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The Epidemiology of Substance Use and Related Problems


Summer Inst. term
Mental Health
1 credits
Academic Year:
2021 - 2022
Instruction Method:
Auditors Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor:
Johannes Thrul
Frequency Schedule:
One Year Only

- Substance use disorders are key contributor to death and disease in the US and worldwide.

- Are you curious about learning key concepts of substance use disorders, including tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, opioids, and other drugs?

- What makes someone who is using substances develop a substance use disorder and how can you diagnose it?

- How are substance use disorders and other mental disorders interrelated?

- What is the policy environment in the US related to substances and how does it impact substance use?

- If you are interested in these or similar questions, this summer institute is for you!

Presents an overview of the epidemiology of substance use and substance use disorders within a public health framework. Initially we review how drugs are classified and regulated and then we examine trends in estimates of prevalence of use and use disorders. Covers the most common drugs of abuse, including alcohol, tobacco/nicotine, cannabis, opioids, and cocaine. Included are lectures from those with expertise in specific drugs or areas of study within substance use epidemiology.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe drug policy in the US, including how substances are regulated
  2. Describe the leading substances of abuse in the US and their prevalence of use and health and social impacts
  3. Examine the overlap between substance use and mental disorders
  4. Explain key concepts in substance use epidemiology, such as tolerance, withdrawal, addictive potential, etc.
  5. Consider the role of epidemiology in informing and evaluating policy and public health interventions targeting substance use and substance use disorders
  6. Understand a variety of approaches to prevention of substance use, screening and treatment for substance use disorders, and diagnosis of substance use disorder
  7. Be a competent consumer of substance use epidemiology research
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 50% Final Paper
  • 50% Quizzes

Instructor Consent:

No consent required