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COU8013 Introduction to Psychoactive Drugs

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 : 27 June 2022


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


In the years since the mid-1980s, Australia has developed a multifaceted public health approach to the problem of alcohol and other drug (AOD) use and misuse. Just as multifaceted, however, is the nature of the problem itself. The use of psychoactive substances can vary widely in terms of method of administration or ingestion, the interaction with an individual’s biology and psychological makeup, and the potential for recovery and rehabilitation. For those who work with alcohol and/or drug using clients, knowledge of the range of substances and their presentation is fundamental to decisions regarding intervention and treatment. A thorough grounding in such knowledge enables competent discrimination between the types of substance used, their effects on individual clients, and the capacity to distinguish AOD effects from biological and environmental factors.

This course focuses primarily on acquisition of foundation knowledge and is divided into three parts. The first part, Modules 1 and 2, concern the evolution and current status of drug classification systems, as well as information about the psychophysiology of drug addiction. The second part, Modules 3 to 9, focuses on specific classes of drugs, including stimulants, depressants, and alcohol, and covers all of the common and emergent forms of substance misuse. Students are guided through readings and activities to develop their core knowledge of drug classes, the effects of each drug type, including physical, psychological, and teratogenic risks, and the rehabilitative potential for each. The final aspect of the course, Module 10, pertains to ethics and cultural factors as a foundation for professional practice. The course is presented in a structured 10-module format, and assessed via a series of online quizzes and a major written assignment addressing a discipline-specific or practice-relevant topic.

Course offers

Semester Mode Campus
Semester 2, 2022 Online
Date printed 27 June 2022