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PSYC330 Drugs, Behaviour, Addiction, and Policy

Theory of drug use and abuse; neurobiology of drug effects; drug policy and law in New Zealand and the world.

Paper title Drugs, Behaviour, Addiction, and Policy
Paper code PSYC330
Subject Psychology
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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PSYC 210, 211 and 212
Recommended Preparation
PHAL 211
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science
For students with a major or minor in Neuroscience the prerequisite is PSYC211.

Teaching staff

Dr Ryan Ward


“Drugs without the hot air: Making sense of legal and illegal drugs” by David Nutt.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper should be able to:

  1. Describe the neurobiological mechanisms of action of a range of different drug classes (Information Literacy, Research)
  2. Describe how feature of the environment come to influence the effects of drugs, both physiologically and behaviourally (Critical Thinking, Information Literacy)
  3. Describe the features of drug use and abuse (routes of administration, tolerance, addiction, withdrawal) and discuss biological processes involved in these features (Critical Thinking, Information literacy)
  4. Critically evaluate the New Zealand drug policy using scientific evidence to inform best-practice suggestions (Communication, Critical Thinking, Research, Self- Motivation)
  5. Understand how different cultures and societies have used drugs throughout history (Information Literacy, Research)
  6. Understand the differences between models of drug abuse (Critical Thinking, Information Literacy)
  7. Understand how social and political factors have shaped and influenced drug policy and the “War on Drugs” (Critical Thinking, Information literacy)
  8. Research several different models of drug abuse, provide a written evaluation that compares and contrasts those models, and give an opinion on which models are best supported by empirical research (Communication, Critical Thinking, Research, Self- Motivation)


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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 10:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41