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Unit (2020)

Information on this page, including unit offerings, is from the 2020 academic year.

Psychology: Drugs and Dependence (PSY389)

Organisational Unit Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Credit Points 3
Availability MURDOCH: S1-internal
Teaching Timetables Murdoch S1
Description This unit examines the major classes of psychotropic drugs including those with abuse potential. The physical and physiological factors involved in the action of drugs, their administration, metabolism, excretion and in their use, will be described; pharmacotherapy for drug dependence will be critically discussed. Students will review the history of substance abuse and addictions, examine current patterns of addictions and substance abuse behaviour in a psychological context and discuss the use of psychological interventions.
Unit Learning Outcomes On successful completion of PSY389, you should be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes that reflect these graduate attributes:
1. Demonstrate some knowledge and understanding of the main topic areas within the substance dependence field (GA1, G4, G6), including:
a. history of substance use and addiction.
b. why people use drug,
c. how drug use is defined and measured,
d. the prevalence and current patterns of dependence,
e. neurobiology of drug use,
f. relative role of heredity and environment,
g. how drugs affect the basic psychological processes
h. pharmacotherapeutic and psychological interventions
i. primary approaches in preventing drug use/abuse/dependence and related problems
2. Be able to interpret and critically analyse research data in the substance dependence field, and write an essay in the style used for journal articles. (GA 2, GA 3, GA 5)
Demonstrate an ability to self-reflect on unit learning materials and write a portfolio in the style used for journal articles (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6).
Timetabled Learning Activities Lectures. 2 hours per week
Tutorials: 6 x 2 hours per teaching period
Unit Learning Experiences The approach to learning in this unit is to commit to the regular scheduled activities. These include a 1.5 hour weekly lecture and a two-hour tutorial on a fortnightly basis. The lectures cover the content of the unit and will be recorded and made available in the PSY389 LMS online unit. Tutorials are devoted to facilitate further discussion of the lecture material as well as applying the knowledge covered in the lectures. The tutorials enable students to engage and contribute to group learning processes, exchange views/ideas, listen to the arguments of others and participating in discussions using assigned and other readings as evidence for their views. Students are required to learn the lecture materials, and prepare for each tutorial by completing assigned readings before class and attend tutorials on a regular basis.
Assessment The assessments include one critical research essay (25%), one tutorial portfolio (20%), 3 x mini quizzes (15%) and a final exam (40%). The essay assesses student's understanding and knowledge of the subject matter and their ability to identify, critically analyse, and argue the central issues related to drug use using research evidence. Tutorial portfolio assesses students' understanding of all materials covered in the tutorials, including lecture contents, assigned readings, group discussion and class activities. Students are required to demonstrate an ability to conduct an overall review and consolidate their learning by providing a personal reflection of all materials covered in tutorials in the tutorial portfolio. Final exam assesses student's knowledge of all unit materials.
Prerequisites PSY141 Introduction to Psychological Science
Exclusions Students who have successfully completed PSY215 Addictions and Substance Abuse or PSY215 Drugs and Dependence may not enrol in this unit for credit.
Previously 2014: PSY289
Appears in these Courses/Majors:
see individual structures for context
Bachelor of Science (Psychology Major) (BSc) [New in 2017]
Human Behaviour [New in 2019]
Psychology (BA)
Psychology (BA) [New in 2017]
Appears in these Co-Majors Human Behaviour
Psychological Studies
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.


Unit Coordinator
Dr Lechi Vo
Lecturer (Teaching Scholar)

Murdoch Campus
t: 9360 7840
e: L.Vo@murdoch.edu.au
o: 440.1.013 - Social Sciences, Murdoch Campus
Unit Contacts

MURDOCH: S1-Internal
Dr Lechi Vo
Lecturer (Teaching Scholar)

Murdoch Campus
t: 9360 7840
e: L.Vo@murdoch.edu.au
o: 440.1.013 - Social Sciences, Murdoch Campus
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