Substance Abuse

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PSY 238

       Course Name: Substance Abuse

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Recommended: PSY 101

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course examines historical, societal, psychological, behavioral and familial perspectives of substance abuse. Content includes current theories on current chemical use; the etiology and assessment of dependence; characteristic addicted behavior; impact of alcoholism and drug addiction on family and society; involvement with special populations; historical and current treatment; and the recovery process; practical knowledge of applicable state and federal laws, rules, and regulations and code of ethics.

IV.   Learning Objectives

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

  1. identify and explain the various theories or models of addiction.
  2. list the stigmas and misconceptions associated with addiction.
  3. list the various types of psychoactive substances currently associated with addiction.
  4. identify the stages of alcoholism/addiction.
  5. demonstrate knowledge of the assessment process and guides for diagnosis.
  6. identify behavior associated with chemical addiction.
  7. explain the psycho-social impact of addictive behavior on the individual, family and society.
  8. differentiate between use, abuse and addiction.
  9. identify and describe different treatment models.
  10. identify factors in successful treatment.
  11. demonstrate a working knowledge of techniques involved in treatment to include:  observation, confrontations, feedback, education, self-disclosure, motivation, therapeutic relationships, group, individual and family functions, intervention techniques.
  12. identify basic concepts of the self-help programs.
  13. be familiar with differences in attitude and behavior patterns of special populations in order to provide meaningful quality care.
  14. evaluate for suicidal behavior and develop tools for prevention/intervention.
  15. explain the inter-relationship of alcohol and drug abuse and psychiatric illnesses.
  16. describe the process of relapse.
  17. describe the process of recovery.
  18. gain a practical knowledge of applicable state and federal laws and state code department rules and regulations.
  19. know and understand the requirements of certification board code of ethics and be able to apply this code to the core functions.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. The History of Alcohol and Drugs as a Social/Legal Reality
    1. Alcohol/drug use in an historical perspective
    2. Current problem - endemic
    3. Models of addiction
  2. Poly-Substance and Alcohol Abuse
    1. Drugs of abuse - classifications/actions
    2. Societal attitude/legalities
    3. Definitions of addictions
    4. Withdrawal
  3. Etiology of Addiction
    1. Genetic pre-disposition
    2. Psychological factors
    3. Environmental/societal factors
    4. Poly-substance abuse; cross addiction
  4. Behavioral Consequences - Family
    1. Denial
    2. Family response
    3. The family system
    4. Co-dependency
    5. Children of chemically addicted individuals
  5. Evaluation and Treatment
    1. Assessment and evaluation tools and techniques
    2. Treatment models
    3. Obstacles in treatment and recovery
  6. Treatment Approaches
    1. Individual counseling
    2. Groups
    3. Family
    4. Self-help programs
    5. Spiritual element
  7. Special Populations In Treatment and Society
    1. Adolescents
    2. Women
    3. Ethnic populations
    4. Homosexuality - MV considerations
  8. The Recovery Process

VII.  Methods of Instruction

The class will focus on lectures, discussion, audio-visual materials and role-plays.  Further experiential process will include assessment, problem solving, intervention techniques and methods of charting.  Students will be encouraged to participate in outside volunteer helping activities.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Each instructor will determine specifics insofar as reading, writing and other assignments.  Students will be required to write for the class the equivalent of 12-15 typed pages of material that will be graded.  This writing may take the form of a research or term paper, summaries of journal articles, and/or a series of shorter, analytical papers.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Kinney, Jean (2012).  Loosening the Grip: A Handbook of Alcohol Information.  (10th ed.).  Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Grades will be based on class participation, written assignments, exams, classroom role-plays and other experiential exercises. Examinations will be given to determine competency in required skills.

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Attendance
  2. Class policy on make-up exams, late assignments, etc.
  3. Important dates

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.