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PSME424 Addiction Pharmacotherapy

A clinical paper addressing the use of medications in the treatment and management of people with addiction and co-existing disorders, with a particular focus on opioid substitution treatment.

PSME 424 is part of a postgraduate training programme offered by the National Addiction Centre at the University of Otago, Christchurch, intended for a broad range of health professionals and colleagues in allied sectors who wish to study at a higher academic level and develop advanced clinical knowledge and skills in the addiction area.

Paper title Addiction Pharmacotherapy
Paper code PSME424
Subject Psychological Medicine
EFTS 0.25
Points 30 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,018.75
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Limited to
MHealSc, PGCertHealSc, PGDipHealSc
Students must have worked clinically for at least two years before commencing this paper, and at the time of study must be working clinically in a therapeutic setting.

This paper is suitable for senior practitioners working with people suffering addiction and coexisting mental health problems, including experienced case managers, general practitioners, practice nurses, pharmacists, and opioid substitution treatment clinicians.


Teaching staff

Convenor: Professor Doug Sellman

Paper Structure
This nationally accessible paper provides students with knowledge and clinical skills in the use of medications in the overall management and treatment of people with addiction and coexisting mental health disorders and medical problems. The treatment of opioid dependence is given some emphasis on this paper as it provides examples of the most complex clinical cases in the field. It also deals with the range of new pharmacotherapies, both substitution and non-substitution treatments, that are becoming available in New Zealand.
Teaching Arrangements

PSME 424 is offered every second year and will run in the second semester as a combination of two compulsory 2-day workshops and an email discussion group.

Required: Methadone Maintenance Treatment and Other Opioid Replacement Therapies, Eds J. Ward, R.P. Mattick, W. Hall, 1998.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Critical thinking, Cultural understanding.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this paper students will be able to demonstrate:

  • A thorough knowledge and understanding, together with effective clinical skills, in the use of pharmacotherapy when intervening with people who have addictive disorders
  • Core knowledge and understanding of the phenomenology and aetiology of addictive disorders
  • Core knowledge and understanding of psychopharmacology as it relates to people with addictive disorders
  • Knowledge and understanding of the principles of comprehensive assessment and management planning
  • Knowledge and understanding about the principles of clinical case management for people with addictive disorders

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Case presentation 10%
On-line case work 20%
Written assignment 20%
Demonstration of clinical work 30%
Written examination 20%

Further Information

Professor Doug Sellman
National Addiction Centre
Department of Psychological Medicine
University of Otago, Christchurch
PO Box 4345, Christchurch, New Zealand
Tel +64 3 372 6764


Department of Psychological Medicine
University of Otago, Christchurch
PO Box 4345, Christchurch, New Zealand
Tel +64 3 372 6704

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system