This course will provide an introduction to biological, psychological, sociocultural, and international aspects of drug use and substance use disorders, or addiction. Topics will include the nature and neurobiology of addiction, physiological effects of drugs of abuse in the brain and body, theories of addiction, and the role of drugs of abuse in different cultures and countries. We will examine how sociocultural and environmental factors, such as gender, social stigma, and opportunities in the environment, interact with biological factors, such as sex, genetics, and age, to influence who uses drugs and suffers from addictive disorders. Emphasis will be placed on societal contributors and responses to drug use and addiction, how these views vary between different countries around the world, such as the United States, Portugal, and Brazil, and how these views influence public policy, and the prevention, intervention, and treatment of drug use and addiction. Although the focus is on illicit drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, the use of alcohol and nicotine/tobacco will also be discussed.
Field WorkCountry: Portugal
Date: September 26, 2019
Before the field class, students will learn about Portugal’s recent move to decriminalize drug use and the implications of these policies on rates of use and addiction, public health, and modes of treatments in Portugal. Students will also prepare a list of potential questions that may be used during the field class to help guide discussions with public health officials and outreach workers. The field class will begin with a visit a government office in Lisbon where students will meet with public health officials for a briefing and Q&A session on decriminalization of drug use and its impact on public health, drug use and addiction in Portugal. Next students will take a walking tour of Lisbon which will include a stop for lunch and will end at a Mobile van methadone treatment site. Once at this mobile treatment site, students will have the opportunity to interact with outreach workers, and if possible and appropriate, with drug users participating in the outreach program. Learning Objectives:
- Learn how drug policy impacts drug use, addiction, and treatment in Portugal.
- Learn about how addiction public health officials and service providers operate in Portugal and the main types of treatments provided.
- Observe first-hand how outreach workers interact with drug users in a community outreach setting.
- If possible and appropriate, interact with patients and observe first-hand how individuals with substance use disorder in Portugal live – activities they engage in, problems they encounter, and societal expectations of them.
- Connect theories of drug policy and addiction to real world situations.