Substance Abuse and Public Health – A Perspective from Behind the Courses

According to the WHO (2019), addiction has multiple public health dimensions encompassing vulnerability to substance use disorders and care of people with substance use disorders, reducing the harm associated with substance misuse, and access to controlled medicines for medical pain relief. The United Nations called for a multi-sectoral approach, especially to the public health-related dimensions of addiction and substance use disorders.


Medical professional, Dr. Carolina Bustillos, a prospective psychiatry resident, has frontline experience in emergency service in Bolivia and has also worked at Covid-19 respiratory clinics. Dr. Bustillos strongly believes that “addiction and mental health disorders are a primary driver of disease.”

She is involved with the Addiction Training for Health Professionals (ATHP) program and is a key Instructional Designer. Dr. Bustillos admires the team’s professionalism and dedication, which makes her proud to be a part of the organization. She remarked that “the responsibility and energy required to create the learning materials invite us to want to be part of a disciplined, varied, cordial team with values.” As an Instructional Designer, her responsibilities include developing, organizing, and evaluating course content and developing assessments. Dr. Bustillos mainly focuses on courses and programs that deal with addiction, mental health, and public health. She emphasized that public health is of utmost importance because “The knowledge related to public health provides the beginning of many solutions to problems that are waiting to be addressed in our society.” 


When talking about the impact of ATHP on Global Public Health, Dr. Bustillos remarked, “Knowledge and the desire to help are always the best gifts someone can give.” She is confident that the materials will “reach different places around the world, and generate a change of vision that reinforces the principles of people who seek freedom from addiction and balanced mental health.”

The Addiction Training for Health Professionals (ATHP) program recognizes that substance use disorders greatly threaten public health. The priority is to prepare healthcare professionals to adequately screen, diagnose and treat patients with substance use disorders through free courses addressing addiction and mental health concerns.

Alixandria Ali

Alixandria Ali


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