College of Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare

The Nature of Substance Misuse: Biological, Psychological and Social Perspectives - Level 7

Why choose this course?

The course provides health and social care practitioners with a comprehensive understanding of the theories of addiction and other substance use disorders from biological, psychological, social, and political perspectives, together with the current treatment approaches. This is a key first module, for practitioners who may be new to this specialist area. It will focus on:

Social and Cultural Differences in Substance Use and Misuse

  • Cultural and historical variations in substance use and social and political responses
  • How the internet and Novel Psychoactive Drugs (Legal Highs) have changed the nature of the drug market.

Drugs and the Law

  • The role of the ACMD
  • Legal classification of drugs.

Classification of psychoactive substances and effects

  • Types and physiology of psychoactive substances 
  • Recognising the effects of psychoactive substances
  • Basic psychopharmacological effects
  • Clubs and recreational drug use: the spread of Ecstasy and the change of perception of class A drugs.

Theories and explanations for the use of psychoactive substances

  • The concepts of substance use and misuse and differing theoretical perspectives
  • Why do people use psychoactive substances?  
  • Underlining factors underpinning of substance use and misuse
  • Social perceptions of substance use, diversity and identities.

Theories and explanations for substance use, problem use, addiction and dependence

  • Theories of use and problem use, addiction and dependence
  • Social, psychological models of dependence.

Trends and patterns

  • Current patterns and trends of psychoactive substances in the UK Measures in mortality, morbidity, use and dependence

This course is also available at Level 6: Advanced Substance Use and Misuse in Context

Entry requirements

Evidence of study at Level 6 (Degree Level)

How will I be assessed?

The assessment for this course is:

  • Essay 80%
  • Multiple Choice Questionnaire 20%

How to apply

Choose your preferred start date and location from the options below and click on the 'Apply online' link. We recommend your application is submitted to the University at least two weeks prior to the start of the course.

After your application is accepted and you have been offered a place on the course, you will be sent information about how to enrol. You must complete enrolment before your course starts.

Start date Location Important dates Course leader Application link
19 September 2017

Brentford site

Study days (1:30 pm - 4:30 pm):

  • 19, 26  September 2017
  • 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 October 2017
  • 7, 14, 21, 28 November 2017
  • 5, 12, 19 December 2017


  • 16 January 2018
Raffaella Milani Apply online

What next?

This can be taken as a standalone module or the credits can be used towards one of our new and exciting courses:

  • PgCert/PgDip/MSc Professional Practice (badged awards available e.g. Substance Misuse, Complex Mental Health Needs)
  • MSc Advanced Practice (Substance Misuse)

Find out more about professional development courses with the College of Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare.