Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Alcohol, Drugs and Crime
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture Introductory face-to-face lecture / information session (1*2-hour session)
Other 3 online discussion forums - these will run for one week and students will be required to post a 750 word response to a question by the 3rd day and 3 - 5 further (250-350 word) follow-up posts (only 2 are assessed).


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Online Activities (Discussion Forum*2)  25%
Semester Assessment Online Activities (Discussion Forum*3)  25%
Semester Assessment Assessed Essay (1500 words)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Assessed Essay (3000 words)  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1) Demonstrate an understanding of the legal status of intoxicating substances
2) Demonstrate an understanding of, and an ability to critically evaluate the major theoretical perspectives within the debate upon drug classification
3) Develop an ability to articulate debate into the legal and cultural implications of drug and alcohol use
4) Identify and evaluate the significance of data used to estimate the extent of the `drug problem?
5) Review and evaluate some of the central studies key to understanding drug use and criminality
6) Demonstrate an awareness of the extent and limitations of the treatment of addiction


Indicative content:
  • Historical developments in the classification of substances (incl. alcohol)
  • The legal status of drugs and alcohol
  • Types of substance and psychopharmacology
  • Drug culture
  • Drug trafficking
  • Drug use and criminality
  • Alcohol and crime
  • Preventing drug use
  • Treatment of drug and alcohol addiction
The three discussion forums will each run for one week. The initial discussion will be ungraded and set on a general historical topic in Week 2. The later discussions will address either the legal status of substances or the control and treatment of drugs (the two main themes of the module).

Brief description

The link between illicit substances and crime is long and enduring. Historically, humans have ingested toxic chemicals in various natural and synthetic forms and legally there have been various attempts to control the use and distribution of these substances. Drug addiction has negative impacts upon the individual and society and aside from the legal status of most products; estimates suggest that up to 80% of prisoners have some form of drug and/or alcohol problem. This module will provide students with an introduction to some of the key issues in relation to alcohol, drugs and crime

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not directly applicable although students will be introduced to the key concepts of reading and understanding studies and data.
Communication Written: Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format and their written communication will be assessed according to effective expression of ideas, good language skills and a coherent argument.
Improving own Learning and Performance Interactive online discussions will encourage the critical and lateral thinking of students with exercises planned to deliver a range of opportunities to facilitate the learning of abstract concepts, and will allow students to reflect on their own learning.
Information Technology Searches of on-line electronic information sources.
Personal Development and Career planning Preparation for discussion forums and the assessed assignment will develop time management skills; collation of sources for assessment will nurture research skills; appreciation of complex theoretical issues will develop critical thinking skills. All of these skills will contribute to their portfolio of transferable skills.
Problem solving The assimilation of a range of complex theories will develop students' problem-solving abilities and a range of interactive exercises in lectures, seminars and the assignment will encourage lateral thinking.
Research skills Research skills will be developed by accessing and critically analysing literature on various theories in order to construct and present an informed discussion for the assessed exercise.
Subject Specific Skills This module provides students with the opportunity to identify, analyze and evaluate a series of skills with respect to key criminological theories.
Team work Participation in a online discussions will require students to interact and cooperate with their classmates to promote the debate in each forum.


This module is at CQFW Level 6