Drugs in Society - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: No
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP1 , SP3 , SP4
  • Availability for 2017: SP3 , SP4
  • Assessment: Assignment 1 (20%) , Assignment 2 - Essay (50%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

Have you ever wondered how aspirin knows where the pain is?  Or why some drugs are so addictive?

This unit explores drugs, asking how they are discovered and regulated. It examines social drugs such as alcohol and nicotine, illicit drugs such as cannabis and cocaine, and medicines such as painkillers and anti-depressants. It considers social, ethical and economic issues such as reproductive medicines, drugs in sport and the rise of complementary medicines, as well as future personalised therapies.

On completing this unit, you should be able to demonstrate an understanding of:

  1. the system by which a drug is developed, from identifying a biological problem, though discovery and design, to clinical testing and marketing;
  2. the major types of drug that affect our everyday lives, including common pharmaceutical, illicit and social drugs;
  3. the key social, ethical and economic aspects of drugs and drug use.

On completion of this unit, you should be able to demonstrate the following skills:

  1. developed written and verbal communication skills sufficient to express complex ideas;
  2. the ability to work collaboratively with students from other disciplines to solve problems;
  3. the ability to comprehend and explain data and opinion from outside of your own discipline.

On completion of this unit, you should be able to apply your knowledge and skills to:

  1. collaborate with experts from a range of disciplines to solve complex and ambiguous problems, making new connections and respecting other viewpoints;
  2. integrate perspectives from multiple disciplines to understanding the complex and important role of drugs in our society.
  • Assignment 1 (20%)
  • Assignment 2 — Essay (50%)
  • Assignment 3 — Presentation (30%)

There are no prerequisites for this unit.

Note: Level 2 units normally assume an introductory level of prior knowledge in this area, e.g. from studying related Level 1 units or other relevant experience.

  • Audio/Visual equipment — Simple video recording device (such as phone or camera)
  • Broadband access

This unit addresses the following topics.

1A brief history of drugs
2Drug discovery
3How do drugs get to the market?
4Drugs of abuse
6Drugs and the law
7Recreational and prescription drugs
8Herbal medicines and homeopathy
9Drugs in the Emergency Department
10Drugs and sex

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Audio/Video - Streaming
  • Online Assessment

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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