The Learning Catalog

Substance Use Among Older Adults

Online Courses


This course will discuss the use of alcohol, and drugs, including illicit, prescription, and over-the-counter medications. You will explore the most effective ways to engage older adults in discussions about their use of alcohol and drugs and provide referral resources. You will also be able to explore your own attitudes about substance use in this population and understand more clearly the barriers to effective identification and treatment.

Note: This course is also accredited by Boston University School of Medicine Continuing Medical Education/Continuing Nursing Education to provide 4 CNE and CME credit hours.  It can also be taken as part of our Behavioral Health in Aging Certificate which provides 19 CNE and CME credit hours.

*You may register for this course individually or as part of a certificate program.

Learner Feedback:

“Thanks for his class. I am an RN and was working in a small hospital in various areas. I was always very busy. Now working for an area on aging and I don’t really discuss alcohol abuse. I will now and be more mindful of any substance use with my clients. Thank you.”


  • Discuss the prevalence of substance use among older adults.
  • Identify the impact of substance use on health.
  • Engage in a collaborative process of addressing substance use with older adults.
  • Discuss treatment resources available to older adults.
  • Outline the roles that workers can play in promoting recovery.
  • Illustrate the impact of culture on substance use among older adults.

Course Outline

  • Pre-course Competency Assessment
  • Section I: Course Overview
  • Section II: Background and Scope
  • Section III: Health Impact of Substance Use
  • Section IV: Understanding Substance Use Disorders
  • Section V: Engagement, Screening and Assessment
  • Section VI: Intervention and Treatment
  • Section VII: Your Role
  • Section VII: Diversity and Multicultural Considerations
  • Section IX: Course Summary and Resources
  • Course Quiz
  • Post-course Competency Evaluation
  • Certificate of Completion

Course Policies

For information about refunds, cancellations, accommodations and to contact us please visit the policies page.

Accessibility Information

All online courses are self-paced and are designed as reading-based and include interactive multimedia components including simulations, video, audio, and discussion boards.

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