This qualification is designed for learners who wish to develop their knowledge and understanding of substance misuse in order to:

  • raise awareness of substance misuse and its consequences
  • improve the knowledge, awareness, understanding and effectiveness of those currently working in the field of substance misuse or supporting people involved in substance misuse
  • work to prevent substance misuse

This qualification does not lead directly to an employed role. However, the knowledge gained would be useful in a variety of settings, both professional, paraprofessional and personal, for example:

  • supporting those working in Tier 1 services by providing an overview of the subject
  • enhancing understanding of those already working therapeutically eg counsellors, support workers, key workers
  • benefiting parents and carers by virtue of increased knowledge and awareness
  • helping and supporting others either in a voluntary or employed capacity.
Entry requirements

No previous training or experience is required to undertake this qualification but please read section 5 of the Specification for further information.


This qualification is eligible for funding in England under local flexibility arrangements.

Candidates in England may also be able to access funding according to individual entitlement criteria (e.g. related to age and/or employment status and/or prior qualifications).

For more detail see funding information.

Where to study Use our centre finder to find a 'Level 2 Award in Understanding Substance Misuse (USM-L2)' course near you.
Key Information Qualification Number 500/4684/6 Guided Learning Hours 30 hours (minimum) Total Qualification Time 58 hours Credit value 6 Minimum age 16 years
USM-L2 is a stand-alone qualification. However, progression is available to Level 2 or Level 3 National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) in Health & Social Care (H&SC), and/or level 2 counselling skills qualifications and/or level 3 substance misuse qualifications.