Substance Abuse Among the Elderly

Registration Open

ADCARE Educational Institute and Brown University Distance Learning Program, are offering a credited, on-line course on substance abuse among the elderly.

When we think of alcohol or other drug abuse we usually think of adolescents and young adults, but awareness is growing that the elderly also suffer from abuse of alcohol and other drugs. A significant percentage of the population aged sixty-five and older suffers from a problem involving alcohol or other drug abuse. Such older substance abusers place even greater burdens on the health care system than do younger abusers, yet less attention is focused on their needs. This course will introduce the student to what is known about these problems in older adults. Topics to be addressed will include the epidemiology of substance abuse in the elderly, early onset versus late onset problems, issues in screening and assessment, treatment issues and approaches and barriers to treating the older substance abuser.


David F. Duncan, Dr. P.H. is President of Duncan & Associates, a consulting firm providing consultation on research design and data collection for behavioral and policy studies. He is also Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health at Brown University School of Medicine and a member of the core faculty of Brown’s postdoctoral program in clinical psychology, addiction studies, and psychopharmacology. His education included an undergraduate major in psychology, with minors in sociology and education at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and graduate work in criminology at Sam Houston State University in Texas. He earned the degree of Doctor of Public Health from the University of Texas at Houston with an interdisciplinary program in behavioral sciences, epidemiology, biostatistics, and program and policy evaluation. He earned a postdoctoral diploma in alcoholism early intervention and treatment effectiveness research from Brown University.

Course Objectives

  • Describe the epidemiology of alcohol and other drug abuse among older adults.
  • Name and define the three types of older adult alcoholics.
  • Discuss problems in screening for alcohol and other drug among the elderly.
  • Develop a plan for identifying older adults in need of substance abuse treatment.
  • Discuss the barriers which frequently prevent older adult substance abusers from being identified and referred for treatment.
  • Discuss problems and issues in providing treatment to older adult substance abusers.
  • Develop an appropriate treatment plan for an older adult substance abuser.

Course Requirements

This is a five-week course requirements are:

  • Required on-line reading (one hour per week)
  • Completion of pre and post test
  • Completion of weekly homework assignments (one hour per week)
  • Participation in the weekly course forum
  • Completion of an on-line course evaluation

*Please note that there are no real time events associated with this course. Lessons will be posted on the class home page on Tuesday and responses are due the following Monday. With the exception of the first weeks lesson which will be posted Monday with the responses due the following Monday. Assignments can be accessed at the participant’s convenience.

The total cost of this course is $60.00 the course payment is due by the start date of the course. A full refund is available up until the posting of the second lesson, after which there will be no refunds.


This five-week course, has been approved by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) for 10 educational credits. It is being provided by the Brown Distance Learning program, which is accredited as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider (#000151). This course meets the qualifications for 10 hours of continuing education credit for MFCC’s and/or LCSW’s as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (PCE#1917). This course is approved by the Connecticut Certification Board (CCB) for ten Category 1 continuing education for Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADC’s). The CCB is an IC&RC affiliate. The New York State OASAS does accept distance learning CEUs provided by institutions of higher learning for individuals pursuing or renewing a CASAC, CPP or CPS. Certificates will be mailed within two weeks to participants in the program for its duration who submit all required materials.

Please contact your local certification board to verify reciprocity or acceptance of Brown Distance Learning contact hours.

To participate, you must have:

  • An E-mail address and the capacity to retrieve and send E-mail;
  • Access to World Wide Web (the following programs provide WWW access: Netscape, Apple CyberDog, and Microsoft Explorer)
  • Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher is the preferred browser for Brown DLP online courses
  • The ability to navigate the World Wide Web
  • A basic understanding of how to use a computer and send and receive email


REGISTRATION DEADLINE: The course start date or when the course limit is reached.

To register for this course please log into your account or create your account then log into your account and click the Enroll in a New Course link at the bottom of your account page. On the Enrollment page select the course you wish to register for using the pull down menu and click on the enroll button. Having enrolled into the course you will be prompted for payment. You may make your payment online or by regular mail. To view payment information please use the payment policies.

For a list of current Brown University Distance Learning courses, please go to the following site: Please Bookmark this site for future references. Course announcements will be made via the Brown University Online Course Announcement Listserve 6-8 weeks prior to the start of each course. If you would like to be subscribed to this list, please contact Monte Bryant, Program Administrator, at Monte Bryant, or (401) 863-6606.

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