Drugs and Society: a global perspective

Subject POPH90135 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

September, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A minimum of 24 contact hours, taught in block mode over 5 days.
Total Time Commitment: Students will be expected to undertake additional study (i.e. outside the stated contact hours) of at least two hours for each hour of contact in this subject
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: None


Ms Andrea Fischer, Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health


Academic Programs Office
Melbourne School of Population Health
Tel: +61 3 8344 9339
Fax: +61 3 8344 0824
Email: sph-gradinfo@unimelb.edu.au
Subject Overview:

The subject will cover the following topics: definitions and categories of drugs; historical perspective on drugs and drug use; sources, characteristics, routes of administration and effects of key licit and illicit drugs; drugs as a development challenge; patterns of drug use in Asia, Australia and worldwide; health outcomes associated with the use of key licit and illicit drugs; drug use and other social problems; drug use and the global burden of disease; responses to drug use in Asia, Australia and worldwide. There will be practical reinforcement of teaching through site visits.


On completion of this subject, students will:

  • be able to outline the sources, characteristics, routes of administration and effects of key drugs;
  • have acquired an understanding of the processes of illicit drug manufacture and trafficking;
  • have learnt about patterns of drug use in Australia, across the Asia-Pacific region, and worldwide;
  • be able to describe the relative influences of major drug types on morbidity and mortality, including HIV/AIDS;
  • understand the specific health outcomes associated with the use of the most important licit and illicit drugs, including understanding implications for the development of community-based responses; and
  • be able to explain how use of licit and illicit drugs is linked to poverty, criminality and other social problems;
  • be able to critique the policies and practical responses to drug use implemented in different countries at different stages of history.

One short critique of current journal article to be submitted a fortnight after last teach day (15%) One 1-hour exam on the last teaching day (20%) One 3000-word essay (60%) and individual and group participation (5%).

Prescribed Texts: A folder of readings will be available prior to the subject commencing.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: -
Links to further information: http://www.sph.unimelb.edu.au

This subject is a Group 1 elective in the Master of Public Health.


Related Course(s): Master of Environment
Master of Environment
Postgraduate Certificate in Environment
Postgraduate Diploma in Environment
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: International Health

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