School of Human and Social Sciences

Substance use and misuse

A selection of substances

The University of West London is a leading and innovative provider of education and training for alcohol and drug practitioners.

The Substance Use and Misuse (SUMS) team draw upon direct experience of working with substance misusers /addiction and innovative research to provide high quality courses that equip drug and alcohol practitioners with the relevant skills and knowledge to be competent within their workplace.

We embrace an interdisciplinary approach to the study and research of substance use and misuse that encompasses:

  • psychology
  • sociology
  • criminology
  • nursing
  • social policy
  • evidence based practice.

We cover a variety of topics, including drug effects and principles of psychopharmacology, models of addiction, screening and assessment, evidence based interventions, dual diagnosis, risk management, communicable diseases, policies, cultural competence, and the social context of drug use.

All our modules are mapped against the Drug And Alcohol Occupational Standards (DANOS) and the University is affiliated with FDAP (Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals).

Continuing Professional Development

If you have 240 credits at level 4 and 5 in a relevant discipline (e.g. Dip in Substance Misuse Studies, or Nursing, Counselling…) you can achieve a BSc (Hons) qualification by completing 4 x 20 credit modules and a 40 credit dissertation.

Find out more about modules that you can study and how to apply in our Continuing Professional Development (CPD) section or by clicking on the modules below.

Level 6:

Level 7:

BSc (Hons) Substance Use and Misuse Studies (Top-up)

We aim at bridging the gap between theory, research and practice. The course  has a strong applied focus and keeps on-going links with the field. Teaching includes a variety of strategies, including on-line activities, theatre techniques, group discussions and interactive tasks.

A range of guest speakers contribute to the sessions, ranging from researchers, service users and practitioners; most importantly, during the course you will have the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas practitioners working in a variety of sectors.

Find out more and apply.

BSc (Hons) Psychology with Substance Use and Misuse Studies

BSc (Hons) Psychology with Substance Use and Misuse Studies (SUMS) is a career focused innovative programme that will provide you with the knowledge and skills to identify and work with substance misuse related issues in a variety of sectors. While this exciting degree can lead to a career in the area of substance misuse, this does not preclude career pathways in the more traditional Psychology arena as all core Psychology topics are covered within this degree.

Find out more and apply.

What our students say

Leanne McDonald I’ve really enjoyed the substance misuse module. It was useful to understand how the psychology theories are used in treatment interventions.

I also learnt a lot from the practitioners in the group, the guest speakers and the activities in class.

Leanne McDonald - BSc Psychology with a substance misuse option module