Substance Use and Addiction (BMRI5018)


This unit is designed to provide students with an introduction to the fields of substance use and the neurobiology of addiction. It will provide a sound knowledge and understanding of substance use in Australia and the harms that result from use, and address harm minimisation. Students will examine prevalence and risk factors for the use of psychoactive substances, patterns and types of substances used, and evidence on what works to reduce substance use and the resulting harms. This will include legal substances including alcohol, tobacco and prescription medications, as well as the illicit drugs. Students will also have the opportunity to learn about different communications skills to assess an individual substance user and apply their learning through developing an appropriate intervention for a particular work context. Management strategies for intoxication, withdrawal and rehabilitation approaches will be examined, including pharmacology and psychological strategies such as motivational interviewing.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


1x 2-hr lecture/week


Short answer questions (30%), extended response questions (30%), essay (40%)


Textbook of Addiction Medicine, Ed Haber, Day and Farrell (2015, in press).

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

BMRI5003 or equivalent clinical experience; BMRI5050 or equivalent clinical experience

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.