Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitDepartment of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine
OfferedAlfred Hospital Term 2 2013 (On-campus block of classes)
Coordinator(s)Dr P Higgs


This unit is designed as a contemporary analysis of drug use in modern societies and will enhance participants' knowledge about the risk and vulnerability of individuals and communities to licit and illicit drug use.


On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Outline the sources, characteristics, routes of administration and effects of key drugs;
  2. Analyse patterns of drug use in Australia, across the Asia-Pacific region, and worldwide;
  3. Understand the specific health outcomes associated with the use of the most important licit and illicit drugs, including implications for the development of community-based responses;
  4. Explain how use of licit and illicit drugs is linked to poverty, criminality and other social problems;
  5. Critique the policies and practical responses to drug use implemented in differed countries;
  6. Explain the interactions between illicit drug use and blood-borne viruses (BBV);
  7. Examine the social and policy contexts of harm reduction practice employed in Australia and Asia;
  8. Critique the various responses to HIV and other BBV's among drug users concurrently in operation;
  9. Reflective on practice and communicate effectively.


Formative feedback on small group work and reflective practice and presentation skills
Letter to editor or critique of a peer reviewed article (30%)
Abstract (400 words)(10%)
Written essay (3600 words)(60%)

Chief examiner(s)


Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: