The Need

A wealth of knowledge exists about substance use and new research continues to be published regularly that explores the biological and behavioral reasons for at-risk substance use and how to effectively treat substance use disorders.

For a busy professional, reading lengthy primary sources on a regular basis is not typically a priority over other job duties.

The Solution

NIDA Notes is a digital publication that makes science more accessible, taking academic papers and turning them into articles, audio pieces, and videos that offer in-depth coverage of research findings on drug use and addiction.

IRETA developed and created two online courses, free to complete and suitable for addictions professionals, social workers, physicians, and the general public. These online learning modules used a multimedia approach to digesting and disseminating information about research and best practices to health care providers.

The Results

The free online courses are hosted on and accessed by a wide range of professionals; a significant proportion are social workers, addiction counselors, and mental health counselors.

81% of the people who took the course and completed a brief survey rated its overall value as good or excellent and 86% found the course content useful at either a good or excellent level. Finally, 82% said they would probably or definitely recommend it to other people.

Feedback from students

“The information on adolescent opiod use in combination with other drugs was very informative and relevant to assessing risk levels in clients.”

“I enjoyed the case studies in which they asked how to proceed as it puts one in a reality based situation and makes you think about the situation happening in clinical practice.”

“the information was clear and kept my attention throughout.”


As of April 2018, the two courses have been completed by over 1,000 people.

Subsequently, a third online course was developed under the ongoing partnership with NIDA. It covers prevention and treatment for high-risk adolescent marijuana use.

The courses are online: Prevalence of Prescription Opioid Misuse [link]

Electronic Tools for Addiction Care [link]