The Master’s in Drug Dependence at the University of Barcelona: Historical Perspective and Future Challenges


The two-year, multidisciplinary Master’s in Drug Dependence (MDD) at the University of Barcelona was created in 1986, after some years of offering shorter seminars. It was a response to the heroin crisis of the 80s and 90s and Spain’s longstanding alcohol and smoking problems. Addressing the situation required specialised professionals, and a specific curriculum for drug dependence did not exist. As far as we know, the MDD is the longest-running programme of its kind in Europe.


To describe briefly the conceptualisation and development of this master’s programme.


The context of design and creation of the MDD, the historical perspective, and the current context are described. Then its structure and distinctive features are analysed. Next, qualitative and quantitative data are furnished to explain the relevance of the MDD throughout its more than 30 years of existence. 


In conclusion, since its initiation, the MDD has demonstrated the capacity to respond to many socio-cultural changes related to drug dependences. The number of candidates pursuing the MDD, and their satisfaction with the program, has increased over three decades. The workforce market is changing, and the MDD provides a specific and specialised curriculum that facilitates incorporating professionals into the specialised services. The MDD meets new challenges every year. The COVID-19 international pandemic presents the most pressing current challenge. Nevertheless, the MDD has adapted successfully, as it has since its inception.

Ferrer, X., Sierra, E., Solanas, A., Amatller, O., Aspa, J., Ovejero, M., & Calvo, F. (2021). The Master’s in Drug Dependence at the University of Barcelona: Historical perspective and future challenges. Adiktologie, 21 (4), 229–237.
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