This module examines a selection of different commonly abused drug substances. It will study their chemical structure, production and distribution within the supply chain and look in depth at their biological effects and analyses together with relevant legislation and the forensic reporting of casework samples.
The aim of this Module is to provide the student with an understanding of the chemistry and pharmacology of commonly abused substances. It will explore the theoretical and practical aspects of analytical strategies, the interpretation of results within current legislation and consider aspects relating to production, drug profiling and intelligence for law enforcement agencies as well as the health risks and physiological response of selected substances.
By the end of this module the student should be able to:
1. Understand the physiological effects and underlying mechanisms of action of common substances of abuse at the receptor level and appreciate the role of pharmacokinetics in these physiological responses.
2. Analyse, critically evaluate, interpret and communicate appropriately information relating to substance of abuse casework.
3. Understanding how clandestine manufacture and the physical and chemical characteristics of the illicit preparations relate to product quality, potency and health risks for users as well as drug intelligence for law enforcement agencies.
1 Physiological and Pharmacological Considerations
Types of substances, routes of ingestion and pharmacokinetics (ADME) of specific substances of abuse, pharmacodynamics and physiological effects including addiction/dependency.
2 Analytical/Legal Considerations
Presumptive Testing, sampling, errors of measurement, reference materials, challenges associated with unequivocal identification of illicit drugs and new psychoactive substances, method validation and reporting levels, uncertainty, quantification, UKAS accreditation and various sections of current UK legislation.
3 Production, Quality, Drug Intelligence and Chemical Considerations
Clandestine laboratories, health & safety, precursors, steroisomerism, potency, yield, purity, batch characterization, secondary processing, diluents & adulterants, storage conditions, degradation, product safety, databases, cluster analysis and drug intelligence.
Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment
Teaching methods include use of live and recorded lectures, practical essay writing sessions in the collaborative learning suite, case studies and formative assessments. Students are required to undertake directed study outside the contact hours to learn, reinforce and contextualise module information. This module allows group working, communication and self- reflection opportunities for the students. The following graduate attributes are linked to the learning outcomes of this module: Confident Thinkers: an appreciation, application and evaluation of technical knowledge in a variety of contexts, and ability to critically evaluate and appraise subject specific knowledge within other disciplines. Flexible Collaborators: ability to network, and communicate effectively in a range of contexts and for a variety of different audiences and purposes. Determined Creators: an ability to gather, evaluate and deploy information relevant to scientific problems.
Teaching and Learning Work Loads
|Supervised Practical Activity||12|
|Unsupervised Practical Activity||0|
Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.
We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2018/19 , and may be subject to change for future years.