This course is based upon course material developed and deployed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The course material was specifically developed for the training of clinicians who work with clients who may use or abuse alcohol. The course material can be found on the NIAAAs website at the following link:
This course delineates the special ethical and legal concerns related to the treatment and prevention of alcohol use disorders. General ethical guidelines established by the National Association of Social Workers (Code of Ethics, 1996) and state licensing laws are relevant to the area of substance abuse practice. Although the course is based in part on the NASW code of ethical standards, there is enough in common with the other disciplines in psychology and mental health to make it appropriate and a good learning experience for members of other disciplines. This course focuses on the special issues that pertain to alcohol use disorders:
· Informed consent
· The duty to care
· Respecting client self-determination
· Credentialing mechanisms
Ethical concerns in alcohol treatment are often complex and multidimensional and may or may not be addressed in laws and professional ethics codes (Corey, Corey, & Callanan, 1998). Codes of ethical practice serve to educate and inform professionals about sound ethical behavior. They may mandate a minimal standard of practice, though not necessarily the highest standards or best practices to which we aspire. Moral principles form the basis of a professional code of ethics: autonomy (including client self-determination), nonmalfeasance (avoiding harm), beneficence (promoting good for others), justice (fair and equitable treatment to all), fidelity (honoring commitments), and veracity (truthfulness).
This course on legal and ethical issues in alcohol use disorders is practical for social workers, addiction professionals, professional counselors, psychologists, and chemical dependency counselors who practice and need continuing education. This course is appropriate for beginning, intermediate and advanced level practitioners who wish to develop their understanding of legal and ethical issues in the assessment and treatment of alcohol use. It may also be useful for licensed clinicians who require ethics course credits and are interested in learning about a specific perspective on the problem.
Authors: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Learning Objectives: This course will provide the practitioner with detailed information regarding legal and ethical issues in the assessment and treatment of alcohol use disorders. Specifically, a professional will:
· Recognize the unique confidentiality requirements for alcohol use disorder treatment and prevention programs.
· Identify the special requirements pertinent to obtaining informed consent for substance abuse treatment programs.
· Examine the issue of duty of care as it relates to this population and to these programs
Citation: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Module 9 Legal and Ethical Issues in Prevention and Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorders. Retrieved from