Department of Counselor Education

"Reflective Professionals Building Learning Communities"
Fall Term 2006


COUN 468M: Topics in Community Counseling: Psychopharmacology for Counselors
Location: CLS 3020 & Northeastern’s Blackboard (Online)
Time: 4:15pm – 6:45pm Wednesdays


Kenneth Currier, Ph.D., CRC, Assistant Professor
Office: CLS 4097
Office Telephone: (773) 442-5576
Email:[email protected] or
Home Telephone: (608) 741-4118 (Wisconsin); (773) 213-4114 (Cell)
Office Hours: Wednesday 10am- 2:00pm; by appointment, email, or chat room

This is an introductory course to psychopharmacology for non-medical, helping professionals. Students will be informed about the pharmacological aspects of addiction, psychotherapeutic medications, and drugs of abuse. Emphasis is placed on the basic principles of pharmacology, the effects of drugs on the human central and peripheral nervous systems; and psychoactive drug effects and side effects. It is also designed to provide an overview of pharmacological classification systems and pharmacological interventions for psychiatric disorders. It will address benefits and side effects, trends and physiological principles as well as medical and pharmacological lexicon.
3 credit hours

Admission to the Graduate Department of Counselor Education


Hedges, D., & Burchfield, C. (2006). Mind, brain, and drug: An introduction to psychopharmacology. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

O'Brien, C.P. (September 19, 1995). Pharmacological aspects of addiction [online]. Available at: [hardcopy document also posted on the Blackboard site under COURSE DOCUMENTS]

Recommended Reading/Resources

Mid-American Addiction Technology Transfer Center (2006). Psychotherapeutic medications 2004: What every counselor should know. [Online]. Available at (Click on “Publications” on the left side bar)
Preston, J.D., & Johnson, J. (2003). Clinical psychopharmacology made ridiculously simple (5th ed.). Miami, FL: MedMasters, Inc.


This is a web-based course that will involve lecture, discussion, and activities as well as the electronic presentation of material through Blackboard software and Microsoft PowerPoint, interactive discussions through the Discussion Board component, assigned readings, communications and questions via email and postings on the online Bb Discussion Board. Most course materials and activities are available in electronic format.


This course supports the curriculum standards for Counseling & Guidance and Mental Health Counselors through CACREP standards C.6 and C.2.h and Domains 1 and 4 from the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, Inc. (IC&RC;/AODA) which establishes certification examination knowledge and skill areas to become a CADC (Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor) in Illinois and other member states, and countries.

1) The student will be familiar with the basic principles of pharmacology including drug administration, pharmacokinetics or drug actions, tolerance and dependency.
2) The student will be familiar with client/patient factors that contribute to drug metabolism, dependency, abuse, and addiction.
3) The student will be knowledgeable of neurotransmitters in the peripheral and central nervous systems, the effects of their regulation and dysregulation on human functioning and role in psychoactive effects.
4) The student will be able to differentiate between the concepts of agonist and antagonist drugs.
5) The student will be able to identify the categories of psychotherapeutic drugs and drugs of abuse.
6) The student will be familiar with the categories of drugs as provided in the Comprehensive Drug Abuse & Control Act of 1970 (Controlled Substances Act).
7) The student will be able to identify the effects and side effects common among psychoactive drugs.
8) The student will explore their individual attitudes and experiences toward drug use, abuse, addiction, and potential for addiction. They will understand the predisposing factors for addiction.
9) The student will be knowledgeable of the current pharmacological treatments for the major mental illnesses: depression, bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders (schizophrenia), anxiety and other disorders (ADHD, Eating disorders, PTSD), their notable side effects, and key points to convey to clients and their families.
10) The student will obtain knowledge and skill in accessing current, valid, and reliable information regarding psychoactive drugs via traditional and modern technologies.


1) Students will take three quizzes based on each of the three course modules: 1) Pharmacological and Biological Aspects of Addiction; 2) Drugs of abuse; and 3) Psychotherapeutic medications.
2) Students will briefly respond to four online discussion questions on the course Blackboard site under “Discussion Board”. Generally, these will require brief one- or two-paragraph statements.


3 Exams @ 50 pts each 150 pts
Journal Article Review 50
Blackboard Activities (10 @ 10pts each) 100 pts
Total 300 pts

90-100 = A
80- 89 = B
70- 79 = C
60- 69 = D
59 and below = F


Assessment of learning begins in the initial class session and is on-going throughout the course. Data from the specific assessment tools will be analyzed and the results used to improve instruction and facilitate increased student learning. This feedback may be used to make adjustments in the course as it progresses and to implement future changes.


In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Northeastern Illinois University does not discriminate against employees or students on the basis of disability. In addition, the University provides reasonable accommodations for both employees and students with disabilities. Students seeking reasonable accommodations in the classroom should contact the Accessibility Center/HELP Office, A-118 (phone 773/442-5495, 5496, or 5497; TDD 773/442-5499).

The University policy on services for students with disabilities may be found at Students should feel free to meet with the instructor at any time to discuss any reasonable accommodations or removal of barriers that may hinder full inclusion and participation in the course.


Students are expected to keep up with course assignments and participate in online discussions to the same degree they would in a traditional, classroom-based course. Students are expected to regularly post discussion questions and responses to others, communicate regularly with the instructor via email, personal phone call, or physical visit. All assignments are to be posted by the date indicated.


August 30: Pick up syllabus – enroll in Blackboard site for Psychopharmacology (instructions below) – Exchange emails with instructor and fellow students

Reading Assignment: Blackboard intro, Module I PowerPoint Presentation; O’Brien (1995). Pharmacological aspects of addiction; Text: Chapters 1-3

 Introduction and Overview
 Course syllabus, requirements
 Use of Blackboard
 Resources and references
 Definitions, attitudes: Drug use, abuse, addiction
 Client Variables influencing likelihood of drug abuse, addiction
 Agent (Rx) factors
 Host(Individual) variables
 Environmental & Psychosocial Factors
 Basic Principles of Pharmacology
 Drug administration, formulation, routes of delivery, dosing regimens, half-life, and steady state.
 Pharmacokinetics, drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and clearance
 Drug actions and interactions: concepts of drug receptors, agonists, antagonists, affinity, efficacy, and potency.
 Drug tolerance, sensitization, dependency, and withdrawal
 Client/patient factors or profile regards drug actions or reactions: age, PG status, smoking/drinking habits, medical/physiological history, pharmacogenetics, drug interactions, and psychosocial factors

September 13 – PowerPoint – Nervous System and Neurotransmitters - online
Online presentations and activities – no live class meeting
Reading Assignment: Chapters xx-xx in Textbook; Blackboard intro, Module I PowerPoint

 Peripheral Nervous System - motor neurons
 Autonomic nervous system
 Neurotransmitters
 Sympathetic nervous system - supplies energy (catabolic); fight or flight. Re: stress, fear, anxiety, survival instincts; adrenalin; HR, secretions (e.g. dry mouth); diverts energy for fight/flee activity; O2 with cardio/pulmonary efficiency.
 Parasympathetic nervous system - conserves energy (anabolic); resting functions: HR, dilates bronchi, secretions, stimulates GI function; appropriate bowel motility.
 Somatic nervous system - supplies skeletal muscles during voluntary movement; conducts sensory information (touch, pain).
 Drug Categories – Generic; Brands; Street names
 By system effect: CNS, G/I, Limbic, Cardio/Respiratory, Musculo/Skeletal
 DEA Schedule - Controlled Substances Act

September 20: Module II: Drugs of Abuse

QUIZ I (Pharmacological Aspects of Addiction) – online

Reading: PowerPoint Presentations on Bb under “Course Information” – All drugs of abuse; Chapters xx-xx in Textbook.

For each of the listed drug categories below, you should know the following information:

 Characteristics of Drugs of Abuse:
 Drugs of Abuse – General Characteristics
 Effects, side effects
 Neurological/Biological Actions
 Undesirable Side Effects; Contraindications
 Pharmacokinetics (Administration, dosage/regimen, absorption/excretion, half-life/steady state)
 Tolerance/dependence
 Drug interactions
 Assessment
 Treatment modalities

Specific Drugs of Abuse ( Note: the below categories of drugs are entered as hyperlinks. If you have the proper word processing program (e.g. MS WORD) and have this document electronically, by pressing Ctrl + left clicking on the mouse, the program will take you directly to the website). These links are supplementary only. At each site is a link to the National Library of Medicine’s Medline site with more detailed information. These are wonderful, easily accessible resources.

 Acid/LSD
 Alcohol
 Club Drugs
 Cocaine
 Ecstasy/MDMA
 Heroin
 Inhalants
 Marijuana
 Methamphetamine
 PCP/Phencyclidine
 Prescription Medications
 Smoking/Nicotine
 Steroids (Anabolic)

September 27: Drugs of Abuse continued - online
Reading Assignment: Chapters xx-xx in Textbook; Blackboard intro, Module I PowerPoint

October 4: Drugs of Abuse continued - online

October 11: Drugs of Abuse continued - online

October 18: Module III: Psychotherapeutic Medications - online


• Anti-psychotics (neuroleptics)
• Reading: Chapter xx; Powerpoint on Bb
• Psychotherapeutic Medications 2006 from Mid-American Addiction Technology Transfer Center (2006). Psychotherapeutic medications 2004: What every counselor should know. [Online]. Available at (Click on “Publications” on the left side bar)

October 25 – Anti-depressants; Bipolar, Anti-manic medications - online
• Reading Assignment: Chapters xx-xx in Textbook; Blackboard intro, Module I PowerPoint

November 1 – Anxiolytics, Antispasmodics, Anti-hypertensives - online
• Reading Assignment: Chapters xx-xx in Textbook; Blackboard intro, Module I PowerPoint

November 8 – Naltrexone, Methadone, Antiemetics - online
• Handouts; Chapter xx

November 15 –– Psychotherapeutic Medications; Communications - online
• Communications with clients and medical personnel
• Differential diagnoses (sleep apnea versus depression and self-medicating behaviors)

November 23 – No Class – Happy Thanksgiving!

November 30 - online
• Course evaluations

December 6 – Grades, conferences (by appointment)


The following information is provided as a selective sample of potential resources that may be useful for future reference and research. It is ethically incumbent upon the practitioner to remain abreast of current best practices, updated on the latest developments and research in their areas of professional focus - including information on pharmacology. The professional human service provider, counselor, or rehabilitation specialist should be cognizant of their limitations about their knowledge, skill, and parameters of practice and to seek appropriate consultation and expert advice where appropriate.


Adams, H.E., & Sutker, P.G. (Eds.). (2001). Comprehensive handbook of psychopathology (3rd ed.). New York: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
American Psychiatric Association. (1999). Diagnostic and statistic manual of mental disorder (4th ed - Text Revision). Washington, DC: Author.
Bouricisius, J.K. (1996). Psychoactive drugs and their effects. Arlington, VA: Author.
Callahan, A.M., Fava, M., & Rosenbaum, J.F. (1993). Drug interactions in psychopharmacology. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 16, (3), 647-665.
Carroll, C.R. (2000). Drugs in modern society. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Deery, K.S., Gallagher-Lepak, S., Chan, F., Murphy, C.M., & Leahy, M. (1999). Clinical Pharmacology in rehabilitation case management. In F. Chan, & M. Leahy (Eds.), Health care and disability case management (pp. 265-289. Lake Zurich, IL: Vocational Consultants Press.
Diamond, R.J. (2002). Instant psychopharmacology (2nd ed.). New York: W.W. Norton
Hardman, J., Alfred Goodman Gilman, A.E., Limbird, L .E., Gilman, A., & Hardman, J.G. (Eds.). (2001). Goodman & Gilman's the pharmacological basis of therapeutics (10th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Hanson, G., Fleckenstein, A.E., & Venturelli, P. (2002). Drugs and society (7th ed.). Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Janicak, P.G., Preskorn, S.H., & Davis, J.M. (2001). Principles and practice of psychopharmacology (3rd ed.). Philadelphia:Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins.
Jenike, M.A. (1988). Geriatric psychopharmacology: A primary care challenge. Chicago: Yearbook Medical Publishers.
Medical Economics Company. (2004). Physician's desk reference 2005: PDR (Bookstore edition). Montvale, NJ: Author.
O'Brien, C.P. (September 19, 1995). Pharmacological aspects of addiction. Retrieved August 23, 2004 from
Preston, J.D., & Johnson, J. (2003). Clinical pharmacology made ridiculously simple. Miami, FL: MedMaster, Inc.
Preston, J.D., O’Neal, J.H., & Talaga, M.C. (2004). Handbook of clinical psychopharmacology for therapists (4th ed.). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
Stahl, S.M. (2000). Essential psychopharmacology. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Twerski, A.J. (1997). Addictive thinking (2nd ed.). Center City, MN: Hazelden Publishing.
Werry, J.S., Amen, M., & Aman, M.G. (1998). Practitioner's guide to psychoactive drugs for children and adolescents. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Medical Book Company.

Internet Resources

American Psychological Association, Division 28 – Addictions Counseling,
American Society of Addiction Medicine
Clinical Trials Listing Service [new drugs],
Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association (IAODAPCA).
This is where to begin in obtaining Illinois certification as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC)
International Association for the Study of Pain,
International Association for the Study of Pain,
Medical Terms, or
Mental HelpNet,
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill,
National Certified Addiction Counselor\
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Library of Medicine (Medline) on Substance Abuse:
NCAC - National Certified Addiction Counselor
Psychopharmacological Tips, Ask Dr. Bob,
SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Substance Abuse Library (University of Pennsylvania):

Web of Addictions
Dr. Bob Psychopharmacology Tips


American Journal of Psychiatry
Annals of Internal Medicine
Archives of General Psychiatry
British Journal of Psychiatry
Clinical Psychopharmacology
Geriatric Psychopharmacology
Hospital & Community Psychiatry
Journal of Addiction Studies
Journal of Child & Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
Journal of Psychopharmacology
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Patient Care
Pharmaceutical Research
Progress in Drug Research
Psychiatric Clinics of North America Psychiatry Annals
Psychiatry Drug Alerts


Addiction Severity Index (ASI)
Beck Depression Inventory - II
Beck Hopelessness Scale
Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS)
Clinical Global Impression (CGI)
Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS)
Scale for Assessing Negative Symptoms (SANS)
Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90)
Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment of Alcohol Scale – Revised (CIWA-Ar)
SASSI – Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Instrument
Patient Placement Criteria – 2 Revised (PPC-2R) – See ASAM website


This is a combination of a Web-enhanced course where instructional materials and some class activity will occur via Blackboard (online) software and for select class meetings “Web-Intense” where all instructional activity will occur online. Students must have an active email account and access to the World-Wide-Web (Internet). Contact the instructor if this is a challenge. The instructor uses Microsoft Office XP or 2000 products for word processing and presentations (WORD and PowerPoint). It is problematic to use other products such as Works in the electronic transfer of documents.

Blackboard is web-based instructional software that allows instructors to teach online or to supplement site-based instruction. Course notes, scanned articles, handouts, and other printed materials will be posted on the Blackboard site for this course. The instructor will post weekly class notes (outline version of PowerPoint presentations) as class lectures or prior to class meetings (for web-assisted courses). In the case of a web-assisted course, this is NOT met to replace class attendance and is offered as a supplement to facilitate processing of information. Missing three or more class meetings is problematic and may have significant adverse effects on the student's final grade per university policy. For total online course offerings, the course will be paced as a traditional course (synchronous instruction), so that the student is expected to keep pace as a whole with the course content, class discussions, and assignments.

Access to Blackboard:

1. Go Online using an Internet browser such as Internet Explorer
2. Go to:
3. Click on: Information Resources link
4. Click on: Northeastern's Blackboard Bb

From NEIU's Blackboard Bb. Click on: Create an Account Fill in all appropriate boxes ( indicated by a red asterisk). You have control of your username and password. A suggestion: keep username and password consistent with other university information resources or Internet sites - it is much easier to keep track and remember.
Exit or return to Internet Explorer or other browser
Return to Blackboard window (Steps 1-4 above)

From NEIU's Blackboard Bb main page:
Click on: “Course Catalog”
Click on: “College of Education”
Click on: “Counselor Education”
Click on: the course you are taking e.g. Frameworks for Counselors (SUMR 05)
Click on: “Enroll” (icon at far right) - you should be enrolled automatically if you are still logged in. If not, you may need to re-enter the web site and login.
Fill in your username and password that you established above.


Enter course Blackboard website
From course website: Click on: “Course Documents”
Here you will find the posted documents for the course. By double clicking on the item, your computer should automatically open up the document in Word or other appropriate word processing program. Note: some items may be posted in .pdf format (portable document format). Adobe Acrobat Reader software is used to open these type of documents. You may obtain Adobe Acrobat Reader software, free, online at . This free software enables you to read and print .pdf documents only, NOT create them (you need additional, costly software). Adobe Acrobat Reader has its own toolbar from which to print, save, etc. These tools will be located below those of your main computer or browser toolbar. You may also go to the course Blackboard site and click on “Announcements” then click on the “View All” tab to access Adobe Reader link and instructions to download such. Other elements of the Blackboard site may be utilized such as “Course Information” (syllabus), “Discussion Board”, “Announcements”, and “Links” but your main resource will be “Course Documents”.

For Discussion Questions or Exercises on “Discussion Board”

From the menu on the left side of the course web page, click on: “Discussion Board”
Read the instructions for the topic assignment at hand, which may be either stated within the “Discussion Board” thread message box or posted under “Course Documents”. The reason for this is that Blackboard is not set up to attach documents in “Discussion Board” so, if a case study is involved, for instance, it may need to be posted under “Course Documents” with your response to be posted within “Discussion Board”.

Select the discussion topic at hand by double clicking on that heading. A window will open up with all the discussion postings listed by student's name. (It could be blank if you are the first one to enter). On the top left of the window you will see the icon: "Add Thread". Click on that icon. A window will pop up similar to email. Fill in the boxes and type in your response(s). When you are done click on: "submit". Read the other postings by clicking on the underlined topic not the student name. By clicking on the student name, you will be able to send a personal email to that person only. You may reply to other's posting by clicking on "REPLY" and your comment will be shared with the entire class called a “Public Posting”.

You should explore all aspects of Blackboard and discover all the benefits of having this technology available to you including: communicating individually with other classmates, access to resource materials such as writing guides and links to related websites, and the ability to post and send materials, comments, and documents.

Last modified: Thursday, 14 December 2006, 06:33 PM