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TM5575 - Substance Misuse Prevention

Credit points: 3
Year: 2023
Student Contribution Band: Band 2
Administered by: College of Public Health, Medical and Vet Sciences

In this subject students will gain an understanding of contemporary controversies around substance misuse. What turns our universal human desire to use mood altering substances into substance misuse? How does society regulate substances to prevent substance misuse and its associated harms? These key issues will be discussed from national and international perspectives. Topics will include: the contemporary global burden of disease linked with substance misuse, global impacts of legal and illicit substances and global responses to control substances such as conventions, policies and legislative or regulatory strategies. For key substances: alcohol, tobacco, cannabinoids (including medicinal cannabis), and stimulant drugs such as amphetamine, and some less familiar ones: e.g. kava, khat, inhalants and synthetics, the subject will survey current knowledge, including pharmacology, ethnopharmacology and history, biological mechanisms of action and addiction, associated harms and society's regulatory and legislative responses to limit harms. Students will gain the skills to critically appraise the success or otherwise of public health interventions to reduce substance misuse. Current international research literature, guidelines and policies, and case studies will be presented. Case studies in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander substance misuse will be a feature. This subject is suitable for students wishing to gain a public health perspective of substance misuse prevention in national and international health contexts, with the opportunity to focus their reading on a specific issue of interest. This subject is not aimed solely at those working in the area of substance misuse treatment but features components of interest to non-clinical participants. Additional optional treatment-focussed readings/resources will be made available but will not be examinable.

Learning Outcomes

  • articulate by synthesising the literature offered, the key substance misuse issues globally within a public health framework;
  • analyse the challenges to reducing substance misuse in different contexts;
  • critically appraise substance misuse programs in relation to current national and global strategies;
  • design a substance misuse prevention program in a population health context based on available published evidence for effective approaches;
  • prepare formal advice to a community audience and to an academic audience regarding a substance misuse prevention program in a population health context based on available published evidence for effective approaches.

Subject Assessment

  • Written > Test/Quiz 1 - (25%) - Individual
  • Written > Essay (including multi-draft) 1 - (25%) - Individual
  • Written > Essay (including multi-draft) 2 - (50%) - Individual.

Special Assessment Requirements

Complete and submit all assessment items; and Achieve an overall percentage of 50% or more


Cairns, Study Period 2, External
Census Date 24-Aug-2023
Coordinator: Assoc. Professor Sue Devine, Professor Alan Clough
Lecturers: Ms Bronwen Forster, Ms Veronica Graham, Ms Janet Catterall, <Person not found>, Miss Jessica Watt.
Workload expectations:
  • 130 hours online activity - Self directed online learning and assessment
Method of Delivery: WWW - LearnJCU

Note: Minor variations might occur due to the continuous Subject quality improvement process, and in case of minor variation(s) in assessment details, the Subject Outline represents the latest official information.