POPLHLTH 737 : Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Studies

Medical and Health Sciences

2024 Semester One (1243) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Provides an introduction and overview to studies on alcohol and other drugs. Incorporates theory and research developed within public health, mental health, and specialised treatment frameworks. Topics will include: coverage of historical developments, a review of major theoretical issues and an overview of current trends.

Course Overview

POPLHLTH 737 is one of the required courses for the Addiction specialisation in the Master of Health Practice and an optional course for the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) programme. It is most relevant to students pursuing careers in health research, public health, mental health and specialist practice in alcohol and other drug services. This course would suit a wide variety of students interested in developing a framework for thinking about and processing ideas on alcohol, drugs and other addictions. It is the core paper in the Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences specialisation Alcohol and Drug Studies or may be taken as a standalone course as part of another programme.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Course Director
Prof Peter Adams 
Email: p.adams@auckland.ac.nz
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 6538

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 6: Communication
Graduate Profile: Master of Health Sciences

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the main assumptions and conceptual models used to respond to harm associated with alcohol and other drug use (Capability 1.1, 3.3 and 4.1)
  2. Articulate the theoretical and evidential base for approaches they adopt (Capability 3.1, 4.1 and 6.1)
  3. Relate theory and practice to individual contexts and problems (Capability 3.3 and 6.1)
  4. Demonstrate an ability to take positions within theoretical debates and argue for them (Capability 3.2 and 4.1)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Outline of essay 15% Individual Coursework
Applied Essay 40% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 45% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Outline of essay
Applied Essay
Final Exam

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect  24 hours of lectures, 70 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 70 hours of work on assignments and exam preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities.
Lectures will be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events including.
Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

The course will consist of four block teaching days plus self-directed reading and assignments. The reading will focus both on a general knowledge of the field and the development of specialist interests. The teaching assumes that students will devote time between each block to read the prescribed text and photocopied articles. Students will be encouraged to develop their own perspectives and interests and to relate these to their work environment. Assignment work assumes significant self-directed reading into specialist interest areas. Class teaching will involve a mixture of presentations and discussion. The main aim is to provide a general introduction to issues with each dilemma in order to inform subsequent discussion. Students are encouraged to participate actively in discussions and to clearly communicate both consenting and dissenting viewpoints.

This course is held at Grafton Campus. Please see your timetable on SSO for the room details.

We will provide lecture summaries on CANVAS immediately after the presentations, and selected articles are provided at the first class of the course.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Last year had a mix of online and class teaching. This year will all be in class

Other Information

The content of the course will be presented to illustrate issues posed by the following five critical dilemmas:
Abstinence versus harm reduction approaches
Brief versus substantive interventions
Social versus individual models of care
Public health versus treatment interventions
Universal versus culturally specific approaches

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.