You must produce a 3,000 word essay using either a ‘case study’ approach, or by answering a ‘topic-related question’.  This assignment assesses Learning Outcomes Two and Three:

  1. Show an appreciation of the contested nature of knowledge surrounding drug use, addiction, treatment and policy, through critical evaluation of the core assumptions and concepts underpinning such knowledge.
  • Critically evaluate drug-related problems and offer evidence-based solutions where appropriate, informed by wider notions of ‘justice’.

Case Study Approach

Students must choose a drug or group of drugs (i.e. opiates, hallucinogens, NPS etc.) and produce a systematic study of it covering:

  1. The history of its production and use;
  2. A critical review of state responses to it (policy, treatment, decriminalisation etc.);
  3. An evaluation of evidence-based solutions to the drug(s)’ associated problems, informed by wider notions of ‘justice’.

Topic Related Questions:

Students must select ONE of the following questions:

  1. To what extent can the current system of UK drug classification under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act be said to be ‘fit for purpose?’
  2. Critically evaluate the suggestion that the use of stronger strains of cannabis (i.e. skunk) is a ‘new drug problem’ and explain the extent to which policy responses impact on its use.
  3. The link between drugs and crime is more complex than it first appears. Critically discuss this claim.
  4. Critically evaluate the impacts of UK criminal justice drug interventions (for example prisons, community sentencing and/or alternatives). Explain how drug users, and indeed justice, might be better served by the criminal justice system.
  5. Identify and critically assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of a range of alternative systems for regulating drugs.


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