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Continuum of Substance Use

Course Code: CFCS 1260
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Department: Child, Family & Community Studies
Credits: 3.0
Semester: Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: Winter
course overview

In this course, students will explore various theoretical perspectives of substance use and apply a holistic, integrated approach to understanding processes of harm reduction. Students will examine their own conceptualizations of addiction and explore the role of youth workers in supporting positive growth directly and through appropriate referrals to the continuum of addiction services.

Course Content

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

  • An awareness of the interconnection of addiction with other risk factors (including homelessness, poverty, mental health, criminal justice involvement, physical health, and family and community connection) results in a creative, collaborative, and human response by practitioners. 
  • Making sense of complex and contradictory information within the field of addictions requires integrating knowledge of theoretical foundations with one’s own experiences, values, and beliefs. 
  • Understanding substance use involves holistic examination of individuals within their social contexts, including biological, psychological, social, and spiritual risk and protective factors. 
  • Addressing substance use concerns involves recognizing the signs of substance use, utilizing the principles of motivational interviewing, and being aware of the continuum of care for persons using substances to refer to appropriate services.    
  • Addiction is a social construct and although the term is widely used, there is a lack of agreement in how addiction is defined, what leads to addiction, how addiction is maintained, and the options for treating addiction.
  • Harm reduction approaches to substance use promote autonomy, self-determination, and human dignity.

Methods of Instruction

  • Lecture
  • Demonstration
  • Group discussion and exercises
  • Student presentations
  • Blackboard

Means of Assessment

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

Typical means of evaluation will include a combination of:

  • Written assignments
  • Journals
  • Class presentations
  • Examinations
  • Class participation

This is a graded course.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Compare and contrast various theoretical perspectives on substance use and apply a holistic, integrated approach to understanding processes of harm reduction.   
  2. Illustrate their own learning, experiences, values, and beliefs about substance use and identify how to manage their preconceptions and build rapport with the people they serve. 
  3. Explain the process of intentional change and explain how a skilled youth worker would support this process. 
  4. Describe the continuum of care for persons using substances and knowledge of available local resources existing along the continuum.

course prerequisites


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.