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Unit (2019)

Information on this page, including unit offerings, is from the 2019 academic year.

Drugs in Society (BRD202)

Organisational Unit Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Credit Points 3
Availability MURDOCH: S2-internal, S2-external
Teaching Timetables Murdoch S2
Description Have you ever wondered how aspirin knows where the pain is? Or why some drugs are so addictive? This unit explores drugs, asking how they are discovered and regulated. It examines social drugs such as alcohol and nicotine, illicit drugs such as cannabis and cocaine, and medicines such as painkillers and anti-depressants. It considers social, ethical and economic issues such as reproductive medicines, drugs in sport and the rise of complementary medicines, as well as future personalised therapies.
Unit Learning Outcomes On successful completion of the unit you should be able to:
1. Understand the types of drugs that you might encounter in your personal and future professional lives.
2. Outline how some of these drugs work.
3. Explain the interaction of modern society with these drugs, both legal and illegal.
Timetabled Learning Activities Lectures: 1 hour per week; workshops: 2 hours per week.
Unit Learning Experiences The lectures in this unit are designed to expose you to the broad range of disciplines that are connected with 'drugs'. These include researchers from both sciences and the humanities, and professionals from the health, law enforcement and legal professions. Extensive use will be made of case studies and current news stories. This content will challenge you to form your own opinions about the benefits and problems that drugs of all kinds pose for our society.
The workshops will give you the opportunity to discuss these benefits and problems with students from a range of disciplines, and to examine specific examples in detail. This will include the debate of key ethical, scientific, social, legal and economic issues surrounding drugs and the pharmaceutical industry, based on both written and video material that will be presented to you. Workshops will also include the presentation and round-table discussion of assessment tasks.
There are two independent group learning tasks that you will undertake. The first is the preparation and presentation of a drug information leaflet targeted at a specific social group. The second is the preparation of a video presentation designed to convince the board of a pharmaceutical company to fund your drug development program. These two tasks will encourage you to consolidate learning from throughout the unit and communicate this to a broad audience as part of a collaborative team.
Unit learning outcomes

On completing this unit, you should be able to demonstrate an understanding of:
1. The system by which a drug is developed, from identifying a biological problem, through discovery and design, to clinical testing and marketing.
2. The major types of drug that affect our everyday lives, including common pharmaceutical, illicit drugs and social drugs.
3. The key social, ethical and economic aspects of drugs and drug use

On completion of this unit, you should be able to demonstrate the following skills:
4. Developed written and verbal communication skills sufficient to express complex ideas
5. The ability to work collaboratively with students from other disciplines to solve problems
6. The ability to comprehend and explain data and opinion from outside of your own discipline

On completion of this unit, you should be able to apply your knowledge and skills to:
7. Collaborate with experts from a range of disciplines to solve complex and ambiguous problems, making new connections and respecting other viewpoints
8. Integrate perspectives from multiple disciplines to understanding the complex and important role of drugs in our society
Assessment Assessment task 1: Report: Drugs in the media 20% due early semester (1000 words)
Word length: 1000 words
Weighting: 20%;
Due date: Early semester

Assessment task 2: Presentation 1: Special interest group leaflet
Word length: 1000 words
Weighting: 30%;
Due date: Mid-semester

Assessment task 3: Presentation 2: Drug investment proposal
Word length: 1500 words + 10-minute video
Weighting: 50%;
Due date: End of semester

Assessment requires you to integrate knowledge about the role of drugs in our society to communicate appropriately with specific groups of people.
Prerequisites Nil.
Exclusions Students who have successfully completed BMS105 Drugs in Society may not enrol in this unit for credit.
Notes This is a University-Wide Breadth Unit.
Appears in these Courses/Majors:
see individual structures for context
Biology and Human Biology Major Teaching Area (BEd(Sec)) [New in 2019]
Appears in these Minors Pharmacology
Internet Access RequirementsMurdoch units normally include an online component comprising materials, discussions, lecture recordings and assessment activities. All students, regardless of their location or mode of study, need to have access to and be able to use computing devices with browsing capability and a connection to the Internet via Broadband (Cable, ADSL or Mobile) or Wireless. The Internet connection should be readily available and allow large amounts of data to be streamed or downloaded (approximately 100MB per lecture recording). Students also need to be able to enter into online discussions and submit assignments online.


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