Drugs & Alcohol in Schools:

Understanding Substance Use & Abuse


Instructor Name:               Dr. Michael Sedler

Phone:                              509-891-7219

Office Hours:                    8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday - Friday

Email:                               michaels@virtualeduc.com

Address:                            Virtual Education Software

                                         16201 E Indiana Ave, Suite 1450

                                         Spokane, WA 99216

Technical Support:            support@virtualeduc.com



Welcome to Drugs & Alcohol in Schools, an interactive computer-based instruction course, designed to give you a more comprehensive understanding of alcohol, drugs, and their influences in your classroom. Drugs & Alcohol in Schools provides a contextual framework for understanding what students may be experiencing through their own substance use or the impact of substance use around them.  The course provides a basic historical perspective of substance use along with descriptions of biological, psychological, and social factors that comprise the disease of addiction.  This program will help you better understand a multitude of complex dynamics that contribute to this biological and social phenomenon.


This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer.  Technical support information can be found in the Help section of your course.


Course Materials (Online)

Title:                Drugs & Alcohol in Schools: Understanding Substance Use & Abuse

Instructor:        Dr. Michael Sedler

Publisher:         Virtual Education Software, inc. 2001, Revised 2008, Revised 2010, Revised 2013


Academic Integrity Statement

The structure and format of most distance-learning courses presume a high level of personal and academic integrity in completion and submission of coursework. Individuals enrolled in a distance-learning course are expected to adhere to the following standards of academic conduct.


Academic Work

Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed in part or in whole to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.


Aiding Honesty in Others

 The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge these materials or information will be used improperly.





Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.


Level of Application

This course is designed to be an informational course, with application in work or work-related settings.  The intervention strategies were designed to be used in the remediation of alcohol and drug-related behavioral problems with students, ranging in age from approximately 10 to 18 years. Some alterations may be needed if working with younger children.


Expected Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course students will be able to:

·        To understand the history of alcohol and drugs in society and their impact on current beliefs in our culture

·        To develop a basic understanding of the “biopsychosocial” nature of addiction

·        To understand the disease concept of addiction

·        To identify different drugs and their effects on the body

·        To understand the effects of substance abuse on child development and family systems

·        To develop a foundation of understanding of prevention, intervention and supports


Course Description

Addiction is defined as a “biopsychosocial” disease. Drugs & Alcohol in Schools will explore each of these three elements individually, and then, discuss their interactions and impact on the substance using person.  The information will be further processed in order to more readily translate that information into practical application in the classroom.  To establish a broader context for understanding substances and their addictive qualities, the course will begin with the “social” component of the “biopsychosocial” disease.  This provides a backdrop that looks at the history of drugs and alcohol in society and what current societal perceptions prevail. 


The second chapter of this course will address the biological and physiological basis of addiction.  Starting with general drug classifications, we will study specific drugs and their effects.  While understanding the properties of the drugs, we will further examine what happens to the basic physiology when chemicals are introduced.  Finally, after understanding physiological reactions, we will explore how use progresses into addiction and the evolution of addiction as a “disease.”


The triad is complete as we examine the psychological factors impacting the disease.  The main focus of this chapter is a brief study of child development and the impact on stages of development if the child begins using substances.  Development will be discussed also in terms of impact due to parental use of chemicals.  From these issues, we will further explore family roles and rules that emerge in the family system.


Since the course is designed to increase your understanding and awareness of drugs and addiction, the final chapter builds upon what you have learned and offers options for how to respond.  These options look at how to most effectively and appropriately manage the effects of substance use as it impacts your students and classroom.  A review of various support groups and resources that are available is included.


Student Expectations

As a student you will be expected to:

·        Complete all information chapters covering Drugs & Alcohol in Schools, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.

·        Complete all chapter examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.

·        Complete a review of any chapter on which your examination score was below 70%.

·        Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·        Complete all course journal article and essay writing assignments with the minimum word count shown for each writing assignment.

·        Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.



Chapter 1: Introduction

            Instructor Video          



            What Are We Facing?

            Common Terms

            Use, Abuse and Addiction

Chapter 2: A Journey Into the Mind

            Instructor Video


            The Disease of Addiction


            Neural System

            Neurons, Axons and Dendrites


            Quest for Pleasure

            Brain Circuits in Youth

Chapter 3: Substances & Their Effects

            Instructor Video


            Alcohol in the Body



            Inhalants & Hallucinogens



            Performance Enhancing Drugs

            Over the Counter and Prescription Drugs

Chapter 4: Wrapping It Up

      Instructor Video

            What now?

            What else can I do?




At the end of each chapter, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times. Your last score will save, not the highest score. After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access.  The average from your exam scores will be printed on your certificate.  However, this is not your final grade since your required writing assignments have not been reviewed.  Exceptionally written or poorly written required writing assignments, or violation of the academic integrity policy in the course syllabus, will affect your grade.  As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam section before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.


Writing Assignments

This course has two required writing components.  ALL ASSIGNMENTS ARE REVIEWED. Exceptionally or poorly written assignments, or violation of the academic integrity policy noted in the course syllabus, will affect your grade. Be sure to refer to the Grading Guidelines for Writing Assignments, sent as an attachment with your original course link.

It is highly recommended that you write and save all writing assignments in an external word processing program (such as Word or Notepad), and then copy and paste these into the course program so that you will have backup copies.

To save your essays:


When you select the question or article you wish to respond to, ‘Simple Text’ or ‘Text Edit’ will launch automatically. When you are finished entering your response, simply click SAVE. 

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.


1)      Essay Requirement: Critical Thinking Questions

There are four Critical Thinking Questions that you must complete. You will do research on the questions and write brief essay responses relating it to the course content (and your personal experiences, when possible).  To view the questions, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the Critical Thinking Question that you are ready to complete; this will bring up a screen where you may enter your essay.  You must write a minimum of 500 words (maximum 1,000) per essay.  You may go back at any point to edit your essays, but you must be certain to click SAVE once you have completed your edits.

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.


2)   Essay Requirement: Journal Articles

This task requires you to write a review of three peer-reviewed or scholarly journal articles, preferably written by an author with a Ph.D. (blogs and news articles are not acceptable) of your choice on a topic related to this course.  You may choose your topic by entering the Key Words (click on the Key Words button) into a search engine of your choice (Bing, Google, Yahoo, etc.).  Choose three relevant articles and write a critical summary of the information given in each article, explaining how the information relates to, supports, or refutes information given in this course. Conclude your review with your thoughts and impressions (200 words per journal article minimum, 400 words maximum). Be sure to provide the journal name, volume, date, and any other critical information to allow the instructor to access and review that article.


To write your essays, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the Journal Article that you would like to complete; this will bring up a screen where you can write your review. When you are ready to stop, click SAVE.  You may go back at any point to edit your essays, but you must be certain to click SAVE once you are done with your edits. For more information on the features of this assignment, please consult the HELP menu.

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.


Instructor Description

Dr. Michael Sedler has presented seminars and classes throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada.  Dr. Sedler has worked as an administrator, a behavior specialist, a teacher, and a social worker within the public school setting.  Dr. Sedler is an adjunct professor for two universities in the state of Washington and has been a professor for a college in Georgia.  He has been a consultant for governmental agencies and worked for a state correctional facility for juveniles and for a community mental health agency.  His 15 years of public education experience combined with business experience increases his knowledge base for course delivery.  He has presented in schools, hospitals, and residential settings, as well as for businesses in the public and private sectors. 


Contacting the Instructor

You may contact the instructor by emailing michaels@virtualeduc.com or by calling (509) 891-7219 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. PST. When calling during office hours messages will be answered within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches, or other issues that involve the operation of the course.


Technical Questions

If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at www.virtualeduc.com and also the Help section of your course.


If you need personal assistance then email support@virtualeduc.com or call (509) 891-7219.  When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call. 


Minimum Computer Requirements

Please refer to VESi’s website: www.virtualeduc.com or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.


Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.



Bibliography (Suggested readings)


Bachman, J. (2012).  Alcohol use among adolescents.  Amazon Digital Services.  Studies on drinking behavior of teens.  (grades 7-12).  www.amazon.com  Download from Amazon.


Bogard, K. L. (2005). Affluent adolescents, depression, and drug use: The role of adults in their lives. Adolescence, 40(158), 281-306.


Brown, W. K. (2011).  Drugs and school performance (drugs 101). Amazon Digital Services.  Information on drug and alcohol impact on school grades and performance.  (grades 7-12).  www.amazon.com  Download from Amazon.


Claes, M., Lacourse, E., Ercolani, A.-P., Pierro, A., Leone, L., & Presaghi, F. (2005). Parenting, peer orientation, drug use, and antisocial behavior in late adolescence: A cross-national study. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 34, 401-411.


Flory, K., Lynam, D., Milich, R., Leukefeld, C., and Clayton, R. (2004). Early adolescent through young adult alcohol and marijuana use trajectories: Early predictors, young adult outcomes, and predictive utility. Development and Psychopathology, 16, 93-213.


Goldschmidt, L., Richardson, G. A., Cornelius, M. D., & Day, N. L. (2004). Prenatal marijuana and alcohol exposure and academic achievement at age 10. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 26, 521-532.


Hall, E. J., Hall, L.A., Rayens, M.K., Myers, A.V., and Bonnel, G. (2007, August). School and home based drug prevention: Environment, parent, and child risk reduction. Drugs, Education, Prevention & Policy, 14(4), 319-331.


Hanson, G. (2011). Drugs and society. Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett.  Investigates the biological impact of drugs on the body (grades 7-12).   www.jblearning.com   800-832-0034.


Jacobsen, L. K., Mencl, E. W., Westerveld, M., & Pugh, K. R. (2004). Impact of cannabis use on brain function in adolescents. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1021, 384-390.


Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G. & Schulenberg, J. E. (2009). Monitoring the future national results of adolescent drug use: Overview of key findings, 2008. (NIH Publication No. 09-7401). Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse.


Kuhar, M. (2011). The addicted brain. Amazon Digital Services. What science has learned about addictions.  (grades k -12).  www.amazon.com  Download from Amazon.


Lucas, W. L. (2008) Parents’ perceptions of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (DARE). Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 17(4), 99-114.


Randoph, K. A., Fraser, M. W. and Orthner, D. K. (2004). Educational resilience among youth at risk. Substance Use and Misuse, 39(5), 747-767.


Shinew, K. J., & Parry, D. C. (2005). Examining college students' participation in two popular leisure pursuits, drinking and illegal drug use. Journal of Leisure Research, 37(3), 364-386.


Wilson, R., & Kolander, C. (2010). Drug abuse prevention.  Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett.  Helps to develop effective drug prevention programs. (grades 4 -12).   www.jblearning.com   800-832-0034.


Winkelby, M. A., Feighery, E., Dunn, M., Kole, S., Ahn, D., & Killen, J. D. (2004). Effects of an advocacy intervention to reduce smoking among teenagers. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 158, 269-275.


Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization's web home page.


Updated 8/21/14 JN