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Postgraduate Adolescent Addiction Studies

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  • Objectives
    • Learn the theoretical approaches to understanding substance misuse or dependence problems in adolescence • Develop and enhance assessment and treatment skills specifically targeted to the adolescent population • Learn related approaches to interventions specifically targeted to the adolescent population, including assessment, pharmacological or psychological treatments, relapse prevention, and self-help • Explore the specific needs of individuals and different groups (in adolescence) such as adolescent women, adolescents serving custodial sentences, ethnic minorities (eg Afro-Caribbean or Asian adolescent population), or children of substance misusing parents • Learn and explore current insights into different models of service delivery targeted to the adolescent population, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally • Learn and explore contemporary thinking in prevention and rehabilitation programmes • Learn, explore, discuss and debate national policy directions
  • Entry requirements
    The course is targeting a wide range of professionals, medical teams and organisations, such as social services, youth offender teams, and children’s or women’s services, concerned with the issue of adolescent addiction. Researchers in the field of medicine or mental health law, educationalists, or policy makers are also welcomed. Applicants should be graduates (or have an equivalent professional qualification) in any area which is relevant to the subject of the course. This may include biological, psychological or health related areas including nursing, midwifery, social science, law or eduction. A good working knowledge of English is essential for acceptance onto the course. If in doubt about suitability you should contact the Course Administrator.
  • Academic Title
    MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate Adolescent Addiction Studies
  • Course description

    Over the last decade there has been a growing awareness regarding the nature and extent of substance misuse in young people. Indeed,
    prevention and reduction of substance misuse by young people is a key target in national UK policy.

    The UK has the highest rates of substance misuse in young people in Europe. One-fifth of 1 year olds and one-quarter of 15 year olds smoke daily. For the first time the numbers of young female smokers exceed young male smokers. Fifty per cent of young men (aged 16-2 ) drink above the recommended ‘safe limits’ for alcohol and between 2- % are dependent on alcohol.

    Drug misuse, too, is a serious problem as 0% of young people use cannabis regularly and about % are dependent. Problematic use of Class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine is not decreasing in line with government targets. Moreover, young people use a variety of substances in a ‘pick ’n’ mix’ fashion.

    Thus, there is an increasing emphasis on the detection and provision of services to young substance misusers. However, it is also recognised that there is a deficit in the multidisciplinary skills required by medical practitioners, psychologists, social workers, police, probation officers, educationalists and others to intervene effectively in this complex and vulnerable group of young people.

    The Adolescent Addiction Studies course (believed to be unique in the UK) has been developed to provide theoretical knowledge and practical skills for working with adolescents. It is aiming to enable participants to develop a critical and systematic understanding of the theoretical and scientific basis of the assessment and management of substance misuse problems in this particularly vulnerable group. It also aims to enable students to have qualities and transferable specialist skills necessary for employment, or education and research related to substance misuse problems in adolescence.

    Course Structure and Content

    The course is delivered in four stand alone modules of 0 credits each. Students will have the opportunity either to combine Module 1 with any other module and be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits), or to complete all four modules and be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits). Students can subsequently progress to MSc level (180 credits). (Note that in exceptional circumstances, students who have sufficient experience in the field of substance misuse may be allowed to complete any two modules and be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate without completing Module 1.)

    Students who wish to complete the MSc course will be required to undertake a 15 credit version of Module 2 and the Research Methods
    and statistic Module (15 credits) as well as a dissertation (60 credits) of 15,000-20,000 words. Delivery of the course and assessment methods will incorporate a great deal of flexibility in order to meet individual requirements and needs.

    Students can undertake the first six days of Module 1 as a short course without accreditation. This short course is used as an introduction to the main course. Students also have the opportunity to complete the whole of the module and the assignment(s) and progress to a different module and level of the course.

    The content of each module is summarised below.

    Course Modules

    Module 1: Substance-Related Disorders in Young People: Introduction, Scientific Framework, Basic Assessment and Treatment Principles

    This module familiarises students with basic principles that underpin adolescent addiction psychiatry and facilitates students in exploring the literature with regard to substance-related disorders in adolescence.

    Module 2: Epidemiology, Aetiology and Pathways to Substance Misuse in Young People: Genetic, Developmental, Biological, Psychological and Sociological Perspectives

    Students will become aware of basic epidemiological principles and methodology and will understand how epidemiology informs an
    understanding of aetiology, treatment interventions, prevention activities and service provisions.

    Module 3: Current Issues and Future Needs in The Assessment of Substance Misuse and Dependence in Young People

    This module distinguishes between stages of assessment and reports current trends in instrument development.

    Module 4: Substance Misuse in Young People: Treatment, Rehabilitation and Prevention Strategies, Service Provision and Planning

    This module explores different pharmacological and psychological treatment models with emphasis on contemporary models.

    MSc Research Methods and Statistics Module

    This module will enable the student to understand basic research methods and apply this knowledge to evidence-based practical.

    Students who wish to complete the MSc course will be required to undertake a 15 credit version of Module 2 and the Research Methods
    and statistics Module (15 credits) as well as a dissertation (60 credits) of 15,000-20,000 words. Delivery of the course and assessment methods will incorporate a great deal of flexibility in order to meet individual requirements and needs.


    Each module is assessed by the completion of a written assignment on an agreed topic relevant to the content of the module. The type and length of the assignment differs in each module.

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