PHARM 7520EX - Addiction Policies

External - Trimester 3 - 2021

This course/module is designed to provide students of differing backgrounds an understanding of the process by which international addiction health policy is formed and reformed around the use and misuse of both licit and illicit drugs. The course/module will look at the epidemiology of addiction around the world and the relationship between the burden of addiction and the corresponding effects of national and international drug policies.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PHARM 7520EX
    Course Addiction Policies
    Coordinating Unit Medical Sciences
    Term Trimester 3
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s External
    Units 4
    Contact Online
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Available for non-Award study after consultation with Program Director (students need to enrol at VCU and meet GradCert in International Addiction Studies entry criteria)
    Course Description This course/module is designed to provide students of differing backgrounds an understanding of the process by which international addiction health policy is formed and reformed around the use and misuse of both licit and illicit drugs. The course/module will look at the epidemiology of addiction around the world and the relationship between the burden of addiction and the corresponding effects of national and international drug policies.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Andrea Gordon

    This course is being taught by the IPAS staff at VCU.
    Course Timetable

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

    This course is a component of the International Program of Addiction Studies provided by the University of Adelaide in collaboration with Kings College London (UK) and Virginia Commonwealth University (USA). Courses are offered on a modified semester schedule. This course is scheduled to commence in the first week of February, and run over 14 weeks with 4 one-week study breaks and concluding with an exam.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    At the end of this unit you should be able to demonstrate an understanding of:
    1. Trends in the history of drug and alcohol policy development;
    2. Current controversies related to drug and alcohol policy
    3. National policy approaches from around the globe and the differences among them ;
    4. The role of international organizations and international treaties in drug-related interventions;
    5. Various stakeholder group shaping and affected by drug and alcohol policy;
    6. Differences between policies that intervene at the level of supply vs. those that intervene at the level of demand;
    7. Drug control strategies, including, but not limited to economic, regulatory, criminal justice, treatment policy, media/social marketing, practical guidelines, and harm reduction strategies; 8. How substance abuse services are organized and financed;
    9. the complex relationship between political trends, policy and public health effects;
    10. How substance-related research can influence policy.

    Skills and Attitudes
    You will be expected to develop and/or enhance your:
    11. knowledge of historical and current influences on the development and implementation of drug and alcohol policy;
    12. competence in critically comparing policies and understanding the affect of policy decisions on public health outcomes and cost ;
    13. ability to effectively synthesize information and ideas in relation to controversies associated with drug and alcohol-related policy;
    14. academic writing skills;
    15. ability to effectively use online resources related to drug and alcohol policy;
    16. ability to effectively communicate your intellectual curiosity and knowledge to others in an online discussion.
    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    All required resources will be available online, usually through the libraries of the three universities involved in the program.
    Recommended Resources
    Information on recommended resources will be provided online, usually as links to online material.
    Online Learning
    This course is provided totally online. The International Program in Addiction Studies is currently hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University. Course materials are provided on the VCU equivalent of MyUni (MyVCU).
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The online delivery offers flexibility, but students are encouraged to go through the work at the same pace so as to make best use of the online discussion.

    The course is provided as a series of topics. Each study topic comprises:
    • a topic outline describing the components and learning objectives;
    • a concept lecture (or lectures);
    • essential and additional readings;
    • a quiz to test your understanding (not graded); and
    • a discussion forum.

    The discussion forum is used to clarify any issues, practise writing and professional discussions (e.g. using references) and to share experiences. It is not a chat room, but more resembles an open panel discussion. In some courses, depending on interest of the students, wikis or other interactive tools may be used to increase collaboration further.

    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 will be taught:
    1. The historical, philosophical, and legal underpinnings of drug and addiction policy
    • History of policy development 
    • Addiction policy, politics, and public health 
    • Development of international drug control conventions and international organizations: Treaties for controlling substances and access to controlled medications
    2. Trends in national and international drug policies and drug and addiction control strategies
    • Drug policy levers and control strategies (supply reduction, demand reduction and harm reduction)
    • National and international drug policies
    • Alcohol policy 
    3. Influences on the development of policy and the role of science in addiction policy
    • Stakeholders (NGOs and community organizations)
    • Bridging the research-policy divide 
    4. Current topics and controversies
    • Tobacco, alcohol and drug policies
    • Legalization of marijuana
    Specific Course Requirements
    Not applicable
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Not applicable
  • 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

    Weeks 1-10

    Discussion Board participation Summative Weeks 1-10 20%
    Brief Exercises on Appropriate use of Source Material, Database Searches Summative Weeks 3&4 5%
    Written Assignments x 2 Summative Week 6 35% (15% and 20% respectively)
    Written Examination Summative Week 11 40%
    The Host University’s policies and procedures relating to assessment and examinations will apply as governed by an agreement with Kings' College London and Virginia Commonwealth University.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Not applicable
    Assessment Detail

    Online tests that are designed to increase the level of understanding of the course material are offered for each topic. Feedback will be provided in the form of model answers or comments and scores, but results do not contribute to the final grade for the course.


    Discussion Board
    Students are required to participant in at least seven discussion forums.

    Brief Exercises
    Students will be required to complete two short exercises that together, will constitute 5% of your mark. The first exercise will ask you to read about appropriate use of information from sources and respond to a series of 10-15 questions in order to demonstrate your comprehension of the material. The second exercise asks you to complete a search in one of the several databases available to you through the library system (e.g., PubMed, PsycInfo) and describe the results of that search.

    Essay Assignments
    The first essay topic and instructions will be in Week 3 on VCU Blackboard. It is important that your first essay assignments should be approximately 1500 words; your second assignment 2500 words in length. Longer or shorter essays (10% more or less than the word limit) will be marked down 10% of the grade. Your essays should demonstrate a scholarly knowledge of the literature, but also a
    personal and creative engagement with the ideas raised.

    Written Examination
    The one hour exam will comprise multiple choice and short answer questions and will be closed book. 
    Specific instructions on the preparation and submission of written assignments will be provided on the VCU equivalent of MyUni (known as MyVCU).
    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.