Curriculum Guideline

Community Practice: Addictions

Effective Date:
Course Code
CFCS 1260
Community Practice: Addictions
Child, Family & Community Studies
Applied Community Studies
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
Flexible delivery ranging over 9 to 15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
60 hours: Lecture/Practice
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction


Course Description
This course will focus on the development of skills and versatility for understanding and working with people who have addictions. Students will explore and apply assessment and intervention strategies. The psychological, familial, and social impact of addiction will be discussed. Theories for understanding addictive and co-dependent behaviour will be presented for examination and application to practice.
Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  1. Studies of addiction abound with opinion and diverse theory. Making sense of the complex and often confusing and controversial addictions field requires integrating knowledge of theoretical foundations with one’s own experiences, values, and beliefs.
  2. Although addiction is typically seen as problematic, it can also be viewed from a functional (albeit maladaptive) perspective, as self-medicative and/or symptomatic of unmet needs. Competent helping requires understanding the whole human being as opposed to treating the addiction, focussing on what the addictive behaviour is saying about the person as well as what it is doing to him/her.
  3. Addiction affects not only the mind, body, and spirit of the individual, but also the health of families, the workplace, other related social systems, and society as a whole - the ecological or systems perspective.
  4. Addiction recovery is a choice, involving education (knowing) and self-responsibility (doing),and includes psychological well-being (beliefs, attitudes), physical health (adoption of a healthy lifestyle), family/systems dynamics, and spirituality.
  5. Increasingly, people seeking social and health service do not fit into discrete diagnostic categories/systems of treatment, support, and care. An awareness of the interconnectedness addiction with other personal/societal ills demands a creative, collaborative, human response by professional care-givers.
    • alcohol/drug abuse is associated with a wide range of health-related concerns/risks (e.g., sexually-transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, fetal alcohol syndrome, organic dysfunction, mental health, impaired driving).
    • chemical dependency and other addictions are both the cause and the result of certain statuses (e.g., homelessness, poverty, unemployment, powerlessness, family breakdown, mental health).
  6. Societal sub-groups (e.g., women, youth, the elderly, natives, athletes, ethnic groups) differ in both addiction causality and recovery processes.
  7. Self-awareness regarding one’s personal values and needs, the influence of one’s past experiences, and respect for the limits of one’s knowledge/ability and professional role, are essential prerequisites for skilled helping in the addictions field.
  8. Problems of addiction are pervasive in our society, and are often the underlying cause of many other reasons people are in contact with a wide range of social services.  Awareness of signs and symptoms, screening/assessment strategies, and a practical working knowledge of the local Alcohol and Drug Programs system of care, is necessary for identifying concerns and making effective referrals
  9. Content knowledge of basic drug concepts, terminology, myths, prevention, 12-step/self-help programs, and addiction/recovery processes is a necessary foundation for working in the social services.
  10. Conceptual knowledge of addiction is necessary but insufficient for competent practice.Technical proficiency must be balanced with a caring attitude, empathy, sensitivity,  acceptance of a wide range of behaviours and lifestyles, and respect for the rights of others, including their right to self-determination.
  11. The term “addiction” relates not only to the field of chemical dependency, but also to a wide range of behaviours and processes (e.g., gambling, eating, working, relationships).
  12. Addiction is a powerfully destructive but very treatable condition. The helping role is intense and persona frustrating and rewarding.
Learning Outcomes

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

Community Resources

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of alcohol and drug community resources and agency network of services
  2. Demonstrate understanding of the use of mutual aid groups such as 12 Step programs to meet the needs of clients
  3. Identify strengths, limitations, and gaps in addiction services

Knowledge of Addictions/Practice Skills

  1. Describe the psychological, social, and economic impact of addictive behaviour on individuals, families and society
  2. Describe the effect of parental substance abuse and its connection to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Fetal Alcohol Effects, and Post-natal Withdrawal Syndrome
  3. Recognize the adaptive function of drug use and other addictive behaviour
  4. Describe factors that contribute to addiction
  5. Explain current models of addiction and treatment including practical drug concepts and terminologies
  6. Demonstrate basic understanding of the differences between drug use and misuse from a biopsychosocial perspective
  7. Describe the addiction/recovery process and recognize stages of change
  8. Recognize importance of motivation in treatment planning, including client ambivalence towards abstinence
  9. Demonstrate understanding of a variety of intervention and helping approaches including:
    • prevention strategies
    • the use of assessment and screening tools to develop intervention plans and standardized tests
    • withdrawal and detoxification management including issues of safety
    • cognitive behavioural counseling and motivation interviewing harm reduction
    • promotion of client knowledge of relevant health issues including HIV/AID sexually transmitted diseases, and tuberculosis and describe cultural diversity in the addictions process
    • case management
  10. Recognize the diversity of subgroup populations (women, youth, seniors, natives, dual diagnosis clients, etc.)
  11. Describe strategies for working with resistance and denial including mandated clients
  12. Demonstrate an understanding of past and present social attitudes towards people with addictions and an ability to challenge myths
  13. Understand co-occurring psychiatric and substance disorders
  14. Demonstrate knowledge of other addictive disorders, e.g., gambling, eating, shopping, and dependent relationships

Professional Skills

  1. Describe ethical behaviour in dealing with clients and addictions groups and agencies
  2. Identify own historical learning, experiences, values, and beliefs about addictions
  3. Identify and manage biases and assumptions in relating to clients with addictive behaviour
  4. Identify wellness strategies for those working in the addictions field
  5. Explore current legal and ethical dilemmas regarding issues such as compulsory treatment and legalization of drugs
  6. Demonstrate understanding of the importance of an interdisciplinary team approach to the management of addiction /li>
Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations.

  1. Examinations
  2. Observation assignments
  3. Research papers
  4. Participation
  5. Attendance>
Textbook Materials