PHARM 7517EX - Treatment of Addiction: Pharmacotherapies

External - Trimester 1 - 2015

This course is designed to provide an overview of the pharmacological management of alcohol and drug addiction. It will cover the management of withdrawal from alcohol, sedatives, opioids, cannabis and stimulants as well as long-term management of dependence on opioids, tobacco and alcohol. Additional topics include international perspectives on management of dependence, management of dependence during pregnancy and the process of medication development.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PHARM 7517EX
    Course Treatment of Addiction: Pharmacotherapies
    Coordinating Unit Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology
    Term Trimester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s External
    Units 4
    Contact Online
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Available to MSciAddictSt, GradCert and Grad Dip in International Addiction studies students only
    Course Description This course is designed to provide an overview of the pharmacological management of alcohol and drug addiction. It will cover the management of withdrawal from alcohol, sedatives, opioids, cannabis and stimulants as well as long-term management of dependence on opioids, tobacco and alcohol. Additional topics include international perspectives on management of dependence, management of dependence during pregnancy and the process of medication development.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Femke Buisman-Pijlman

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Week 1 Topic 1
    Week 2 Topic 2
    Week 3 Topic 3
    Week 4 Topic 4
    Week 5 Topic 5 / Assignment 1
    Week 6 Topic 6
    Week 7 Topic 7
    Week 8 Topic 8
    Week 9 Topic 9
    Week 10 Topic 10 / Assignment 2
    Week 11 Exam

    This schedule is indicative of the timetable only.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    No information currently available.

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Each week new material is released that you will work through. Your first focus should be on the Topic outline as this describes what you need to master on a certain topic and what information is available to you. Each study topic is comprised of the following components:
    • learning objectives
    • revision questions
    • concept lecture
    • readings
    • quiz to test your understanding (not graded)
    • discussion forum
    The topic outline, lecture and other documents will be available on Blackboard in a separate folder for each topic. Study material for each consecutive topic will usually be made available online on Monday of each study week since you will have one new topic each week.
    Each topic has a Topic Outline which describes the components and the learning objectives. Learning objectives describe what will be tested in the exam. Topics can have subtopics (A and B etc). Please look at the timetable in the back to verify which topics have to be done in which week. It is best if you avoid the temptation to skim through the topics. Systematically working through them at a reasonable pace will bring better results. However, let us know if you need to complete some topics ahead of time due to work or family commitments. We will provide individual access to the essential study material and will help you adjust your timetable to your circumstances.

    There are strict rules that apply to the use of online study material. Students are expected to become familiar with copyright information prior to accessing online study material:


    Lectures are used to provide a framework for your learning. They have been prepared by experts in the field: IPAS lecturers and external guest lecturers. Lectures are provided online as a PowerPoint presentation with voice-over. While viewing/listening to a lecture you can stop, pause, scroll forward or back as necessary. You can use the menu to find a specific topic. The presentations often include a biography and picture of the lecturer. Lectures are usually approximately one hour in duration, but may vary between 45 and 90 minutes. Some topics have more than one subtopic and can have separate lectures and readings for these subtopics.

    PowerPoint slides for each lecture are also available online as pdf files.


    Essential Readings
    One or more essential readings have been set for each topic and this material can be assessed in the exam. Readings are selected to complement and expand on issues discussed in the concept lecture. Readings often have more information than what is describe in the learning objectives; only the items described in the learning objectives will be examined.

    Additional Readings
    A number of additional readings have also been included. You are not expected to know information from these readings by heart for the exam, but they may help your understanding of the issues learned and could be used in your assignment and/or examination answers to exemplify important concepts. Readings are available online for each topic. You can use your access to the library to find publications, if a direct link is not provided. Lecturers may also suggest additional readings. These will not be assessed unless these are specifically listed as essential readings in the topic outline.


    The learning objectives are provided for each study topic and are listed in the Topic Outlines. Use them to guide your revision of the topic. The revision questions are an example of questions that can be used in the exam. You can test your understanding of the material by doing the online tests we provide in Blackboard for each topic. These do not provide comprehensive cover of the topic. You will get direct feedback to your response. These tests are not graded or monitored and you can repeat them if you want.


    The Discussion Board is a great forum to discuss your understanding with others and to share your insights. It is a formal professional forum where you practice your professional skills. Posts should focus on content, not be opinion-based but rely on evidence from the literature.

    Detailed information and instructions for Discussion Board participation are provided in the Program Guidelines and Policies booklet. You are required to contribute to the discussion and your contributions will also strongly contribute to your grade. You will be graded on participation and professional communication skills.

    In this course/module, study topic discussions will usually be initiated on the Monday of each study week. For some topics the teaching staff will start a discussion by posting one or more questions or suggesting threads for discussion. For other topics students will be expected to identify issues and initiate discussion themselves. Students are expected to check the Discussion Board repeatedly for each topic.

    The topic discussion will usually continue for two weeks at which time the forum will close for that week. This is also your opportunity to share your professional or research experience and learn from your fellow students. Since most students have experience in the field, this will also be a valuable learning environment. You can embed your experiences with research that has been published.
    A number of general forums (e.g., Administrative Issues; Academic Issues) will remain open throughout the course/module and their content, while monitored regularly, will not be assessed.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The expected work load for the course is 20 hours a week. This will be spent on reviewing the video and reading material, doing the revision quizzes, engaging in discussion and preparing for the assessments.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The following topics may be covered:

    Topic 1:  General Introduction: Current Pharmacological Treatment, Service Delivery and Future Directions
    Topic 2:  Short-term Management of Withdrawal of (A) Alcohol; (B) Sedatives
    Topic 3:  Short-term Management of Opioid Withdrawal
    Topic 4:  Cannabis and Stimulant Withdrawal and Dependence
    Topic 5:  Long-term Management of Opioid Dependence:  Agonist Maintenance; Antagonist Maintenance
    Topic 6:  Treatment of Opioid Dependence: International Comparison
    Topic 7:  Long-term Management of Tobacco Dependence
    Topic 8:  Long-term Management of Alcohol Dependence
    Topic 9:  Management of Drug Dependence during Pregnancy and Perinatal Period
    Topic 10:  Medication Development and Clinical Trials

    You will do one topic each week; two topics have subtopics.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due (approx)
    Weighting Learning Outcome
    Online Tests Formative

    Discussion Board participation Summative Weeks 1-10 20%
    Written Assignment 1 Summative Week 5 5%
    Written Assignment 2:  Essay Summative Week 10 35%
    Written Examination Summative Week 11 40%
    For the actual dates please refer to the course handbook.
    Assessment Detail

    Formative assessment (or non-graded) in this course/module includes online tests that are designed to help you study and increase your level of understanding of the course/module material. The tests will be undertaken online, on a weekly basis. Feedback will be provided in the form of model answers or comments and question/test scores (you will see your own results for each question in the test and the class average). You can attempt the tests multiple times (and achieve the highest score possible, if you wish). However, only the last attempt is saved.

    Since this assessment is formative, the scores for these tests will not contribute to your final grade for the course/module, however it is the quickest way to receive feedback on your performance. We strongly recommend that you take all the quizzes.


    Discussion Board
    Students report that participating in the discussion forums motivates learning and is an effective way to communicate with others about the course/module material. It will also prepare you for the written assessment, particularly if you use the Discussion Board to practice writing concise and informative comments and raise issues for discussion.

    In the first week of the course, all students will be required to post an initial extended original response to the question(s) posed by the instructor. In addition to an original response, all students will also be responsible for providing at least two responses/follow-up questions to the posts of other students. Failure to provide additional posts will reduce marks for the week’s discussion. Having all students participate in the first week’s discussion will allow students to become engaged with the course material immediately, and also will allow instructors to provide feedback to all students early in the course to shape their ongoing work.

    Following the first week, students will be divided into three groups (A, B, and C). In the weeks that follow, students in each group will take turns leading the discussion. So, for example, in week 2, students assigned to group A will provide extended responses to the weekly question, while students in groups B and C will be responsible for reading the extended posting of their peers and responding to or commenting on, at minimum, the posts of two different classmates. In week 3, group B will take the lead and groups A and C will comment, while in week 4, group C will take the lead. Students in the lead group for a particular week will also need to provide two additional responses in addition to their initial response, and attempt to address any questions posted to them. Students may provide more than two additional responses, but this is the minimum expected.

    Thus, each student is responsible for formally and fully responding to the week’s discussion question(s) during three weeks: Week 1 (all students) and two additional weeks. There will be at least two weeks without an assigned discussion, usually corresponding to weeks that major assignments or examinations are being completed to allow for revision.

    The Discussion Board component of the course will be assessed. The teaching staff will monitor the Forum and moderate the discussion if necessary. Each week that a student serves as a “lead” discussant will count 30% toward their discussion board mark. The remaining weeks, when students are only required to comment on the posts of others will make up the additional 10% of the mark.

    For the weeks you serve as a primary respondent, you will be graded on:

    • Evidence of reading the essential reading material (not copying from it)
    • Level of understanding of the topic
    • Ability to initiate a thread of discussion
    • Critical thinking and debate
    • Respectfully debating with your peers

    For the weeks when students are primarily responding to the posts of others, students will be assessed in terms of the number of responses posted (a minimum of two) and will receive credit for participation.

    *The manner in which Discussion Board is managed may be subject to revision depending upon enrolment.

    Written Assignments
    You will be required to write a short assignment and an essay for this course to train your academic writing skills. 

    The short assignment will be an exercise in discussing the pros and cons of a specific treatment using the literature.  Word length: 500 words (excluding reference list).

    The aim of the essay is to demonstrate understanding of the course material, collect high quality information from peer reviewed journals and critical appraisal of information sources. The topic will be announced on Blackboard. Style requirements are described in the IPAS handbook (Blackboard).  Word length: 2,000 (excluding reference list).

    Written Examination
    In the last week of the course, you will need to sit a supervised exam.  The setup is the same as in the Biological Basis of Addiction course.

    The examination will be one hour in duration and will be done on a computer (no internet access).
    You will only be allowed to sit the exam if you have complied with the requirements described in this handbook and have met any additional requirements communicated to you concerning general IPAS regulations (e.g. payment of fees).
    It will be your responsibility to organise a supervisor and suitable venue with computer.  Please read the detailed information and instructions on examinations in the Program Guidelines and Policies booklet (available on Blackboard at Course Information/Handbooks).

    The Examination Supervisor Details Form is available on Blackboard (Course Information/Forms).

    A Statutory Declaration form is required by the University of Adelaide to be completed to guarantee that you will not discuss or divulge the contents of the examination paper(s) to anyone because you will be sitting the examination(s) at different times.  You will also state that the exam took place according to the rules of the VCU Honour code.  The form is available on Blackboard (Course Information/Forms).  Your Examination Supervisor must witness signing of the statement at your exam; it should be returned with the examination paper(s).  Examination papers will not be marked until a completed Statutory Declaration form is received.

    You will receive and submit your written assignments electronically via the Assignment section in Blackboard or via email if you are instructed to do so. In each course where written assignments are required, you will receive specific instructions as to the manner in which you will be expected to make assignment submissions. Please refer to your course handbook for instructions.

    Please be advised that this is an intensive programme with few breaks. Family holidays and similar events are not considered reasons for an inability to complete assignments. If you need to travel, it is essential that you be aware that it is your responsibility to assure reliable internet access. If you have any doubt of your ability to maintain contact with the programme, you must let us know ahead of time, and you can chose not to enroll in a course.


    Several courses use exams that can be either supervised written exams or computer-based open book exam. These exams will have a specific time at which they need to be completed. The duration and mode of the examination may vary by course/module at the discretion of the course/module director.

    Supervisor and Venue

    Where there is an unseen written examination, the student will be responsible for organising both venue (with computer) and examination supervisor. Your course/module handbook will indicate the date by which you will have to provide the course/module coordinator with the details of your nominated examiner. This mode of examiniation offers many advantages to the student, such as flexibility in time and location of the exam. If you feel disadvantaged by sitting the exam on a computer (e.g. due to disability), you may request alternative arrangements based on the normal VCU exam regulations in a timely fashion.

    The nominated person should be university level academic personnel. If you have difficulty finding an independent academic, please contact your course/module co-ordinator.

    The supervisor should not be a member of your immediate family or a work colleague.

    The Exam Supervisor Details form is available on Blackboard. The completed form should be returned to the course co-ordinator by the due date indicated on Blackboard. A statutory declaration form will be signed by the supervisor and the student at the time of the exam. The examination parcel will be emailed to the nominated supervisor along with the Exam Supervisor Instruction Sheet. Note that we cannot accept responsibility for your supervisor not receiving the examination paper if the form is not received by the due date. The examination supervisor will be responsible for conducting the examination according to the instructions and sending the documents back to us. Exam work from closed-book exams submitted by students will not be marked.

    A venue must provide the student with privacy and quiet for the duration of the examination. A suitable venue, for example, might be a classroom at the local high school, or side room in a library. Most examinations may require a computer (without internet access).

    Examination Materials
    All written examinations may be “open-book” or “closed book”.

    The examiner is responsible for ensuring that the student does not take any material into the examination that would contravene the regulations of the Programme. Students may take a small bag into the examination venue. They should remove any materials permitted in the examination venue on their arrival, then place the bag under their desk until they leave. Mobile phones need to be handed to the examiner. Students are not allowed to take notes or exam papers out of the exam venue.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.