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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z References



Refraining from the use of a drug or drugs.

Accredited Course

An accredited course meets the standards outlined in the Standards for State and Territory Registering / Course Accrediting Bodies and the Guidelines for Course Developers. Accreditation is approved by a state or territory course accrediting body. An accredited course must be delivered by a registered training organisation for recognition under the Australian Qualifications Framework. Courses can only be accredited for national recognition where no national Training Package qualification exists.


A term that stereotypes or labels a person, and is therefore judgemental, to refer to someone with a drug dependence.


Physical and psychological craving for a drug or drugs and related behaviours. The process of addiction is progressive and chronic. The state of addiction is more commonly referred to as a varying state of dependency (NCETA, 2002).

Access and Equity

A policy or set of strategies to make something available to all members of the community, to increase participation and to improve outcomes, particularly focusing on those groups that have been traditionally under-represented, especially women, Indigenous Australians, people with a disability, people from a non-English speaking background and people from rural and remote areas (Knight and Nestor, 2000).


The formal recognition of a course by an official accrediting body in accordance with the Standards for State and Territory Registering / Course Accrediting Bodies (ANTA, 2001).

Accredited Course

A structured sequence of vocational education and training that leads to an Australian Qualifications Framework qualification or Statement of Attainment (ANTA, nd).

Accrediting Authority

An organisation with the authority and responsibility for accrediting courses and training programs (ANTA, nd).

Action Learning

Learning by working on real problems, implementing solutions and reviewing and reflecting on the learning process (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Active Learning

Learning driven primary by the learner, with the instructor acting as a facilitator (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Action Research

Action research is a family of research methodologies which pursue action (or change) and research (or understanding) at the same time. In most of its forms it does this by:

  • using a cyclic or spiral process which alternates between action and critical reflection
  • in the later cycles, continuously refining methods, data and interpretation in the light of the understanding developed in the earlier cycles.

In most of its forms it is also participative and qualitative.

(Action Research Resources, 2002)

Adult Learning

The inclusion of content that is largely determined by the participants and that is relevant and applicable to their own beliefs and experience. Problem and outcome focused learning where the participants can draw on their own knowledge and experience and control their own learning is also important (McDonald et al, 2000).

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Drugs incorporated in work in the alcohol and other drugs field are generally those which produce a psychoactive effect, that is, drugs that alter mood, thoughts and cognition. This includes licit drugs (alcohol, tobacco, prescription medications and over-the-counter medications), as well as illicit drugs (such as heroin, amphetamines, cocaine etc). Licit substances or drugs that produce a psychoactive effect when used in ways other than intended, such as inhalants, are also included in this work.




Bachelor Degree

The Bachelor (undergraduate) degree provides initial preparation for professional careers and postgraduate study. Graduates of a Bachelor degree possess a range of academic and vocational attribute.

Basic Skill

A fundamental skill that is the basis of later learning or is essential for employment (Knight and Nestor, 2000).


Standard professional labour requirement likely to be required to meet identified objectives (Ridoutt et al, 2002).

Best Practice

Best Practice is a comprehensive, integrated and cooperative approach to the continuous improvement of activities (Best Practice, nd).


There are a number of types of biases which may arise in the context of research or randomised controlled trials:

  • selection bias: systematic differences in comparison groups
  • performance bias: systematic differences in delivery of care between experimental and control groups
  • attrition bias: differences in withdrawals from the trial
  • detection bias: systematic differences in outcome assessment
    (Gowing, 2001).

Bottom Up

Focuses on an issue from the viewpoint of workers in the field rather than management.
(see also Top Down)



Capacity Building

Capacity building involves:

  • resources to change the delivery system, and building the capacity of that system to maintain programs and to deliver new ones
  • a shift in focus from individuals (exclusively) to organisations and systems
  • thinking in terms of an investment
  • capacity building can be thought of as enhancing the capacity of the system to prolong and multiply health effects
  • workers devoting resources to changing the system, building the capacity of that system to maintain health promotion programs and to develop new ones
  • capacity building is held to be instrumental in multiplying health gains.

Capacity building aims to:

  • distil the theoretical and practical knowledge developed and applied by a research team
  • transmit this information in a manner responsive to the needs and interests of policy makers, managers and workers.

Dimensions of Capacity Building include:

  • health infrastructure or service development
  • program maintenance and sustainability
  • increasing competence and capabilities.
    (Roche, 2001)

Certificate Qualifications

Certificates are Vocational Education and Training (VET) qulaifications. Certificates I and II are largely new qualifications recognising basic vocational skills and knowledge and Certificates III and IV largely replace the outdated category of trade certificatesmethodo


A system by which academic literature and other resources are evaluated and assessed for methodological soundness and practical relevance to the field. A clearinghouse may also simply be a means of distributing information.

Cochrane Collaboration

The Cochrane Collaboration has developed in response to the need for systematic, up-to-date reviews of all relevant randomised controlled trials of health care. Funds were provided to establish a Cochrane Centre to collaborate with others in the UK and elsewhere to facilitate systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials across all areas of health care (Cochrane website, 2002).

Cochrane Reviews

Cochrane reviews, the principal output of the Cochrane Collaboration, are systematic reviews of the published scientific literature. They are published electronically in successive issues of The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Preparation and maintenance of Cochrane reviews is the responsibility of international collaborative review groups. At the beginning of 2001, the existing review groups covered all of the important areas of health care. The members of these groups are researchers, health care professionals, consumers, and others who share an interest in generating reliable, up-to-date evidence relevant to the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of particular health problems or groups of problems (Cochrane Website, 2002).


Coexisting substance misuse with a psychological disorder such as depression or anxiety (NCETA, 2002).


The ability to consistently perform work activities to agreed standards over a range of contexts and conditions (Ridoutt et al, 2002; Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Continuous Improvement

A planned process which allows an organisation to systematically review and improve the quality of its products, services and associated processes (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Core Competencies

Core competencies are the specific skills, knowledge and attributes applicable to a job role (Community Services and Health Training Australia, 1999).

Cost Effectiveness

The least costly method of securing an identified objective, such as a health goal (Ridoutt et al, 2002).

Cost effectiveness is determined by how effective the program is and how much it costs. In short, cost effectiveness is achieved when there is a balance between effectiveness and cost, when the effectiveness outweighs the cost (Durbridge et al, 2002).

Critical Appraisal

Critical appraisal considers research in terms of:

  • quality (methods used to minimise bias in study design)
  • relevance (outcome measures used and applicability of study results to other treatments, settings and patients)
  • strength (magnitude, precision and reproducibility of results).
    (Gowing, 2001).

Culture Change

Culture change involves a shift in the attitudes and thinking of a group that affects how that group responds to individuals or situations.
(see also organisational culture)


The specifications for a course or subject which describes all the learning experiences a student undergoes, generally including objectives, content, intended learning outcomes, teaching methodology, recommended or prescribed assessment tasks, assessment exemplars etc (Knight and Nestor, 2000).



Deep Learning

Learning that emphasises the pursuit of meaning and understanding. Deep learners are intrinsically motivated to learn and the act of learning is itself rewarding. The major goal is to integrate new learning and ideas with existing understanding. In contrast, surface learners are primarily motivated to meet minimum task requirements and see learning as primarily a matter of reproducing information without any particular interest in its meaning (Knapper, 2001).


Particular behavioural, cognitive and physiological effects that may arise through repeated substance use. Psychological characteristics of dependence include a strong desire to take the drug, impaired control over use, persistent use despite harmful consequences, and the prioritisation of drug use over other activities (NCETA, 2002).

Didactic Instruction

Information disseminated using a lecture-type method whereby an educator or lecturer speaks to a wide audience with minimal interaction with or participation from the learners (Ask et al, 1998).

Diffusion of Innovation

An end state (of a passive nature) in which an innovation is fully accepted and adopted by an organisation or community and transferred to an ultimate user (Ask et al, 1998).

Diploma and Advanced Diploma

Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas prepare candidates for self-directed application of skills and knowledge based on fundamental principles and / or complex techniques. These qualifications recognise capacity for initiative and judgment across a broad range of technical and/or management functions


A branch or area of learning (Knight and Nestor, 2000).


The process of sending out information or making it widely available to others in the scientific and/or larger community (Lock et al, 1999).

Distance Education

A mode of education in which students enrolled in a course do not attend the institution, but study off-campus and may submit assignments by mail or email (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Doctoral Degree

The Doctoral degree recognises a substantial original contribution to knowledge in the form of new knowledge or significant and original adaptation, application and interpretation of existing knowledge.


Chemical substance used for its psychoactive effects. The term is used to include tobacco, alcohol, pharmaceutical drugs and illicit drugs (NCETA, 2002).

Drug Worker

Any worker whose primary role is to reduce the harm associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs by the provision of clinical support services, information and education, and prevention services aimed at supporting individuals and communities. (Wood, 1997 cited by Ask et al, 1998).




The process of imparting knowledge or developing skills, understanding, attitudes, character or behaviours. The field of study concerned with teaching and learning (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Equity and Access

see Access and Equity.


The degree to which an intervention produces the desired outcomes under everyday conditions typical of those in which it will usually be applied.


The degree to which an intervention produces a desired outcome under relatively optimal or ideal conditions such as with expert, well trained staff, and selected subjects.


The degree to which an intervention produces an outcome effectively with a minimum of waste, expense, or unnecessary effort.


Gathering information to determine the effectiveness of an intervention. Information collected is analysed to determine causality.

Types of evaluation include:

  • process evaluation, aimed at assessing strategies and improving and refining the intervention
  • impact evaluation, aimed at assessing achievement of stated objectives
  • outcome evaluation, aimed at assessing achievement of the overall, longer term aim or goal of the intervention.

Evidence-based Practice

Evidence-based work practices consciously integrate the best available research evidence with both professional experience and consumer choice to apply it to decision making practices in the workplace. It promotes the explicit, conscientious and judicious use of the best, most up-to-date research evidence to guide health care decisions (Sackett et al, 1996 cited by Roche and Cormack, 2000).

Experiential Learning

Learning through experience, either in a real situation such as a workplace or in a role play (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

External Studies

See Distance Education.



Flexible Delivery, Flexible Learning

A range of approaches to providing education and training, giving learners greater choice of when, where and how they learn. Flexible delivery may involve distance education, mixed mode delivery, online education, self-paced learning, self-directed learning etc (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Formal Education

Education or training provided in educational institutions such as schools, universities, colleges etc or off-the-job in a workplace, usually involving direction from a teacher or instructor (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Frontline Worker

Relates not to the degree of drug and alcohol specialisation, but to the role of primary care worker, that is, the first to encounter and manage drug and alcohol issues (Rowling, 2001).



Generalist Worker

A generalist encompasses a number of professional groups that respond to a range of drug-related health problems or drug-related issues but do not operate in a drug-specific treatment setting. Examples of a generalist worker are a nurse, general practitioner, police officer or teacher. (Ask et al, 1998).

Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma

Graduate Certificates and Graduate Diplomas are generally designed for specific vocational purposes, either the broadening of skills and knowledge already gained in an undergraduate program, or vocational skills and knowledge in a new professional area.  They typically follow a Bachelor Degree or Advanced Diploma and may also be accessed in part by recognition of prior learning


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Harm Minimisation

Strategies which aim to promote better health, social and economic outcomes for both the community and the individual. Harm minimisation includes preventing anticipated harm and reducing actual harm. Licit and illicit drugs are targeted. A comprehensive approach to drug-related harm, involving demand reduction, supply reduction and harm reduction strategies (NCETA, 2002).

Harm Reduction

This approach seeks to find a pragmatic position based on acknowledging that many in society will continue to use drugs irrespective of the legal frameworks or the moral imperatives to not use. Harm reduction advocates promote such options as clean needles and syringe programs, the provision of prescription heroin as a treatment option and supervised injecting facilities (Evans, 2001).

Higher Education

In Australia, Higher Education is the sector that offers university-level education that is at a degree-level and above. The Australian, State and Territory government share responsibility for the sector. In the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF), higher education courses are those leading to the award of Associate Degree, Bachelor's Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Master's Degree or Doctoral Degree. Some courses leading to the award of a Diploma or Advanced Diploma may also be accredited as higher education. Almost all higher education in Australia is offered by universities. A small but growing number of non-university providers and overseas institutions also offer accredited higher education courses.




The process of adopting an innovation within an organisation's working agenda (Ask et al, 1998).

Information Supports

The range of individual, workplace and organisational factors that can encourage or inhibit information transfer.

Informal Education

The acquisition of knowledge and skills through experience, reading, social contact etc (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Information Literacy

The ability to identify an information need, and then to find, collect, organise, evaluate and use the information (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Information Transfer

The transfer of training to the extent that the trainee applies knowledge or skills to the job and adapts or customises what has been trained to meet the trainee's specific needs on the job (Goldstein and Ford 2002).


Innovation is the conversion of knowledge and ideas into a benefit, which may be for commercial use or for the public good; the benefit may be new or improved products, processes or services (Department of Innovation and Information Economy, 2002).

In-Service Training

Training and professional development of staff, often sponsored by the employer, and usually provided during normal working hours (Knight and Nestor, 2000).


The effects of a drug on a single occasion of use when taken in a sufficiently large quantity to alter one's state of consciousness. Also referred to as acute drug effects. Intoxication can range from mild to severe (NCETA, 2002).


An involvement (either planned or opportunistic) with an individual or organisation with the aim of changing a situation so as to alter or hinder an action or development.





Knowledge Base

The body of information that guides and informs individuals working in the field.

Knowledge Management

The process by which information is processed, stored and disseminated to the field.

Knowledge Transfer

See Information Transfer or Technology Transfer.




The process of acquiring knowledge, attitudes or skills from study, instruction, or experience (Miller and Findlay, 1996 cited by Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Learning Culture

An environment in which opportunities for learning are openly valued and supported and are built, where possible, into all activities (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Learning Organisations

An organisation that is responsive to the larger context or environment, promotes discussion, team learning and collaboration among employees, empowers employees towards a "collective vision", develops systems to monitor and share learning, and creates ongoing learning opportunities for workers (Knapper, 2001 cites Watkins and Marsick, 1993).

Learning Pathway

A path or sequence of learning or experience that can be followed to attain competency (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Licit Drug

A drug whose production, sale or possession is not prohibited. "Legal" drug is an alternative term (NCETA, 2002).

Lifelong Learning

  • learning throughout life
  • people plan and monitor their own learning
  • learners engage in self evaluation and reflection
  • assessment focuses on feedback for change and improvement
    (Knapper, 2001 cites Knapper and Cropley, 2000).

The process of acquiring knowledge or skills throughout life via education, training, work and general life experiences (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Lifewide Learning

  • learning from life
  • learning is active, not passive
  • learning occurs in both formal and informal settings
  • people learn with and from peers
  • learners can locate and evaluate information from a wide range of sources
  • learners integrate ideas from different fields
  • people use different learning strategies as needed and appropriate
  • learning tackles real world problems
  • learning stresses process as well as content
    (Knapper, 2001 cites Knapper and Cropley, 2000).

Linking Agent or Linkage

Linking agent is an organisation or object (eg a manual) that helps endorse or disseminate an innovation to potential implementors ie an organisation or object that links the innovator/disseminator with the implementor (Ask et al, 1998).


Language(s) Other Than English.



Masters Degree

The Masters degree provides a mastery or high-order overview of a relevant field of study or area of professional practice.

Meta Analysis

A study which uses recognised procedures to amalgamate results from several studies of the same or similar interventions to arrive at composite outcome scores. Usually undertaken to enable effectiveness to be assessed with greater confidence than could have been on the basis of each individual study (Drug and Alcohol Findings, 2000).


An experienced and trusted advisor (Knight and Nestor, 2000).


Mentoring refers to a range of collaborative activities, whereby a person with more experience in a particular area (the mentor) works with another, less experienced person (the protégé) to enhance learning, knowledge and skill transfer and to offer support (McDonald, 2002).

Mixed Mode Delivery

A combination of learning modes to deliver a course or module, such as distance education and face-to-face study in classes, tutorials, practical sessions or workshops (Knight and Nestor, 2000).


Ill health experienced at either an individual or population wide level (NCETA, 2002).


Having many facets or aspects.


Training workers in a number of skills, enabling them to perform a variety of tasks or functions across traditional boundaries. Multiskilling may be horizontal (broad skilling), vertical (upskilling) or diagonal (contributory skilling) (Knight and Nestor, 2000).





Online Education

Learning or training conducted via a computer network, eg using the internet and the World Wide Web, a local area network (LAN) or an intranet (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Organisational Culture

The customs and achievements associated with a specific organisation.

".. the underground stream of norms, values, beliefs, traditions, and rituals that build up over time as people work together, solve problems, and confront challenges." (Garratt, 1990).

"the way we do things around here" (Garratt, 1990).



Participatory Instruction

Information disseminated using interactive, participatory, and experiential methods of learning (Ask et al, 1998).

Prior Learning

Skills and knowledge acquired from previous study, work or life experiences (Knight and Nestor, 2000).


An intervention designed to change the social and/or environmental determinants of drug and alcohol abuse, including discouraging the initiation of drug use and preventing the progress to more frequent or regular use among at-risk populations (United Nations Demand Reduction Glossary of Terms, 2000).

Professional Development

Professional development is a process by which individuals enhance their knowledge, skills and attributes in their field of expertise.



Quality Assurance

The systems and procedures designed and implemented by an organisation to ensure that its products and services are of a consistent standard and are being continuously improved (Knight and Nestor, 2000).




A process by which subjects are allocated at random to different interventions and/or intervention and control groups. Random allocation implies that any member of the population has an equal and independent chance of being selected for intervention or control groups. (Drug and Alcohol Findings, 2000).

Randomised Controlled Trial

A study in which subjects are allocated at random to different interventions and/or intervention and control groups. The intention is to eliminate the possibility that any impacts arose due to differences between the subjects in these groups rather than the intervention. Such studies are rare and may suffer from low external validity (Drug and Alcohol Findings 2000).

Registered Training Organisation (RTO)

A registered training organisation (RTO) is an organisation, registered in accordance with the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) Standards for Registered Training Organisations, to provide specific vocational education and training and/or assessment services. RTOs may include TAFE institutes, private providers, community providers, schools, higher education institutions, industry organisations and enterprises

Rogers' (1995) Model of Innovation, Dissemination and Utilisation

A model which proposes that new work practices are adopted as individuals pass through five sequential stages - knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation and confirmation (Little, Brown and Sullivan, 2001).

Role Adequacy

The extent to which a worker feels that he or she possesses the knowledge / skills to intervene or respond to drug-related problems (Ask et al, 1998).

Role Competency

The extent to which a worker feels that he or she has the ability to intervene or respond to drug-related problems (Ask et al, 1998).

Role Legitimacy

The extent to which a worker feels that he or she has the responsibility to intervene or respond to drug-related problems (Ask et al, 1998).

Role Support

The extent to which a worker feels that he or she has access to appropriate advice, support and assistance when needed (Ask et al, 1998; Cape, 2001).



Scoping Exercise

An exercise which examines the existence of, range and breadth of an activity. For example a scoping exercise to examine the Australian AOD workforce would set out to examine:

  • what occupational groups are engaged in working with AOD users
  • the range of activities in which they are involved
  • the amount of activity in which they are involved.

Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI)

Screening and brief intervention (SBI) involves routine screening of the general practice population to identify those "at risk" of problematic alcohol and drug use and the subsequent delivery of brief structured advice on reducing excessive consumption (Lock et al, 1999).

Short Course

A course of vocational education and training which stands alone and does not usually lead to a full qualification (Knight and Nestor, 2000).


An ability to perform a particular mental or physical ability which may be developed by training or practice (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Skills Analysis

An identification of the skills or competencies needed for a job (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Skills Transfer

The transfer of skills or competencies from one work context to another (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Specialist Worker

Professional groups that respond to particular drug-related problems within a specific service. Examples of a specialist worker are a psychologist, social worker, and psychiatrist (Ask et al, 1998).


A person or organisation with an interest or concern in something (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Statement of Attainment

A Statement of Attainment is issued by a Registered Training Organisation when an individual has completed one or more units of competency from nationally recognised qualification(s) / courses(s).

Structural Factors

The physical and policy factors which can affect work practice. For example, the existence of policy documents and procedures or the physical environment in which a worker operates.

Systematic Review

A review of a clearly formulated question that uses systematic and explicit methods to identify, select and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect and analyse data from the studies that are included in the review. Statistical methods (meta analysis) may or may not be used to analyse and summarise the results of the included studies (Cochrane website, 2002).

Systems Thinking

Seeing interconnections and relationships, the whole picture as well as the component parts (Guray, 2001).



Task Analysis

A process of identifying the elements or steps which make up a task or activities (Knight and Nestor, 2000).


Technology: the science of the application of knowledge to practical purposes; the application of scientific knowledge to practical purposes in a particular field (Webster's Third New International Dictionary, 1971).

Technology Transfer

The systematic process through which skills, techniques, models and approaches emanating from research are delivered to and applied by practitioners (CSAT, 2001)

Transforming what is useful into what is actually used.(CSAT, 2001)

Top Down

Focuses on an issue from the viewpoint of management rather than workers in the field.
(see also Bottom up)

Total Quality Management

A management system with a focus on customer satisfaction, involving a systematic approach to ensuring that products and services always meet defined standards and are subject to continuous improvement (Knight and Nestor, 2000).


The development of skills, knowledge, attitudes, competencies etc through instruction or practice (Knight and Nestor, 2000).

Training Transfer

The degree to which trainees apply what is learnt to their workplace (Pidd, 2002).

Translating Research into Practice

The process of applying research findings into practice in the "real" work setting. This process can be affected by a wide range of variables including organisational, individual and workplace factors.







Work Setting

In the AOD field a work setting can include government services, NGOs, private medical and allied health practitioners.


The individuals who share similar workplaces and a common industry. In the AOD area, the group of workers whose primary role is to reduce the harm associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs (Community Services and Health Training Australia, 1999).

Workforce Development

See What is Workforce Development? section of this site.

Workforce Planning

Strategies that address the adequacy of the supply and distribution of the alcohol and other drug workforce in relation to policy objectives and the consequential demand for alcohol and drug workers (Ridoutt et al, 2002).

Workplace Learning

The process by which workers acquire skills, knowledge and attributes in a formal or informal manner through the course of their routine work.

Learning or training undertaken in the workplace, usually on the job, including on-the-job training under normal operational conditions, and on-site training, which is conducted away from the work process (eg in a training room) (Knight and Nestor, 2000).







Zero Tolerance

Zero tolerance has been intended primarily as a method of sending a message that certain behaviours will not be tolerated, by punishing both major and minor offences severely (Phi Delta Kappa, 2000)



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Ask, A., Ashenden, R., Allsop, S., Cormack, S., Addy, D., Beel, A. (1998). Education and Training Programs for Frontline Professionals Responding to Drug Problems in

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Roche, A.M. (2001). What is this thing called workforce development? In A.M. Roche, J. McDonald (Eds) Systems, Settings, People: Workforce Development Challenges in the Alcohol and Other Drugs Field, Adelaide: National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), p5-22. ( 314KB)

Rowling, L. (2001). The Millennium Change for Drug and Alcohol Education and Training: From Knowledge and Skills to Policy and Organisations. In A.M. Roche, J. McDonald (Eds) Systems, Settings, People: Workforce Development Challenges in the Alcohol and Other Drugs Field, Adelaide: National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), p167-174. (225KB)