This course arose through student-faculty discussions and examines connections between the sociocultural, environmental and (epi)genetic risk factors for substance dependence. Weekly faculty lectures and student-led discussion groups will review current research in addiction treatment, systems neuroscience and biological psychiatry, and uniquely, will address the sociocultural context of drug use and the effects of harm reduction approaches and drug policy reform. This course includes, but goes beyond, molecular mechanisms with the goal of equipping students with the multidisciplinary knowledge and critical thinking skills necessary for approaching addiction research with objectivity and compassion beyond the course. Students will participate in a site visit to a local treatment center and hear actual patient histories to better understand the reality of addiction. A NIDA training grant workshop will be offered during Quarter II as an optional companion course to assist students in drafting an NRSA-type proposal.