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HSCD 620 Psychopharmacology

This course provides a broad understanding of psychopharmacology related to substance use and co-occurring disorders. Following a review of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and synaptic and behavioral mechanisms of addictive drugs, the course focuses on medications used to treat substance use and psychiatric disorders. Students distinguish among the major classes of psychotherapeutic and anti-addiction medications, and evaluate the evidence base for clinical effectiveness of psychiatric medications for co-occurring disorders and medication-assisted treatments for substance use disorders. Competence Statement Students demonstrate knowledge of the actions of addictive drugs and psychiatric and anti-addiction medications on the brain and behavior, and demonstrate application of this knowledge as would be expected in clinical settings.


3 Graduate credits

Effective August 20, 2016 to present

Learning outcomes


  • Demonstrate understanding of basic concepts in neuroanatomy and neurotransmission at a level appropriate for advanced non-scientist clinicians.
  • Distinguish among addictive drugs and psychiatric and anti-addiction medications regarding their pharmacological classifications, synaptic sites of action and effects on behavior.
  • Critique the evidence base for the utility of psychiatric and anti-addiction medications, including a review of the approval process and industry research practices.
  • Educate clients and families about addictive drugs as part of countering misinformation and shame and fostering common understanding.
  • Educate clients and families about psychiatric and anti-addiction medications in a manner that supports informed client choice and adherence to treatment.
  • Educate policymakers about addictive drugs, psychiatric medications and anti-addiction medications in the service of stigma reduction and advocacy.
  • Evaluate clients for admission and/or referral to appropriate services, include detoxification, psychiatric and medication-assisted treatment services.

Spring 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
50 Psychopharmacology Libby, Therissa A Books for HSCD-620-50 Spring 2024 Course details for HSCD-620-50 Spring 2024