Module 1: Introduction

Module 1 readings introduce major concepts relevant to understanding the theories that explain substance use, substance misuse, and substance use disorders. First, the concept of “psychoactive substances” is defined. Second, general epidemiological data and trends in substance misuse and substance use disorders are presented and explained. Finally, the importance of attending to the kind of language used in discussing substance misuse, individuals engaged in substance misuse, and individuals experiencing substance use disorders is explored. The information presented in these reading materials sets the stage for what is presented throughout the remainder of the course.

Reading Objectives

After engaging with these reading materials and learning resources, you should be able to:

  • Explain what “psychoactive” substances means
  • Describe the scope and impact of substance use as a national and global problem (epidemiology)
  • Describe historical trends in responses to substance use/misuse in the U.S.
  • Identify and resolve where stigmatizing language about substance use and addiction occurs.


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Theories and Biological Basis of Substance Misuse, Part 1 Copyright © by Dr. Audrey Begun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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