Curriculum Series


The Universal Prevention Curriculum for Substance Use (UPC)

Recent research progress in the field of psychosocial science and neuroscience have underlined the importance of prevention and introduced new preventative methods and practices applied at the individual and community levels. Knowledge on identified risk and protective factors that partially determine the likelihood of drug use, resulted in development of integrated interventions at the school, family and community levels. The Universal Prevention Curriculum for Substance Use (UPC) covers is based on the latest research and tools, necessary to implement prevention strategies and interventions in various communities.

The Universal Prevention Curriculum has been developed to meet the current demands for evidence-based practices in the area of substance use prevention. The UPC has 2 series: UPC Series 1 and UPC Series 2.

UPC Series 1

UPC 1 provides a 288-hours training programme for prevention coordinators who coordinate and supervise the implementation of prevention interventions and/or policies. This series is composed of nine curricula as follows:


Course 1
Introduction to Prevention Science

Provides an overview of the science that underlies evidence-based prevention interventions and strategies, and the application of these effective approaches in prevention practice.

(40 hours)

Course 2
Physiology and Pharmacology for Prevention Specialists

Provides an overview of the physiology and pharmacology of psychoactive substances and their effects on the brain to affect mood, cognition, and behaviour and the consequences of such use on the individual, the family and the community.

(24 hours)

Course 3
Monitoring and Evaluation of Prevention Interventions and Policies

Provides an overview of primary evaluation methods used to measure evidence-based prevention interventions and guidance in applying them to “real-world” prevention settings.

(40 hours)

Course 4
Family-based Prevention Interventions

Provides an overview of the family as the primary socialisation agent of children, the science behind family-based prevention interventions, and the application of such evidence-based approaches to help prevent the onset of substance use in children.

(32 hours)

Course 5
School-based Prevention Interventions

Provides an overview of the school in society, the science behind school-based prevention interventions, and the application of such evidence-based approaches in school settings around the world.

(40 hours)

UPC 1_6

Course 6
Workplace-based Prevention Interventions

Provides an overview of the role of work and the workplace in society, how stressors and other work-related influences affect people’s risk of substance use, the science behind workplace prevention interventions, and the application of such evidence-based approaches in work settings around the world.

(24 hours)


Course 7
Environmental Prevention Interventions

Provides an overview of the science underlying evidence-based substance use prevention environmental interventions, involving policy and community-wide strategies.

(24 hours)


Course 8
Media Prevention Interventions

Provides an overview of the science underlying the use of media for substance use prevention interventions.

(24 hours)


Course 9
Community-based Prevention Implementation Systems

Provides an overview of the science underlying the systems approach to prevention interventions and guidance on developing such approaches, as well as exemplars of evidence-based drug use prevention systems.

(40 hours)

UPC Series 2

UPC Series 2 provides in-depth knowledge and skills to prevention specialists who implement prevention interventions and/or policies. It provides a core set of curriculum that introduces prevention specialists to the theoretical foundations of evidence-based prevention programming, and provides a more in-depth understanding of the content, structure, effective delivery, and monitoring and evaluation of the short- and long-term impact of the interventions and policies.

UPC Series 2 consists of seven training tracks – School, Family, Environmental, Media, Workplace, Prevention Delivery Systems and Monitoring and Evaluation. A brief description of these tracks are as follows:

School-Based Prevention Track (140 hours)

  • Curriculum 1: Introduction to Prevention Science
  • Curriculum 2: Schools as Prime Sites for Prevention
  • Curriculum 3: Child Development and Prevention
  • Curriculum 4: Needs Assessment and Planning
  • Curriculum 5: Review of Evidence-Based Prevention Interventions and Policies
  • Curriculum 6: Selection, Adaptation and implementation of Prevention Programming
  • Curriculum 7: Monitoring and Evaluation in School Prevention Programming

Family-Based Prevention Track (140 hours)

  • Curriculum 1: Introduction to Prevention Science
  • Curriculum 2: Introduction to the Family
  • Curriculum 3: Family-based Interventions: Types and Evidence
  • Curriculum 4: Examples of High-quality Family-based Prevention Interventions
  • Curriculum 5: Implementing Family-based Prevention Programmes: Barriers and Solutions
  • Curriculum 6: Monitoring and Evaluation in Family Prevention Programming

Environmental Prevention Interventions and Policies Track (110 hours)

  • Curriculum 1: Introduction to Prevention Science
  • Curriculum 2: Role of Environmental Interventions within the Socialisation and Prevention Framework
  • Curriculum 3: Policies and other Environmental Interventions in the Micro-level Environment of Schools and the Workplace
  • Curriculum 4: Principles of Effective Community-Wide Policies, Regulations, and Laws with Examples of Evidence-based Environmental Strategies
  • Curriculum 5: Barriers and Enhancers of Effective Implementation of Environmental Interventions
  • Curriculum 6: Monitoring and Evaluation as Applied to Environmental Interventions

Media Track (115 hours)

  • Curriculum 1: Introduction to Prevention Science
  • Curriculum 2: Introduction to Media and their Use in Prevention
  • Curriculum 3: The Nature of Media and Theories of Media Effects
  • Curriculum 4: Overcoming Resistance
  • Curriculum 5: Types of Persuasive Media: Advantages, Shortcomings and Peculiarities
  • Curriculum 6: Monitoring and Evaluation as Applied to Media

Workplace-based Prevention Track (130 hours)

  • Curriculum 1: Introduction to Prevention Science
  • Curriculum 2: The Role of the Workplace in Prevention
  • Curriculum 3: Why the Workplace is an Important Setting for Drug Use Prevention Programmes
  • Curriculum 4: Key Components of Workplace Drug Use Prevention Programmes and Policies
  • Curriculum 5: Overview of the UNODC International Standards Evidence-based Prevention Programmes
  • Curriculum 6: Adapting and Implementing Workplace-Based Programmes
  • Curriculum 7: Monitoring and Evaluation as Applied to the Workplace

Prevention Delivery Systems Track (150 hours)

  • Curriculum 1: Introduction to Prevention Science
  • Curriculum 2: Evidence-based Intervention Delivery Systems: Overview and Background
  • Curriculum 3: Adopting a Multiple-level Problem-Solving Prevention Approach
  • Curriculum 4: Organising a Community Team
  • Curriculum 5: Selecting, Adapting, and Implementing Evidence-based Interventions
  • Curriculum 6: Sustaining Quality Implementation of Evidence-based Interventions
  • Curriculum 7: Networking with Other Communities and National-level Support Systems
  • Curriculum 8: Monitoring and Evaluation As Applied to Prevention Systems

Monitoring and Evaluation Track (100 hours)

  • Curriculum 1: Introduction to Monitoring and Evaluation—Data Collection Methodologies
  • Curriculum 2: Monitoring and Evaluation—What is it?
  • Curriculum 3: Building and Using Logic Models
  • Curriculum 4: Monitoring and Evaluating Evidence-Based Prevention Interventions and Policies
  • Curriculum 5: Working Effectively with Evaluation Research Consultants

The Universal Treatment Curriculum for Substance Use Disorders (UTC)

Substance use treatment is perpetually making advances in effective and evidence-based treatment modalities. Remaining up to date on the latest research in evidence-based practice and enhancing new skills of addiction professionals is imperative to ensure quality of services provided to people with SUDs and improve treatment outcomes.

The ICCE Universal Treatment Curriculum for Substance Use Disorders (UTC) is developed for the training and credentialing of addiction professionals. The overall goal of training series is to reduce the significant health, social and economic problems associated with SUDs by building international treatment capacity through training, professionalising, and expanding the global treatment workforce.


The UTC basic level training series is a set of eight training curriculum that covers the broad spectrum of substance use disorder treatment. It aims to enhance the knowledge, skills and competency level of addiction professionals by providing them with a solid foundational understanding of the science of addiction and latest information on evidence-based practices in substance use disorders (SUD) treatment interventions.The training series further aims to build up the confidence of treatment practitioners in the delivery of quality care and services that could help improve treatment outcomes.

The training on the UTC likewise prepares the counsellors for basic level professional certification. The credentialing programme aims to raise the professional standards and provide a benchmark for practitioners in the field.


Course 1
Physiology and Pharmacology for Addiction Professionals

The curriculum presents a comprehensive overview of addiction; provides an understanding of the physiology of addiction as a brain disease; and describes the pharmacology of psychoactive substances.

(24 hours)


Course 2
Treatment for Substance Use Disorders–The Continuum of Care for Addiction Professionals

The curriculum provides the foundation for learning about SUD treatment. It gives an overview of recovery and recovery management, stages of change, principles of effective treatment, components of treatment and evidence-based practices.

(40 hours)


Course 3
Common Co-Occurring Mental and Medical Disorders- An Overview for Addiction Professionals

This foundational course provides an overview of the relationship of co-occurring mental and medical disorders and SUD related treatment issues.

(24 hours)


Course 4
Basic Counselling Skills for Addiction Professionals

The curriculum provides an overview of the helping relationship and the opportunity to practice core counselling including basic skills in motivational interviewing, group counselling and implementation of psychoeducation sessions.

(40 hours)


Course 5
Intake, Screening, Assessment, Treatment Planning and Documentation for Addiction Professionals

This curriculum is a skills-based course that teaches effective and integrated Intake, Screening, Assessment, Treatment Planning and Documentation procedures to Addiction Professionals.

(40 hours)


Course 6
Case Management for Addiction Professionals

The curriculum is a foundational and skill-based course that provides an overview of case management in SUD treatment and provides skills practice in case management functions.

(16 hours)


Course 7
Crisis Intervention for Addiction Professionals

The curriculum addresses the concept of crisis as a part of life and provides guidelines for crisis intervention, including managing suicide risk. It also addresses ways counsellors can avoid personal crisis situations by providing information and exercises about counsellor self-care.

(16 hours)


Course 8
Ethics for Addiction Professionals

The curriculum addresses professional conduct and ethical behaviour in SUD treatment. Topics include confidentiality, ethical principles and professional codes of ethics. It also highlights the importance of supervision as part of ethical practice. In this curriculum, the participants are given the opportunity to learn and practice the use of an ethical decision-making model through case study analyses. As part of the integration, participants will develop their code of ethics.

(32 hours)

The UTC advanced level is a set of 10 course, which is currently being developed to provide a more comprehensive and theoretical foundation in the clinical practice of substance use disorder treatment. It is a specialised training that aims to provide an in-depth continuing education with the latest information and skills-based activities to further enhance the capacity of the treatment workforce and standardise the quality of care and services they provide for their clients.

UTC_9Course 9
Pharmacology and Substance Use Disorders

The course provides an overview of pharmacology through the identification of the Classification of drugs into separate categories based upon their effects on the Central Nervous System and their potential for addiction. It provides understanding of the role of neurotransmitters or brain chemicals in the development of addiction and the psychological implications of substance use disorders.

CourseUTC_10 10
Managing Medication Assisted Treatment Programs

This course is both foundational and skills-based that is meant to provide an understanding of the importance of medication in SUD treatment and the implementation of medication assisted treatment programmes.

UTC_11Course 11
Enhancing Motivational Interviewing Skills

This course provides an in-depth understanding of the theory and application of Motivational Interviewing strategies and interventions in SUD treatment.

UTC_12Course 12
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This course provides an overview of cognitive –behavior therapy goals, techniques and its application in SUD treatment and comorbid disorders.

CourseUTC_13 13
Contingency Management

This is a foundational course that provides an understanding of the theories and principles of Reinforcement-based treatment, in general, and specifically the Contingency Management approach. The course covers the use of behavioral interventions in the treatment of SUDs, and the basic components of CM and its application.

CourseUTC_14 14
Working with families

The curriculum provides a comprehensive overview for SUD treatment practitioners  working with families dealing with substance use disorders.  The discussion covers the impact of SUD on family, its coping mechanisms, recovery issues and interventions that can be implemented.

CourseUTC_15 15
Skills for Managing Co-Occurring Disorders

This skills based course is meant to enhance participant’s understanding of co-occurring disorders, substance-related disorders, and mental disorders, develop skills to identify and provide intervention to people with SUD and other co-occurring medical and mental disorders.

CourseUTC_16 16
Advanced Clinical Skills

This course provides an overview of the various theories of counseling, techniques specific to each theory and its application to SUD treatment. Participants will be the opportunity to develop or enhance a solid foundation in the practice of counseling.

CourseUTC_17 17
Case Management Skills and Practice

This course is designed to provide the opportunity to enhance competency in case management through a better understanding of the important roles and skills of case managers.

Course 18UTC_18
Clinical Skills for Substance Use Disorder Professionals

This course provides an understanding of clinical supervision as discusses an overview of the fundamentals, principles, models and methods of supervision. This is also meant to lay out the roles, functions, skills and competencies of clinical supervisors.

Guiding The Recovery Of Women (GROW) Training For Women Counsellors

In the field of substance abuse treatment, women with substance use problems have not been given enough attention in the development of policies and treatment services because of their very small population and the dearth of information available about them. Women with substance use problems have various considerations and needs which may complicate the treatment process. It is paramount for any treatment programme to address these specialised needs, and provide gender-­responsive interventions to fully encourage and engage women in seeking treatment.

Various issues of women with substance use problems have been identified, such as, having fewer resources (education, employment, income) than men, more likely to be living with a partner with a substance use problem, have care of dependent children and have more severe problems at the beginning of treatment. As compared to men, women with substance use problems also have higher rates of trauma related to physical and sexual abuse and concurrent psychiatric disorders, particularly post-­traumatic stress disorder and other mood and anxiety disorders.

Presently, there is a gap in the treatment service provision for women with substance use problems. Aside from the limited information and training on evidence-­based treatment approaches and interventions, there is lack of competent service providers, who are knowledgeable and skilled in the delivery of gender-responsive interventions.

Overall Goals of GROW Curricula

Substance abusing women have limited access to treatment as compared to their male counterparts. Stigma and the lack of treatment opportunities were cited as the main reasons for this situation. However, the lack of gender-­responsive treatment methods and modalities also contributed to this condition. Gender-responsive interventions understand the necessity of providing comprehensive services to address the multiple issues that frequently undermine a women’s recovery. Studies of comprehensive or enhanced treatment programmes specifically designed to meet women’s needs have been found to improve post-­treatment outcomes. Hence, in developing gender-­responsive programmes, the needs of women in all aspects must be considered in terms of the programme design and delivery, content and materials.

The GROW Curricula has been designed to train substance abuse treatment professionals on gender-­responsive methods and modalities. It aims to do so through the provision of the latest research on evidence-based gender-responsive treatments for women and the introduction of key principles by experts in the field. Each curriculum is meant to provide insight and direction to organisations that work with women in recovery from substance use disorders.

The GROW Curricula

The GROW Training Series has ten curricula, namely, Basic GROW, Adolescents, Co-­occurring Disorders, Trauma, Aftercare, Domestic Violence, Pregnant Addicted Women, Relapse Prevention, Women and Children, and Family Therapy. Similar to the Universal Treatment Curriculum for Substance Use Disorders (UTC), the GROW training is also skills-­based and highly interactive in the teaching methodology. Specifically, it aims to:

Raise awareness of women’s treatment needs through a review of theories and research on addiction, and discuss differences associated with women’s substance use;

Introduce a unifying theory and set of principles that provide a framework for effective treatment interventions that support recovery; and, Identify best practices and considerations for the creation and implementation of gender-­responsive programmes.

Basic GROW

The goal of the curriculum is to provide participants with current information on effective interventions with addicted women. The curriculum provides an overview of substance use and its impact, as well as treatment services for women. Aside from introducing theories and principles that provide a framework for effective treatment interventions that support recovery, it also includes a discussion on barriers for treatment of women with substance abuse problems.

Relapse Prevention Treatment for Women

Since most substance abuse treatment programmes have recognised high relapse rates following treatment, implementing relapse prevention programmes is now considered a standard component of treatment. Several studies suggest that women and minorities, in particular, enter treatment with unique and different needs. A gender-­responsive treatment approach underscores the necessity of interventions tailored to women’s needs which should also include a specific approach to relapse prevention.

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Understanding the Continuum of Care Needs of Women in Recovery

According to research, the best outcomes from treatment of substance use disorders have been seen in clients who participate in continuing care, such as medication-assisted treatment and Alcoholics Anonymous-style support programmes (McLellan et al. 2000). The GROW Continuum of Care module offers a model for sustaining abstinence and progress obtained in treatment. The Continuum of Care module will provide participants with the knowledge and skills needed to develop continuing care services for women in recovery.

Gender-Responsive Substance Abuse Treatment Interventions for Adolescent Girls (GROW GIRLS)

The GROW Curriculum recognises the importance of providing intervention for girls who are struggling with their developmental pathways, conditions and experiences that are leading to substance abuse/addiction, delinquency/life on the streets, and a host of other health issues. GROW offers this curriculum focusing on Gender-responsive Substance Abuse Interventions for Adolescent Girls (GROW-Girls). In understanding the difficulties and challenges they face that lead to addiction and delinquency, it is helpful to consider what girls need for a healthy development, while also recognising the situations and experiences that place them at greater risk.

Treating Women with Children

The focus of this curriculum is to explore the impact of substance abuse and dependence on women and their children. While engaging to effect a recovery system for women, the child/children should not be excluded. The changes the client makes in recovery will have a profound impact on children. Assessment of problems/ needs and provision of interventions to address the issues of women with children should be in place during treatment and post-treatment. Identifying barriers for women with children during the early stages of treatment encourages consistent and long-lasting participation in treatment and recovery services.

Gender-­Responsive Substance Abuse Treatment Interventions for Women with Domestic Violence Experience

Domestic violence, frequently overlooked in treatment and traumatic in nature, is a problem for women, families and society at large. Although substance abuse treatment programmes are only beginning to recognise the importance of gender-responsive interventions, an increase in the provision of comprehensive services to address issues that undermine recovery should be duly noted. The experience of violence, either as a victim or perpetrator, should be addressed during treatment

Gender-Responsive Treatment Interventions that Address Trauma-­Specific Needs of Women

Addiction places women at increased risks of trauma through continued associations with substance using individuals and illicit activities. While trauma is a central element of addiction for women, loosening its grip is a critical component of recovery, freedom from suffering, and emotional wellness.

The GROW Trauma curriculum informs and identifies interventions and best practices that meet the trauma-­specific needs of women in their recovery and healing process. Women with trauma experiences need a safe place to learn, support and encouragement to explore and understand the impact of trauma on their lives and/or continued substance use. Recovery from addiction and healing traumatic experiences almost always leads to new insights, meaning and purpose in life.

Gender-­Responsive Substance Abuse Treatment Interventions for Women with Co-­Occurring Disorders

Advances in treatment for both mental disorders and substance abuse has provided professionals with a greater awareness of the benefits of integrated services. Therefore, the term co-­occurring disorders (COD) more accurately describes the relationship between these conditions and needs of clients. As it relates to women, understanding the importance of integrating treatment services for these conditions is critical to achieving effective outcomes and healthier lives.

Gender-­Responsive Substance Abuse Treatment Interventions for Pregnant Addicted Women

The Pregnant Addicted Women (PAW) module provides participants with an understanding of pregnancy from the perspective of women with substance abuse issues. A wide range of services is recommended and services that support pregnant women’s recovery, as well as ensure optimal comprehensive obstetrical care, is delivered during treatment and post-treatment.

Gender-­Sensitive Approach to Substance Abuse Treatment and the Family

The GROW Family Treatment Curriculum helps participants understand the role of family in the development of substance use/abuse, the impact of addiction on family systems and the value of family interventions to improve recovery outcomes.

Developing Community-Based Recovery Support Systems

Due to the fact that the use of addictive substances negatively affects not only the lives of individuals themselves, but their families and communities as well, recovery from substance use disorders (SUDs) significantly benefits each of these stakeholders. Moreover, by being engaged in the recovery process, families and communities can also serve as supporting factors. However, in order for communities to facilitate and promote recovery, their members need to be familiar with the best practices in peer and community-based interventions and understand how they work.

A recovery-oriented community creates an environment, where recovering persons can both give and receive necessary support. Through individual and joint efforts of various community-based organisations, places of worship, local business organisations, individual entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in a community, the community is able to contribute to intervention support and relapse prevention beyond the scope of traditional addiction treatment.

Cognisant of this fact, ICCE embarked on developing a training curriculum on community-based recovery support systems for Asia and Africa in collaboration with the Chicago-based Center for Health and Justice (CHJ). CHJ is a division of a non-profit organisation called Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) with nearly four decades of experience in facilitating recovery for people with chronic substance use disorders operating in the state of Illinois, USA.

The curriculum, taught during a five-day training workshop contains six sections and covers the following key aspects and topics related to community-based recovery:

Section A. Foundation covers three major topics that offer a basic understanding of the science of addiction, the way addictive substances affect brain and provides a brief overview of the key components of recovery support systems and services.

Section B. Starting With Strength covers the following topics:
Recovery as a Process describes recovery as a process, introduces several pathways to recovery and explains how community-based support systems and services can facilitate the journey to recovery.

Strength-based Approach discusses the value of strength-based approach to recovery support, introduces the concept of “recovery capital” and emphasises positive internal and external factors that support an individual in recovery, such as peer support, education, employment, etc. The material of the module also presents such key concepts, like recovery management and recovery-oriented systems of care. This section also describes key concepts of acute-care and chronic-care, and differences between approaches to recovery that these concepts imply.

Healing Stigma, Shame and Discrimination discusses the reasons, explaining why individuals with SUDs are stigmatised, provides understanding of effects of stigma and shame, on persons with SUDs and the role of community in addressing stigma and promoting acceptance.

Section C. Populations We Serve talks about women, youth, and people in the criminal justice system as three particular groups of people who often do not receive services that address their individual needs and specific concerns, associated with recovery from substance use disorder.

Women in Recovery explores needs, and challenges experienced by women in particular and the ways to provide an effective community-based recovery support for women.

Youth in Recovery provides an understanding of specific challenges in providing recovery support for youth affected by drugs and alcohol.

Criminal Justice and Recovery discusses specific challenges faced by people returning to the community after incarceration and explores the ways to provide support in their recovery and effectively address general and specific challenges in recovery and re-entry to community.

Section D. Community-based Recovery Support Systems covers the following topics:
Framework introduces a number of concepts, including recovery management and recovery-oriented systems of care and helps participants undergoing the training explore ways in which they can apply these concepts in their practice and work with communities.

Outreach, Recovery Coaching and Peer Support describes three important roles a community can play in the recovery-support process (outreach, recovery coaching, and peer support) and emphasises the diversity of individual pathways to recovery. This topic also explores the roles of recovery coaches and types of recovery coach settings.

Section E. Family and Community explores the connections among people and ways in which addiction threatens these connections and in which recovery repairs them. This section provides a deeper understanding of the roles of family and community in recovery, describing them in relevant topics:

The Role of the Family in Recovery provides an understanding of strengths of a family, challenges that families face and ways in which they can be supported to help strengthen and facilitate recovery.

The Role of Community in Recovery introduces the idea of a “recovery-oriented community” and provides an understanding of some challenges that communities face and ways in which communities can be supported to strengthen recovery.

Section F. Carrying the Message presents an opportunity for participants of the trainings programme to share their perception of recovery support through creative activities and leads into the next topic “Making the Plan” that suggests participants to identify elements of their own vision of recovery-oriented community, recovery-oriented systems, and recovery support, which is culturally compatible with their communities and explore strengths in their own communities that can work towards their vision.

Recovery Coach

The Recovery Coach certification can be obtained by an individual who has self-identified as being in recovery from substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders. In addition, a Recovery Coach would have completed specialised training recognised by the Colombo Plan International Centre for Credentialing and Education of Addiction Professionals (ICCE) on how to provide peer recovery services based on the principles of recovery and resiliency.
Recovery Coaches can provide support to others with substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders and help them achieve their personal recovery goals by promoting self-determination, personal responsibility, and empowerment inherent in self-directed recovery.
Direct peer-to-peer services can include a variety of support services, such as:

  • Assisting in the development and achievement of strengths-based individual goals
  • Serving as an advocate, mentor, or facilitator for resolution of issues that a peer is unable to resolve on his/her own
  • Assisting in the development and achievement of rehabilitation goals
  • Developing community support
  • Providing information on ways to maintain personal wellness and recovery
  • Providing information on behavioural health system navigation
Community Outreach

This curriculum outlines the knowledge and process of setting up and operating a community-based outreach programme. It provides a comprehensive overview of core outreach services pertaining to substance use-related problems in the community with an understanding of other additional services. It also provides an understanding of implementing SBIRT (screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment) and ethics for outreach staff.

Village-based Treatment

This curriculum presents a comprehensive overview of village-based treatment programme, which is a low-cost, community-based approach for the treatment of SUDs in areas where facilities are not available.