territorial responsibilities, compulsory licences, and developing and introducing a new drug

Pharmaceutical Industry in Canada: Canadian marihuana medical access regulations, expanding drug treatment courts in Canada, history behind the medicinal marihuana access regulations, and possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana

Natural Health Products: Product licensing, good manufacturing practices, and adverse reaction reporting

Drug Regulations in the United States: Regulation of pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, and controlled substances

How Drugs Work: The nervous system, glia, neurons

Neurotransmission: The peripheral nervous system, the brain, chemical pathways, drugs and the brain, life cycle of a neurotransmitter, examples of drug actions, chemical theories of behavior, and brain imaging techniques

Chemical Theories of Behaviour: Sources and names of drugs, categories of drugs, ritalin abuse, pharmacodynamics, getting the drug to the brain, mechanisms of drug action, drug metabolism and deactivation, mechanisms of tolerance and withdrawal symptoms, and avoiding withdrawal symptoms

Behavioural and Impulse Control Addictions: What are impulse control addictions?, what Are behavioural addictions?, gambling addiction, stealing addiction (kleptomania), food addiction, sexual addictions, and other non-substance addictions.

Level 2:

Uppers and Downers: Stimulants Cocaine, legal controls of cocaine, supplies of illicit cocaine in Canada, cocaine-crime-and ethnicity, pharmacology of cocaine, mechanism of action, absorption and elimination, medical uses of cocaine, causes for concern, and current patterns of cocaine useUppers

Uppers and Downers: Amphetamines: Supplies of illicit methamphetamine in Canada, pharmacology of amphetamines, medical uses of amphetamines, can pills make you smarter, and amphetamines: causes for concern

Depressants and Inhalants: History and pharmacology of depressants, mechanism of action of benzodiazepines, beneficial uses of depressants, causes for concern with barbiturates, and inhalants

Psychotherapeutic Drugs: Medication for Mental Disorders: Mental illness, treatment of mental disorders, antipsychotics, antidepressants, electroconvulsive therapy, mood stabilizers, and consequences of drug treatments for mental illness

Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages, advertising alcohol on television, alcohol use and “the alcohol problem,” who drinks? and why? alcohol pharmacology, alcohol toxicity, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, alcohol dependence, and pricing and taxation as a mechanism to reduce alcohol-related harm

Familiar Drugs: Tobacco Tobacco history, tobacco under attack, tobacco history in Canada, causes for concern, pharmacology of nicotine, and how to stop smoking

Familiar Drugs: Caffeine: Caffeine: the world’s most common psychostimulant, Tim Horton’s coffee, tea, chocolate, other sources of caffeine, caffeine pharmacology, caffeine and panic attacks, and caffeine: causes for concern

Familiar Drugs: Natural Health Products and Over-the-Counter Drugs: Natural health products, some psychoactive natural health products, over-the-counter drugs, over-the-counter versus prescription drugs, sleep aids, analgesics, cold and allergy products, and choosing an OTC product

Level 3:

Restricted Drugs: Opioids Opioids, opium, Cottonland: a community overdoses on oxycodone, morphine, heroin, opium and heroin supply: distribution, and trafficking in Canada, the changing profile of opioid users, abuse of prescription opioids in Canada, pharmacology of the opioids, beneficial uses of opioids, Opioids: causes for concern, and research studies and pilots

Restricted Drugs: Hallucinogens: Hallucinogens, phantastica, indole hallucinogens, Saint Anthony’s fire: ergotism, LSD discovery and early research, Canadian pioneers in the use of LSD, secret army/CIA research with LSD, recreational use of LSD, LSD pharmacology, the LSD experience, adverse reactions, beliefs about LSD, catechol hallucinogens, San Pedro cactus, discovery and early research on mescaline, pharmacology of mescaline, DOM, MDA, MDA and others, MDMA, deliriants, anticholinergic hallucinogens, amanita muscaria, and salvia divinorum

Restricted Drugs: Cannabis: Cannabis the plant, medicinal marihuana access regulations, cannabis preparations, cannabis history, supply, distribution, and trafficking of marijuana, hashish, and hash oil, prevalence rates of cannabis use, pharmacology, medical uses of cannabis in Canada, and cannabis: causes for concern

Restricted Drugs: Performance-Enhancing Drugs: Performance-enhancing drugs, historical use of drugs in athletics, stimulants as performance enhancers steroids, other hormonal manipulations

Preventing Substance Abuse: Preventing substance abuse, types of prevention, prevention programs in schools, how much do you know about dare?, prevention in first nations and Inuit communities, what should we be doing?, and programs that target peers, parents, and the community
Treating Substance Abuse and Dependence: The social and economic costs of alcohol and other drugs in Canada, pharmacotherapy (medication treatments), behavioural and psychosocial treatments, substance abuse in Canada: concurrent disorders, treatment and rehabilitation: the big picture in Canada, Is treatment effective? the 12 steps of alcoholics anonymous, and a systems approach to substance use in Canada

  • Program: Community Support Services Programs

  • Course Aim: Students will gain comprehensive knowledge in the fundamental physiologic and anatomic aspects of the Medical Office Assistant (MOA) industry.

  • Of interest to: This course is of interest to individuals actively pursuing MOA training as part of their life-long career journey. It is designed to provide the opportunity for students to develop the skills required to offer administrative support within the medical industry.

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