Substances of Abuse - PS713

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 2)
Autumn and Spring 7 15 (7.5) DR S Biagini checkmark-circle


  • Elements of synthetic organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry which are relevant to substances of abuse.
  • The theoretical chemistry and principles of analysis and identification of several substances that are substances of abuse. The following are indicative:
    o amphetamines and related compounds
    o LSD and related compounds
    o Cannabis and Cannabis products
    o opiate compounds
    o cocaine and related compounds
    o certain controlled pharmaceutical drugs.


    This module appears in the following module collections.

    Contact hours

    Approximately 16 hours will be spent on timetabled lectures, 8h spent on timetabled student presentations.


    This is not available as a wild module.

    Method of assessment

    Examination: 70%, Coursework: 30%.

    Indicative reading

    Clarke's Analytical Forensic Toxicology, Pharmaceutical Press; 1 edition (30 Jun 2008)
    ISBN-10: 0853697051; ISBN-13: 978-0853697053.

  • Michael D. Cole; The Analysis of Controlled Substances: A Systematic Approach. Cole 2003.
    ISBN 0-471-49253-1.

  • Coleman, Michael D., Human Drug Metabolism: an introduction, 2010. ISBN: 13-9780470742167

  • Perrine, Daniel M., The Chemistry of Mind-Altering Drugs: History, Pharmacology and Cultural Context, 1996. ISBN: 13-9780841232532

  • Stevens, A., Drugs, Crime and Public Health: the political economy of drug policy, 2011. ISBN: 13-9780203844168

    See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

    Learning outcomes

    To acquire a knowledge and understanding of the theoretical chemistry and the principles of analysis and identification of several chemicals that are related to substances of abuse.

  • Display an ability to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of essential facts, concepts, principles and theories relating to the subject areas identified in the syllabus.
  • Display an ability to apply such knowledge to qualitative and quantitative problem solving in the relevant subject area.
  • Display an ability to communicate complex scientific topic in the form of an audio-visual presentation.


    1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
    2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
    3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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