Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 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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12 points, SCA Band 2, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitEastern Health Clinical School
OfferedClayton First semester 2015 (Online)
Coordinator(s)Dr Naomi Crafti and Ms Shirley Gill


This unit explores trends in the use of particular substances and behavioural addictions, including historical precedents, in Australia and other countries. Addiction will be considered with particular reference to special population groups such as people with co-occurring mental health conditions, indigenous populations, youth, older adults, GLBTI groups and transcultural communities. The aim of the module will be to review social norms and expectations, and consider the bases for stigma and discrimination, and mechanisms for destigmatising drug use in these populations.

This unit will be taught through distance education and include topics such as:

  • History of alcohol, other drug use and behavioural addictions in Australia and Internationally
  • Social, political and economic factors that affect addiction
  • Addiction and views of addiction in relation to special population groups including
  • People with co-occurring mental health conditions (dual diagnosis)
  • Indigenous populations
  • Youth
  • Older Adults
  • GLBTI communities
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse communities

The materials for this unit will be provided by academic staff with specialist knowledge of their special population group(s) and include the most recent literature pertaining to these groups. Where possible, input (for example, case studies or stories) from the 'lived experience' of people representing these special population groups will be provided for students.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Identify the major historical, political, economic and social factors that have impacted on our understanding of addiction in Australia and internationally, with reference to particular substances.
  2. Critically evaluate the empirical and theoretical literature across a range of socio-cultural perspectives of addiction.
  3. Communicate confidently with one another and academic experts in the field around socio-cultural issues in the addiction area.
  4. Conduct a thorough literature search on an approved area of independent study around a specific population and the impact of substance use on them.
  5. Write a systematic review of the literature in an approved area of independent study.
  6. Develop a structured interview schedule for an interview with a senior manager/clinician in a specialist AOD service and conduct the interview.
  7. Write a paper about a specialised AOD service or program, based on the interview material obtained in Learning Objective 6.


Students enrolled in ASC5002 will be asked to make contact with an agency providing AOD or related services to a particular special population group. They will be asked to report on the activities of the organisation, including the results of a structured interview with at least one member of staff of that service. Students will need to obtain permission from the Director or CEO of that service and adhere to their requirements for confidentiality and/or anonymity.


Participation in online discussion (Hurdle)
Critical book review (3,500 words) (30%)
Systematic review (3,500 words) (30%)
Fieldwork assignment (5,000 words) (40%)

Workload requirements

Students enrolling in ASC5002 will be expected to contact the course co-ordinator regularly throughout the semester and participate in online discussion with fellow students and academic staff. Together with accessing online resources and listening to podcasts etc. students might expect to spend around 4 hours a week online and an additional 20 hours per week in independent study, including reading, research and writing activities.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Behavioural studies, Psychology, Mental health, Addiction studies.