Community Addiction Studies is a vocational, further education module designed by the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC). The development of learners core skills is a key objective of FETAC education which include taking initiative; taking responsibility for self-learning; problem solving; applying theoretical knowledge in practical contexts; developing numeracy; literacy; IT and communication skills; sourcing and organising information effectively; listening effectively; working effectively in groups; understanding health and safety issues, and reflecting on and evaluating the quality of self-learning and achievement.

The module 5N1834 has a credit value of 1, and it is designed for learners to develop an understanding of addiction; to examine their own attitudes; to become more effective in their personal response, and to develop the skills and knowledge to become more effective in responding to drug misuse in their communities.

 Learning outcomes

FETAC specifies four learning outcomes for the course, which are taught in four units:

 Unit 1 Drugs and their effects. Learners should be able to identify principle drugs misused; identify which categories they belong to; understand the primary effects of different drugs; identify the factors which influence the impact of drug use on an individual; identify local drug profiles, and recognise general trends in drug use in Ireland since 1960.

 Unit 2 The process of addiction Learners should be able to identify key stages in the process of addiction; distinguish these key stages in actual scenarios; identify how addiction affects the whole person; recognise the progression of emotional development through the process of addiction; define the defence mechanisms associated with addiction; identify a model for understanding change within the process of addiction; distinguish the elements of this model; identify family roles; recognise how individual family members contribute to sustaining addiction; describe the impact of addiction on the family; describe adult patterns of behaviour arising out of childhood learning in relation to addiction, and identify the supports that are available for families dealing with addiction.

 Unit 3 Intervention strategies Learners should be able to understand the relevant issues that need to be considered when approaching an intervention; explore his/her own attitude towards addiction; demonstrate personal understanding of intervention and its impact; using one model of understanding change identify intervention strategies appropriate to different stages of the process of addiction; recognise stages of a crisis; identify a number of different approaches taken by agencies in the addiction field, and situate these different responses within the context of a model for understanding change within the process of addiction.

 Unit 4 Community responses Learners should be able to identify agencies responding to addiction within own community; describe ways in which communities respond to addiction; demonstrate a critical analysis of the media in its treatment of addiction issues; identify what is community; identify the impact of addiction on a community; identify ways in which he/she can become involved in developing responses at a local level; identify and access relevant information on addiction, and compile information on addiction in a manner accessible to peers.

The course runs for 25 weeks, one evening per week starting September each year. Applications start for this course in July and interviews are held in August. There is a fee of €100. For further information please contact Ciara – ckenny@dominics.ie or 4620624. This course is funded by the Tallaght Local Drugs & Alcohol Task Force.