USQ Logo
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

COU8011 Assessment for Substance Misuse

Semester 1, 2022 Online
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Wellbeing
Student contribution band : Professional Pathway Psych
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 18 May 2022


Examiner: Rebecca Lane


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: GCAD or GDCN or MPPS or GCCO or MCCO


Assessment is the foundation of effective treatment planning and intervention in all areas of health service. Quality assessment provides key information about the frequency, intensity, and duration of a particular problem, in this case, substance misuse. It also provides a baseline against which changes and post-treatment improvements can be measured. As such, a sound assessment methodology forms part of the health practitioner’s evidence base.

As for other courses in the alcohol and drug studies specialisation this course is divided into three parts. The first part concerns principles of assessment, and includes an overview of psychometrics and some of the technical limits that may arise when working with a substance using population. The second part focuses on the core skills of assessment, in terms of how to assess individual patterns of substance use, assessment for predisposing biological factors and precipitating psychosocial factors, assessment for co-morbid mental health problems, risk assessment for suicide, and assessment for change readiness as a foundation for treatment planning. Students are introduced to a range of assessment methods and tools, and guided through the process of critiquing the efficacy of each in their practice settings with respect to various client presentations. The final component of the course pertains to ethics and culture, both of which are either mandated or recommended aspects of training in the health professions. The course follows a structured 10-module format to address the knowledge based components, while the skills components are completed on an ongoing basis and link to the major assignment, an assessable skills demonstration.

Course learning outcomes

On completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Evaluate assessment tools and processes for addictions;
  2. Apply assessment tools and process for addictions with complex client presentations;
  3. Identify behavioural and psychosocial indicators related to substance use;
  4. Utilise best practice frameworks to undertake a comprehensive alcohol and drug use assessment and formulate a treatment plan.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to assessment of clients presenting with drug use and misuse issues 5.00
2. Principles and theories of assessment 10.00
3. Technical considerations of assessment with a substance using population 10.00
4. Assessing clients’ styles of substance use 5.00
5. Biopsychosocial assessment: Biological component 15.00
6. Biopsychosocial assessment: Psychological factors and suicide risk 15.00
7. Biopsychosocial assessment: Social factors 15.00
8. Assessment of co-existing alcohol and drug and other addictions 15.00
9. Biopsychosocial assessment tools 5.00
10. Ethical and cultural aspects of assessment with substance using populations 5.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Approach Type Description Group
Weighting (%) Course learning outcomes
Assignments Oral Presentation (ind, grp, mltmd) No 10 1
Assignments Written Critique (written) No 40 2,3
Assignments Practical Demonstration No 50 4
Date printed 18 May 2022