Course Description


Substance Abuse is a widespread issue within our society affecting individuals, families and the community at large. The course will provide students with a theoretical and skills foundation for working with individuals and families. Topics covered will include:

  • Models of substance abuse;
  • DSM 5 approach to substance abuse;
  • The role of co-morbid mental health problems;
  • The ways in which culture and intergenerational trauma impact substance abuse;
  • Harm Reduction, Recovery and relapse models;
  • Intervention models;
  • Public and Social Policies on substance abuse; and
  • Substance abuse policy and its implication for intervention.

Learning objectives:

  • To understand the multiple models of substance abuse and how they can be helpful in working with clients and building case plans;
  • To develop a working knowledge of the various intervention methods and how they can be applied with varying clients;
  • To become aware of alternative intervention models; and
  • To develop an understanding of the ethics of working with the substance abuse population.


Peter W. Choate, MSW, RCSW, PhD is a clinical social worker. He is Social Work Professor at Mount Royal University. He has been qualified as an expert witness in the Provincial Court of Alberta, Family and Youth Divisions and the Court of Queen’s Bench. His areas of expertise are Substance Abuse, Family Violence, Child Intervention and Parenting Capacity. He has been approved as a clinical supervisor by the Alberta College of Social Workers and is a member of the College’s Clinical Registry.


The participants will be issued a Certificate of Participation at the end of the course. The course may be used towards ACSW Continuing Competency Activity Category A. credits.

In order to receive the Certificate, the participants need to:

  • Devote about 5 hours each week to the course;
  • Read the posted materials provided online as well as sections of the required text;
  • Participate in blackboard discussions—starting your own topics as well responding to other participants.

Please note that your participation will be assessed in order to receive the full credits. No partial credits are available.



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