Course Descriptions

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

Neuroscience

ADPP 5015-01 Fundamentals of Neurobiology  (2 credits)
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.


Psychiatry

ADPP 6001-01 Foundations of Addiction I (Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment)   (1.5 credits)
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 6002-01 Foundations of Addiction II (Comorbidities, Recovery Supports)   (1.5 credits)
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

ADPP 6010-01 Data Analysis and Statistics in Drug Policy I (1.5 credits)
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 6025-01 Addiction and Mental Health Law and Policy  (2 credits)
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.

ADPP 6011-10 Data Analysis and Statistics in Drug Policy II (1.5 credits each)
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 6030-01 Health Care Financing   (2 credits)
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 6021-10 Comparative Approaches to Addiction Policy   (2 credits)
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 7003-10 Mentored Capstone (2 credits)
The capstone assignment required of all MAPP students is developed through the integrative seminar and will take place in May and June. Students work closely with a faculty advisor to design and complete their capstone projects allowing them to apply their MAPP skills. The final written assignment may take a variety of forms, including research papers or policy-focused white papers.


Epidemiology

ADPP 6040-01 Social Epidemiology & Addiction (3 credits)
Students will apply social epidemiologic concepts to addiction, introduced through weekly lectures and readings, and the use of discussions and case studies. This course will prepare students to understand and appreciate the contribution of social factors to addiction etiology, course and the distribution in populations.


Seminars and Capstone

ADPP 7001 Integrative Seminar-01 (3 credits)
In the fall and spring semesters, students will meet in a weekly seminar taught by the program director. The goal of the course is to allow students to integrate academic coursework with real-world experience by introducing them to individuals working in various aspects of addiction policy across the continuum of care (social determinants of health, treatment, and recovery), as well as in the criminal justice and harm reduction settings.

The curriculum will track with other course work, including the integration of science into policy, and will introduce students to other aspects not otherwise covered; at least one third of the course will involve engagement with scientific material and quantitative analysis. Class discussions will be combined with guest speakers and observational site visits in the DC area to addiction treatment and recovery facilities, as well as harm reduction and criminal justice venues.

ADPP 7003 Mentored Capstone Seminar (2 or 3 credits)
The capstone assignment required of all ADPP students is developed through the integrative seminar and will take place in May and June. Students work closely with a faculty advisor to design and complete their capstone projects allowing them to apply their ADPP skills. The final written assignment may take a variety of forms, including research papers or policy-focused white papers.


Electives

Students select an elective that contributes to their professional and academic goals. There are 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.