Press Release

New Master of Addiction Science seeks to revolutionize addiction treatment

Michele Carroll December 05, 2022

Over 20 million people in the United States were diagnosed with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in 2019, yet only 10% of these people received treatment. In 2021, an estimated 107,000 people died of drug overdoses, while every year 95,000 people are estimated to die from alcohol-related causes, making it the third-leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.

The USC Institute for Addiction Science (IAS) aims to revolutionize the way substance use is discussed, treated and prevented through a new Master of Addiction Science (MAS), the first degree of its kind to be offered at a major university, melding pharmaceutical, medicine and social work together. The new program, which recently opened enrollment for fall 2023, is, is a cross-disciplinary curriculum partnership between the USC Alfred E. Mann School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, and Keck School of Medicine of USC Department of Population and Public Health Sciences.

“We’re expecting that the students who graduate from our program will be able to elevate the field, and really apply transformative change to the nature of addiction treatment in this country,” said Jennifer Lewis, associate teaching professor at the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and one of the collaborators in the development of the curriculum for the MAS degree. “We all need to recognize the complexity of addiction. None of us has the key to solving this tremendous social problem alone. The key is working together to make an impact.”

Breaking the barriers between disciplines

Treatment for addiction, like the majority of the health care system, is largely based on a siloed structure of specialists who each treat their own aspect of a patient’s addiction using only the tools within their discipline. The Master of Addiction Science seeks to create a new integrated system of care model that blends science-based disciplines together, providing practitioners with an ability to co-deliver treatment and prevention for greater impact and increased patient satisfaction, while also working closely with researchers to explore emerging scientific developments.(…Read More)