Page Navigation

Module Descriptors

This page displays the selected Module Descriptor.

Printer friendly version Printer friendly version

Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 07/07/2022 12:41:58

Title of Module: The Politics of Drug & Alcohol Policy

Code: CDAS11004 SCQF Level: 11
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:A  O'Gorman

Summary of Module

The Politics of Drug and Alcohol Policy examines the origins and development of policies relating to drug, alcohol and other substances in Scotland, the UK and internationally. The module aims to understand the complex world of drug and alcohol policy development by exploring the influence of politics and ideology, evidence, advocacy, lobbying, and stakeholders’ interests. Lectures will draw on theoretical models and concepts on policy change and the policy process such as policy framing; multiple streams analysis; advocacy coalition framework; policy diffusion; and governance. Attention is given to how drug and alcohol issues are defined, constructed, and problematised; the role of policy communities and networks; political discourses; and ideas and values.

Key contemporary debates on new approaches to drug and alcohol policies; on the impact of drug and broader social policies on users and on special populations (such as injecting drug users, families and communities affected by drugs) will be critically examined. The overall aim is to provide participants with a framework for assessing policy formulation at local, national and international levels.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
check markcheck mark

Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
check mark





check mark


Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


[Top of Page]

Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Demonstrate extensive, detailed and critical knowledge and understanding of current policy issues (relating to drugs, alcohol and other substances).

L2. Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to assessing governance and the policy-making processes in relating to drugs, alcohol and other substances.

L3. Demonstrate effective communication, ICT skills and subject knowledge by presenting complex ideas and analysis in an innovative format to peers and specialists

L4. Develop innovative and evidence based responses to problems and issues relating to substance use.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 11.

A critical awareness of current issues and the range of perspectives on drug and alcohol (and other substances) policy.

A critical understanding of the theoretical concepts and frameworks for analysing policy change and development.

Extensive detailed and critical knowledge of the interactions and influences between policy stakeholders at local national and global level.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 11.

Apply concepts to interpret and evaluate competing positions on drug and alcohol policy.

Apply evidence to develop policy briefings and submissions.

Be able to retrieve, interpret and critically analyse information from a range of sources (primary, secondary and grey).

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 11.

Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesise to the development of policies relating to drugs, alcohol and other substances.

Developing original and creative thinking and options for responding to current problems and issues relating to the use of alcohol and drugs.

Critically review research-based evidence from a variety of sources.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 11.

Communicate effectively and appropriately in speech, online and through academic writing.

Ability to disseminate findings using social media and IT skills in an innovative way.

Presentation of ideas and concepts to peers and colleagues in a poster style presentation.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 11.

The ability to undertake independent, self-directed study to achieve agreed goals.

Working with peers in groups and developing own independent working skills.

Exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in conducting a range of tasks and activities.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

[Top of Page]

Learning and Teaching
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery24
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity12
Personal Development Plan32
Asynchronous Class Activity32
Independent Study100
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Babor. T. et al., (2010) Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Babor. T. et al., (2010). Drug Policy and the Public Good. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kingdon, J. Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Politics, 2nd ed. (New York: Harper Collins, 1995).

UKDPC (2012) A Fresh Approach to Drugs: the final report of the UK Drug Policy Commission.

LSE Ideas! (2014) Ending the Drug Wars: Report of the LSE Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy.

Students will have access to a wide range of materials and resources via Moodle VLE.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
All fulltime students (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to students who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

[Top of Page]

Supplemental Information

Programme BoardSocial Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelPG Social Sciences
External ExaminerL Williams
Accreditation Details
Version Number


[Top of Page]

Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Assessment 1 – Policy briefing on a specific (drug, alcohol, or other substance) policy issue. Max 1,500 words (50%)
Assessment 2: Poster design and presentation (to peers and staff) on a specific policy issue outlining the evidence, the response, the target group, the governance and operational structures for its implementation and expected outcomes (50%)
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck mark check mark 500

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Demonstrations/ Poster presentations/ Exhibitionscheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark500
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

[Top of Page]

  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity

Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries). The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.