Welcome to the Alcohol & Drug Use and Brain Injury Module

In Module 5, participants will review topics related to alcohol and other drug use, brain injury and aging, and learn the criteria for substance use disorders. The module will discuss screening tools for individuals with brain injuries who use alcohol and/or other drugs, as well as treatment approaches for this population.

Module 5 Objectives

After completing this module, you will have acquired knowledge about:

  • The relationship between brain injury and substance use
  • The impact of substances on cognitive functioning
  • The clinical criteria for substance use disorder
  • Assessment approaches for individuals with brain injury and substance use disorders
  • Treatment models.

About the Author

In 2023, this course content was revised by Dr. Carol Girard. The course content was updated to reflect data, research, language, and best practices of the field.

Dr. Carol Girard is part-time Special Projects Coordinator at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS). Her work has involved developing materials for consumers and providers; managing dissemination and implementation of Screening and Brief Interventions to integrate substance use issues and services into the health care systems; coordinating annual Aging with Dignity conferences; and managing promotion of tobacco cessation in BSAS-funded treatment programs. Earlier at Join Together she managed its national Demand Treatment! initiative, supporting local treatment-focused strategic efforts, including SBI, in 28 communities. She also managed marketing, and syndication for its interactive on-line screening tool – AlcoholScreening.org . Before that she managed outreach and education programs for AARP in 5 northeastern states, with a focus on Medicare and long-term care; coordinated web and print dissemination of research results for Health Services Research & Development at the Veterans Administration; and worked for many years with commercial group health and disability claims, systems, and policy. Carol has an MA in Health Communication and a BA in Sociology.

This module was originally developed in collaboration between Robert Ferris and staff Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS) of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Robert "Bob" Ferris has a Bachelor of Social Work Degree from Ohio State University, 1972. Obtained a Certificate in Substance use Counseling from Ohio State University in 1974. Mr. Ferris has been a licensed Social Worker, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 1982. Mr. Ferris served as a Regional Services Supervisor for the Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP) at the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission for over 35 years. During his time with SHIP, Mr. Ferris provided oversight of Community Services Funding and coordinated Substance use Services. Since 1990, Mr. Ferris was responsible for development of policies and protocols, as well as programs that addressed the unique treatment needs of people with traumatic brain injuries and substance use disorders. In addition, Mr. Ferris coordinated Technical Assistance Services, clinical consultations for SHIP. Mr. Ferris does consulting work where he shares his expertise and experience in working with person with brain injuries and substance use disorders.