I first read about this wonderful learning opportunity on BoingBoing. I remember hearing about another photo course that was creative commons licensed offered by Jonathan Worth many years ago while in grad school. I just listened to the 3 minute preview on the courses website, and I've got to say I'm very excited. I've been working with, for, and around people with substance abuse issues for a number of years. This type of course with this type of topic is much needed.
One of the biggest issues in communicating with people who only understand addiction from media depictions (e.g. images, videos) is that there is often no nuance. There is also a frequent belittling of the people as "addicts," which may be definitionally true, but mostly is used for labeling them as "lesser" or "other." What's exciting about this course―even as I know very little about it―is that it seems to be aimed at doing what much great art does by revealing the person behind the the thing we think we know (e.g. stigma).
I'm supportive of all humanizing efforts for those struggling with addictions and this particular effort makes me very excited because it is blending free education, artistic creation, and aiding media literacy around the subject of substance abuse and addiction. I'm not certain if this course, like the former, will be creative commons licensed (which would be amazing!). My hope is that this course will open many eyes to the nuance, create many photographic artworks that open even more eyes, and ultimately help lead toward lasting change into how we view "addicts" and how we work as a society to assist them.