Week 7

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

For week 7, I attended the Universal Treating Curriculum for Substance Use Disorders (UTC) course. The course is through the Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Programme (DAP).

On Monday, we talked about the goals for the course. This is a basic course about shifting views about addiction. The course needs to be in simple language and is culturally appropriated to increase knowledge about substance use disorders (SUD). We discussed about how addiction is like any other chronic disease and how there should be any social stigma for anyone with SUD. The importance of recovery and ongoing monitoring and support to improve health, wellness, and quality of life was also emphasized during the sessions.

On Tuesday, we started talking about factors affecting treatment outcomes and the stages of change. We examined how individual characteristics, severity of problems, services provided, and social and environment conditions affect treatment outcomes for patients with SUD. We used logic model (Transtheoretical Model) to guide the planning process. We came up with strategies to help the client with substance use disorders in each stage. For example, for the preparation stage, the health educator will sit down with the client to come up with a plan for the client to get ready for action.

On Wednesday, we discussed about evidence-based practices for treatment intervention for individuals with SUDs. We discussed how important evidence-based is necessary for effective treatment. We did a case study where we came up with a plan to help the family members involved with individuals with SUDs. We discovered that in order to help the family, the families need to address that they want the help. Family involvement is important because family is where individuals spend most of their life. Family is a big support system. While planning the intervention, we came up with psycho education where health educator would give information about addiction, how treatment works and how the family could understand and help individuals in the treatment process. We addressed factors that would affect implementation. We identified factors such as family education level and resources that could hinder implementation.

Thursday, another classmate and I were volunteers for the day. We kept track of time and gave inputs on what the teacher needed to do more or differently to improve the class. We also had to present a recap of concepts the next day. We discussed about many mental disorders such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and personality disorders. We discovered that there was no single identifiable cause to mental disorders, but contributing biological, environmental and psychological factors. I was able to examine relationships among behavioral, environmental, and genetics factors that enhance or compromise health.

Friday, I presented with my partner about concepts we learned on Thursday. We had a small ice breaker at the beginning to get everyone engaged. When I was making the power point, I had to consider the time limit and culturally appropriate examples.

Over the week of training, I felt empowered to advocate for public health professions. I love seeing professionals ranging from family doctors and other social workers come together to learn about substance use disorder and public health matters. They took their time out to attend the course to better serve their community and share their experiences to others.