Module details for Drugs, Addiction and Society


The module examines Criminological and social scientific perspectives on drug governance and addiction.


The aim of this module is to provide the student with a wide-ranging and critical understanding of the governance of drugs and the application of discourses of addiction in framing drug consumption practices.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Understand the historical, political and social determinants of drug consumption and its problematization.

2.  Appraise the contribution of different perspectives relevant to the understanding and explanation of addiction.

3.  Consider critically the historical and/or contemporary representation of problematic and addictive consumption in culture.

4.  Assess a number of key contemporary approaches deployed in the management of drug use and/or addiction.

Indicative Content

1 Historical, political and social contexts of drugs consumption and governance

Historical contexts in the growth of drug consumption and it governance State and criminal justice drugs policy in the UK 12 step and other recovery movements

2 Theorizing addiction

Freedom, compulsion and willpower Neuropharmacology (and its critics). The social construction of addiction Sociological approaches

3 Case studies

Heroin and Opioids. Smoking and anti-smoking. Alcohol.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 12
Tutorial/Seminar 11
Practical Activity 10
Assessment 49
Independent 118
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

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 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.