Introduction to Substance Misuse

Module code: AE1220

Module co-ordinator: Dr Tony Priest

This module will introduce you to the range of biological, psychological and sociological issues that impact on individuals who are using drugs and alcohol. You will develop an awareness of the complexity of working with these issues and an understanding of their personal value base in relation to substance use and substance users.

The themes from this module will be repeated and expanded in each subsequent module in order to provide an in-depth knowledge base that is linked to key practice issues and modalities.

Topics covered

  • Introduction to biopsychosocial approach
  • Psychological explanations of dependency: social learning theory, psychoanalytic, addictive personality, conditioning
  • Sociological explanations of dependency: deprivation, patterns of use
  • Information on commonly misused substances: effects, withdrawal, risk factors, poly use, routes of administration, needle fixation
  • Gender differences
  • Harm minimisation
  • Blood borne viruses and pre-test counselling


  • 30 hours of seminars
  • 1 one-hour tutorial


  • Reflective essay, 1,500 words (40%)
  • Analysis of case studies, 2,000 words (60%)