Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Advances in Evidence Based Policy, Prevention and Practice

UM LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course



DEPARTMENT Physiology and Biochemistry

DESCRIPTION This study-unit will explore how scientific research on drug use and its consequences has contributed to improving individual and public health through evidence-based policies, practices and prevention. The unit will examine how research has revolutionized our understanding of addiction, driving a new understanding of the neurobiological, genetic, epigenetic, social, and environmental factors that contribute to substance use and other addictive disorders.

These advances have helped to transform how addiction is conceptualized. The study-unit will explore how policy, practice and prevention are informed and influenced by empirical evidence. The unit will revisit the biological, environmental, behavioral and social causes and consequences of addiction across the lifespan discussed in previous study-units and explore how such evidence informs improved strategies to prevent addiction and its consequences.

Study-unit Aims:

The study-unit aims to explore the issues of policy, practice and prevention and how these are informed and influenced by empirical evidence. With regards to policy it aims to introduce the concepts of policy development in the field of addictive behaviour and familiarise students with both international adn EU strategies and action plans. It aims to discuss the social and legislative (policy) responses to addictions and how they have evolved over time. in terms of practice the study-unit will explore the processes that influence the translation of policy into practice and examine the development of practice guidelines and procedures. In relation to prevention the unit aims to explore the concepts of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention strategies and the recent advances in prevention science

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- critically engage with the process of how evidence is translated into policy, practice and prevention;
- be cognisant of the policy cycle;
- document major policy issues in the field of addictive behaviour;
- explain new evidence based practices for intervention with people with addictive behaviours;
- explain evidence based developments in prevention science.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- engage in policy analysis;
- apply evidence to evaluating practice effectiveness;
- apply evidence to evaluating prevention effectiveness;
- engage in a set analysis task.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Set text

- Miller, p. (2013) Interventions for Addiction Comprehensive Addictive Behaviors and Disorders, Volume 3 CA: Academic Press.

Supplementary readings

- Ysa , T. ,Colom, J., Albareda, A. , Ramon, A, Carrion, M. and Segura, L (2014)Governance of Addictions: European Public Policies (Governance of Addictive Substances and Behaviours Series) London: Oxford University Press.
- Muscat, R.( 2010), Treatment systems overview, Council of Europe.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Analysis Task SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Richard Muscat


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2023/4. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.