Module details for Substances of Abuse

Description

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.

Aims

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.

Learning Outcomes

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.

Indicative Content

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.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

For session 2020/21 the expectation is that the teaching and learning hours stated in this descriptor will form a mix of synchronous and asynchronous student/staff activity, with the majority of this being online. The exact pattern of this activity is likely to vary from the standard face-to-face hours listed below but the overall student effort remains the same. Up-to-date information on the delivery of the module can be found on the relevant module MLS site and on your student timetable.

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 28
Tutorial/Seminar 0
Practical Activity 12
Assessment 75
Independent 85
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.


Disclaimer

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 2020/21 , and may be subject to change for future years.