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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2011 - 2012

Module Title Drugs in Society
Module Code NS141
School School of Nursing and Human Sciences

Online Module Resources

Module Co-ordinatorDr Mark PhilbinOffice NumberH245b
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

In contemporary societies, drugs are used for the sake of pleasure, custom, self-regulation, treatment, enhancement, dependence and profit. Controversies abound in relation to what counts as proper and improper drug use as well as how drugs should be controlled and supplied. Within this module, these various uses and controversies are explored along with their health implications.

Learning Outcomes

1. Identify the principal ways in which drugs are used in contemporary societies
2. Explore controversies about the proper and improper uses of drugs
3. Consider the significance of drug use for fundamental ideas about what it means to be a person
4. Examine debates about the control, prohibition, marketing and supply of drugs
5. Evaluate the health implications of various patterns of drug use

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture18Participation in lecture-discussion
Debate18Preparations for speaking in a debate
Debate12Participation in class debates on controversial issues related to drugs
Online activity12Moodle-based reflections following from the class debates
Seminars12Led by persons with first-hand experience of drug use: as users, relatives or helpers
Assignment Completion30Preparation of an essay relating to a specific drug
Independent Study23For general reading and Moodle use
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Uses and misuses of drugs
Examination of the history, uses, misuses, effects and health implications of a range of licit and illicit drugs

Experimenting with drugs
The question is explored of what is learned about drugs through personal and scientific experimentation, how such experimentation is conducted and with what consequences.

'Is it me or my meds?'
The relations between prescribed medication and personal identity are explored with particular reference to psychotropic drugs and the work of David Karp on antidepressants.

Life with drugs
With first-hand accounts by persons who have used drugs in some sense or are significantly affected by their use, various dimensions of living with drugs are the focus for reflection.

Getting ahead with drugs
The possibility is considered of 'becoming more than oneself' through the use of drugs. Attention is paid to drug-enhanced performance in elite sport and everyday life, 'cosmetic psychopharmacology' and debates about post-humanity.

Drug pushing in perspective
The extent of drug pushing is examined through a comparative analysis of the pharmaceutical industry, medicine and illicit drug dealing.

Global trade in drugs
The global drugs trade is examined with particular reference to organised crime and relations between multinational drugs companies and developing countries.

Prohibition and harm minimisation
Notions of prohibition and harm minimisation are compared in terms of their implications for policy and treatment.

Changing drug use
How persons constructively alter their relationships to drugs is explored by reference to conceptualisations of personal change.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Angus Bancroft: 2009, Drugs, intoxication and society, Polity, Cambridge, 9780745635460
  • Paul Griffiths (Foreword), Jane Fountain (Editor), Dirk J. Korf (Editor): 0, Drugs in Society, 9781846190933
  • Glen R. Hanson, Peter J. Venturelli, Annette E. Fleckenstein,: 0, Drugs And Society, 9781449613693
  • David A. Karp: 2006, Is it me or my meds?, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 9780674021822
  • Paul Manning (Editor): 0, Drugs And Popular Culture, 9781843922100
  • Marina Barnard, Fergal Keane (Foreword): 0, Drug Addiction and Families, 9781843104032
  • Philip Bean,: 0, Legalising drugs, 9781847423757
  • Philip Bean,: 0, Drugs and Crime, 9781843923312
  • Tom Carnwath and Ian Smith: 0, Heroin century, 9780415278997
  • Norman K. Denzin,: 0, The Alcoholic Society, 1560006692
  • David Healy: 2004, Let them eat Prozac, New York University Press, New York, 0814736696
  • Mike Jay,: 0, High Society, 9780500251720
  • Peter D. Kramer: 1993, Listening to Prozac, Penguin, New York, N.Y., U.S.A., 0670841838
  • Rik Loose,: 0, Subject of Addiction, 1855752999
  • G. Alan Marlatt (Editor), Katie Witkiewitz (Editor): 0, Addictive Behaviors, 9781433804021
  • edited by Adriana Petryna, Andrew Lakoff, and Arthur Kleinman: 2006, Global pharmaceuticals, Duke University Press, Durham, 0822337290
  • Dawn Moore,: 0, Criminal Artefacts: Governing Drugs and Users, 9780774813877
  • Tim Pilcher,: 0, e, the incredibly strange history of ecstasy, 9780762431847
  • Dominic Streatfeild: 2002, Cocaine, Virgin, London, 9780753506271
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