Descriptor Details

  • Drugs, Health, and Society (Archived - for reference only)
  • Not Identified
  • 103
  • Not Identified
  • Not Identified
  • 3.0
  • Not Identified
  • Uploaded: 10/12/2017 04:44:12 PM PDT

This course provides an overview of the epidemiology and toxicology of substance abuse and its relevance to personal and public health. Students will be introduced to the concept of substance abuse and dependence, the definition of licit and illicit drugs, and the pharmacologic, neurologic and physiologic effects of selected substances on the human brain. Political, social and economic factors involved in the supply and demand for drugs will be discussed. Epidemiologic data on the prevalence, incidence, and trends of smoking, alcohol, prescription and other drug dependencies in the U.S. will be covered, as well as risk factors associated with the use and abuse of these substances. Current options for recovery and a survey of local resources will be reviewed.



English, one level below transfer (i.e., eligibility for English composition (C-ID ENGL 100) and reading a course with an exiting skill of ability to read a college level text.

  1. Introduction to Drugs and Society
  2. Definitions of Drug Use, Misuse and Abuse
  3. Drug Use, Regulation, and the Law
  4. Homeostatic Systems and Drugs
  5. How and Why Drugs Work
  6. CNS Depressants
    1. Sedative-Hypnotics
    2. Alcohol: pharmacological effects and behavioral perspective
    3. Narcotics (opioids)
    4. Marijuana
  7. Stimulants
    1. Tobacco
  8. Hallucinogens (Psychedelics)
  9. Inhalants
  10. Over the Counter (OTC), Prescriptions and Herbal Drugs
  11. Drug Use Within Major Sub-Cultures
  12. Social Issues Surrounding Drug Use, Abuse, Prevention and Laws
  13. Drug Abuse Prevention
  14. Treating Drug Dependence
  15. Federal Agencies Focused on Drug Abuse Prevention


At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Distinguish the difference between drug use, misuse and abuse.
  2. Describe the psychotherapeutic benefits (if any) and harmful effects of common substances of abuse, and identify the populations most at risk of using these substances.
  3. Identify the factors associated with the use of specific substances of abuse, including populations at most risk based on age, sex, education, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race and age at first initiation.
  4. Apply basic knowledge of drug laws to evaluate historical legal cases and situations related to substance abuse.
  5. Describe the neurological and physiological responses to various types of drugs.
  6. Describe the neurological and physiological short and long term consequences of substance use and abuse.
  7. Analyze the current public health perspective on the issue of substance abuse, including broad political, social and economic factors related to substance abuse.
  8. Interpret reliable public data sources to find statistical and epidemiologic data on incidence, prevalence, and trends in drug, tobacco and alcohol use.
  9. Analyze arguments on both sides of a selected controversial issue, such as drug testing in the work place or legalization of marijuana.

May include:

Written Assignments

Hanson, et. al., Drugs and Society

Abadinsky, Drug Use and Abuse

Goldberg,  Drugs Across the Spectrum

  • No
  • Not Identified

  • Not Identified

  • None

  • In 2023 the Public Health Science FDRG revised the TMC and descriptors for their discipline. The revised descriptors are now listed under Public Health on the C-ID website.

  • Not Identified