Course Descriptions

Students in the M.S. in Addiction Policy & Practice (ADPP) program take a prescribed course of study. This includes the following subject areas: neuroscience, psychiatry, policy, epidemiology, public health, and an elective course.

Neuroscience: students take two neuroscience courses


ADPP 515-01   Foundations of Neurobiology  (2 credits, Fall semester)
This is a 2-credit course, providing students with the scientific foundation for understanding the neuroscience of addiction. It will focus, inter alia, on basic neuroanatomy, the cell biology of the central nervous system, neuroplasticity, and basic neuropharmacology.

ADPP-xxx  Addiction and Mental Health Law and Policy  (2 credits, Spring semester)
​This course will examine the evolution of legal and policy responses to addiction, mental health, and related social issues. Legal frameworks, policy levers, and political landscapes that impact system reform will be examined. The first part of the course will introduce students to key principles in addiction and mental health law with a focus on the tension between the role and power of government and individual rights and liberties. The second part of the course will highlight key themes in the evolution of addiction and mental health policy. We will end by identifying policy levers and practical tools for reform.


Psychiatry: students take two courses introducing students to the psychiatric aspects of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of addiction.

ADPP 600-01   Foundations of Addiction I (Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment)   (1.5 credits, Fall semester) 
This course will provide an overview of the health issues involved in addiction, including course instruction on: the interactions among developmental, environmental and genetic factors leading to addiction; effective prevention efforts; diagnosis of substance use disorders; and effective treatments of addiction (including medications and other modalities). Coursework will also identify topics where additional research is needed.  

ADPP-602-01   Foundations of Addiction II (Comorbidities, Recovery Supports)   (1.5 credits, Spring semester)
This course will provide an overview of the overlap of substance use and disorders with other health conditions, including course instruction on: overlap among substance use and substance use disorders; relationship of other mental illnesses with substance use disorders; overlap of substance use disorders with general health conditions; treatment and recovery implications of this comorbidity, and life-course perspectives on addiction outcomes. Coursework will also identify topics where additional research is needed and the evolving understanding of the chronic, relapsing nature of addictive disorders.


Policy: students take four policy courses including:


ADPP 501-01   U.S. Addiction Policy (2 credits, first Summer)
A foundational course providing an overview of U.S. policies on addiction, including federal and state legislative approaches, implications of supply reduction efforts, international treaty obligations, and the future of drug and alcohol policy.

ADPP 500-01 Data Analysis and Statistics in Drug Policy I (1.5 credits, first Summer)
This course will review the primary data sets used in to track substance use trends in the U.S. and inform US drug and alcohol policy (e.g., National Survey on Drug Use and Health, National Vital Statistics System, Monitoring the Future.), the use and limitations of these data sets, state data collection efforts, and other public health/safety data that can be used when formulating drug and alcohol policy. Data sets on other forms of addiction, i.e., gambling, will also be considered. In addition, students will be introduced to the basics of statistics and policy analysis and will learn the fundamentals of critically reviewing drug policy-related research.

ADPP 510 Data Analysis and Statistics in Drug Policy II (1.5 credits each, second Summer)
This course will review the primary data sets used in to track substance use trends in the U.S. and inform US drug and alcohol policy (e.g., National Survey on Drug Use and Health, National Vital Statistics System, Monitoring the Future.), the use and limitations of these data sets, state data collection efforts, and other public health/safety data that can be used when formulating drug and alcohol policy. Data sets on other forms of addiction, i.e., gambling, will also be considered. In addition, students will be introduced to the basics of statistics and policy analysis and will learn the fundamentals of critically reviewing drug policy-related research.

ADPP 502-01   Health Care Financing   (2 credits, first Summer)
A foundational course providing an overview of financing for behavioral health services in the United States.  The primary focus of the course will be public funds through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) with some examination of the private insurance system. Parity is an important part of any funding discussion and will be considered as we delve into the payment for care.

ADPP-511   Comparative Approaches to Addiction Policy   (2 credits, second Summer)
This course provides an overview of international approaches to alcohol, drug and other addictions policy, to include liberalized policies in Western European countries, as well as countries that employ punitive responses to drug use. The influence international treaties have on drug policies across the globe will also be explored.

ADPP-512 Mentored Capstone (2 credits, second Summer)


Epidemiology


Students take one course in Epidemiology. Students will enroll in existing courses offered by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (e.g., EPID-501 Epidemiology I: Principles of Epidemiology, or EPID-507 Introduction to Social and Behavioral Health and Disparities Research), as approved by the Director.


Electives


Students select an elective that contributes to their professional and academic goals. There several courses in analytics, health advocacy, and public policy offered by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and students can also participate in select courses offered by the McCourt School of Public Policy and the Georgetown University Law Center. Electives must be approved by the Director.