Substance Abuse

A black and white picture of an open hand holding about 10 pills of different shapes and sizes, two of which are red.

Learning Objectives

This module will help you to:

  1. Explain the effects of substance abuse on learning in the classroom.
  2. Understand the types of accommodations or other support that can help meet the educational needs of students with substance abuse.
  3. Know how to support students with substance abuse.


According to the American Psychiatric Association (2013), substance use disorders can range from mild to severe. Someone is considered to be engaging in problematic substance use when that person’s use of substances adversely impacts their functioning in such a way that the person experiences marked impairments in social, academic, or occupational functioning. It is important to note that substance abuse and mental health issues often co-occur, and one condition will often contribute to the severity of the other.