The Opioid Crisis: Addiction, Treatment, Impact

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Course DatesMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNRegistration
July 08, 2019 - July 19, 20197/08 - 7/19M-F 12:15P-3:05POpenRyan Carpenter
Lidia Meshesha

Course Description

Why are so many people becoming addicted to opioids? How can we help individuals with opioid addiction? How do we, as a country, overcome the crisis? Opioid misuse is a significant public health threat, and over 130 people die every day from opioid-related overdose. Thirty-five states are currently suing “Big Pharma” over their role in opioid over-prescription and the opioid crisis. However, at the same time, opioids remain frequently prescribed for pain, and millions of people take them on doctor’s orders. This course will critically examine opioid use in America to better understand why individuals use drugs and alcohol.

This course will provide an overview of the past, present, and future of the opioid crisis. We will also explore substance use and addiction more generally. We will examine how addiction develops and progresses, its impact on individuals, loved ones, and society, and treatment for and recovery from addiction. By examining the crisis from multiple perspectives (psychological, sociological, historical, biological), students will leave this course with a better understanding of the opioid crisis and why individuals use substances. Students will have the chance to think critically about the opioid crisis and addiction. They will also learn the process of conducting scientific research and generate their own research proposal for addressing the opioid crisis and substance use.

Dr. Carpenter and Dr. Meshesha are substance use researchers with experience with the opioid crisis. They are also clinical psychologists who have worked with numerous patients dealing with substance use problems. They will bring to the course a balanced perspective that focuses on how we can best help individuals struggling with addiction.

During this course, students will:

1. Develop an understanding of the opioid crisis and its progression over time from psychological, sociological, historical, and biological perspectives.

2. Gain knowledge on how the opioid crisis has affected different populations and age groups in the U.S.

3. Understand evidence-based treatments and prevention efforts for opioid and other substance use disorders.

4. Build an understanding of substance use disorder and addiction and how substance use affects society and individuals.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course.


Course Information

  • Course Code: CEPC0903
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2019.

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