Psychology 3315E-001

Addictions: Theory and Research

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.


This course introduces students to major topics in the prevention and treatment of various forms of addictive behaviour. The course also involves a structured community service learning component in which students will help addictions-related organizations meet their identified needs. This work will not necessarily involve direct client contact.

Prerequisites: Psychology 2820E or both Psychology 2800E and 2810. Registration is by special permission only and must be obtained from the course instructor in the spring/summer before the course begins in the fall term

2 seminar hours, 3 placement hours, 1.0 course (This course has a service learning component)

Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enrol in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.


Instructor:  Dr. Riley Hinson   

Office and Phone Number:  7308 SSC, 519-661-2111 ext 84649   

Office Hours:  By appointment


Time and Location of Classes:  Tuesdays, 2:30-4:30 STVH 3166

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you.  Please visit: for more information on these resources and on mental health.

Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 519-661-2111 ext 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.


 No textbook required.


The purpose of the course is to provide students exposure to both the scholarly literature and research related to many aspects of addiction.  From the placement, students are expected to gain experience as to how some of the ideas and concepts discussed in lecture unfold in settings providing addiction related services.


 By the end of the course the successful student should be able to:

  • Memorize, describe and apply main concepts and principles related to drug use and addiction
  • Locate and critically evaluate scholarly material related to real world challenges faced by those with drug use problems and those providing help to such individuals
  • Communicate scientific information in oral and written forms that are accessible to those involved real world delivery of addiction services and treatment
  • Critique information presented in scientific and popular media related to drug use and drug addiction
  • Manage and deliver a project that is of value to a community organization involved in providing services to those with drug addiction, which would involve conceptualization, planning, coordination of efforts, time management
  • Engage in reflection about drug users and those who are engaged in helping them to experience personal growth and to be able to more accurately inform others about drug addiction
  • Recognize and develop own sense of commitment to civic engagement and social responsibility

Learning Outcome


Learning Activities



Knowledge and Understanding

1. Depth & Breadth of Knowledge

Memorize (M), describe (D) and apply (A) main concepts and principles  related to drug use and addiction



Class discussion

Guest lectures

Community project  


Oral Presentations of current news

Contribution to Class Discussion (DA)

Final Report (DA)

Final Presentation (DA) 


2. Knowledge and Application of Methodologies

Locate and critically evaluate scholarly material related to real world challenges faced by those with drug use problems and those providing help to such individuals

Community project

Classroom activity

Oral/written reports

Final Report

Contribution to class activity

Final class oral presentation

3. Communication Skills

Communicate scientific information in oral and written forms that are accessible to those involved in real world settings.

Community project

Classroom activity

As assessed by setting supervisor

Contribution to class activity

Final Report

 Final class oral presentation

4. Autonomy and Professional Capacity

Manage and deliver a project that is of value to a community organization

Community project

As assessed by setting supervisor (in consultation with course instructor) 




5. Awareness of Limits of Knowledge

Engage in reflection about what you have experienced in the community settings

Community project

CEL logs

Class presentation on reflection

Class discussion

Instructor evaluation of CEL logs

Contribution to class discussions

Final report and presentation

As assessed by setting supervisor, in consultation with instructor.

6. Autonomy and Professional Capacity

Recognize and develop own sense of commitment to civic engagement and social responsibility.

Community project

Field  trips


Class discussions  

Instructor evaluation of CEL logs.

Final report and presentation  

Post course reflection session




NOTE:  Because this is an essay course, as per Senate Regulations (, you must pass the essay component to pass the course. That is, the average mark for your written assignments must be at least 50%.

Although the Psychology Department does not require instructors to adjust their course grades to conform to specific targets, the expectation is that course marks will be distributed around the following averages:

70%     1000-level and 2000-level courses
72%     2190-2990 level courses
75%     3000-level courses
80%     4000-level courses
The Psychology Department follows the University of Western Ontario grading guidelines, which are as follows (see ):

A+  90-100      One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level
A    80-89        Superior work that is clearly above average
B    70-79        Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory
C    60-69        Competent work, meeting requirements
D    50-59        Fair work, minimally acceptable
F    below 50    Fail

Your grade will be based on the following:


15 points

Plan and discussion of project occurring during week of Oct.23.  Each group will meet with me to discuss their project.  Expectations are that a detailed outline/plan of what they are doing and how they plan to accomplish the finished project will be discussed.  Where appropriate a preliminary annotated bibliography is expected.  A brief overview in either written or power point form is also required. Note that this will be a group-based graded component, so each group will have to decide how the responsibilities will be assigned.  Meetings with each placement group will be scheduled during the week.  These meetings will take the place of the lecture for that week.  As this outline is being prepared we have a field trip planned on Friday, October 27, so the meetings will take place from Monday to Tuesday.  There will be no class that week.


30 points

In-class presentation/discussion of news article related to drugs/drug use/treatment, etc.  Each student will make one during the first term and one during the second term.  Part of the points for this component will be based on class participation by students not making the presentation during a particular week. 


Here is how this works:  Each student will find a newspaper article/magazine article/website that presents information relevant to addictions (broadly conceived).   A few examples of what students found last year were an article on the decriminalization of all drugs in Portugal, an article on a smart nicotine patch, and an article on a drug prevention program in Iceland.  You will send me the URL/link.  I will determine if it is appropriate and if so I will post it on OWL.  This becomes a target article---you will use it to make a power point presentation that should allow for a total of about 30 minutes of presentation and discussion during class.  The article should be viewed as illuminating a “target point” for discussion, in other words the power point presentation will not involve just a presentation of what is in the article (there will, of course, be some of that but we will be able to read the article since it is posted on OWL), rather you will use it to talk about a larger point.  For example, the article on decriminalization of drugs in Portugal lead into a discussion of does it really work, what does “it works” mean, could it work in Canada or other countries, what message is sent by decriminalizing drugs, etc.  The presenter, submitter, and other students will all then need to be prepared to discuss these during the class.  For each student presentation, students will be evaluated as follows:


  • The presenter will be evaluated on the quality of the oral presentation, the quality of the power point presentation, and answering of questions and providing discussion.  For each presentation, the student presenter will be evaluated on a 10 point scale, thus presentation 1 will be worth 10 of the 30 points, presentation 2 will be worth 10 of the 30 points.  The remaining 10 of the 30 points will come from evaluation of the student when they are an audience member (i.e., not presenting). 
  • That works this way--- For each presentation, the non-presenting students will also have some responsibilities that will be graded---each non-presenting student will read the articles that will be presented that week as posted on OWL, and each will submit to OWL (or me, I have to work with ITS about the logistics) a question/comment/ thought that the article raised for them.  These will be appearing on OWL as they are submitted, and students cannot submit the same question/comment, so you will have to read what has already submitted and think of something different.  
  • Submission and quality of question/comment/thought graded from 0-2: 0 if no question/comment/thought submitted or if it is not adequate (I will let you know this and you will be able to submit another one); 1 submitted a question/comment/thought and it was quite acceptable;  2 submitted a question/comment/thought and it clearly reflected a deep consideration of the major points that could be raised by the article
  • Actual participation during the in-class presentation graded from 0-2: 0 no active participation;  1 student was engaged in questions/conversation/comments;  2 student asked particularly insightful questions or provided particularly insightful comments and elevated the level of discussion
  • There are 16 students in the course, thus each student will have 15 non-presenting graded components during each term, and for each of those 15 components there will be the 2 aspects (question submitted and participation during presentation). Therefore students can earn up to 120 total points---15 x 2 for questions and 15 x 2 for participation for each term.  The final 10 out of 30 points will be based on how many of these 120 points a student gets.  Whatever is the maximum number of points earned by any one student will become the 100% standard (that person will get all 10 of the marks).  Other students will earn marks based on what proportion of this 100% standard they earned.  So if the max marks earned is 100, and some student earned 90, they would have 90% of the standard and get 9 out 10 marks.


50 points

The write up of the project.  There is no specific format since it will vary by project, but it should use APA formatting (where appropriate) and should comprise a scholarly review component and a write up of the project. I will meet with each group during the second term to discuss the format of this written presentation—e.g., will it be like a review paper only, or a journal article, or some other format.  Note that this will be a group-based graded component, so each group will have to decide how the responsibilities will be assigned.  


50 points

1 hour power point presentation of your project, with community partner in attendance.  Evaluation will be based on quality of presentation and answering of questions that arise during the presentation.  Note that this will be a group-based graded component, so each group will have to decide how the responsibilities will be assigned.  It is possible that different students in a group could get a different grade, e.g., if one student did not seem to be very involved in the oral presentation or did not do as good as job on their component, so think about evenly dividing up the presentation. 


40 points

Community partners will give you points to a maximum of 20 based on their evaluation of involvement in the organization, participation, handling of any responsibilities, and conduct of project


15 points

Attendance and participation in activities other than the In-the News presentations, both in the classroom and outside the classroom.  

  • This would be based on things like how many of the events/field trips did you attend and actively take part in, or if we have a guest speaker did you contribute to discussion. 
  • Completion of CEL logs (to be described by Lisa Boyko during first class)
  • Last year we had a Community Service Learning in Psychology Showcase in which each group prepared a poster (the department covered the cost) and these were presented on poster boards in the UCC foyer.  We (3315E, 3317E and potentially other CSL courses) plan to do this again this year.  In addition to preparing the poster, students from each group should be present to answer questions. Note that this will be a group-based graded component, so each group will have to decide how the responsibilities will be assigned.  It is possible that different students in a group could get a different grade, e.g., if one student did not seem to be very involved in the preparation of the poster or did not participate in the actual presentation in the UCC foyer.  The date will be near the end of second term and will be determined at a later date.


Your course grade will be the percentage of the total 200 points that you earn.


There are no tests or examinations


A 2 hour class meeting is scheduled for each week.  The first few classes will involve a discussion of different classes of drugs, some of the important concepts related to drug use, some of the history of the conceptualization of drug addiction and treatment, and DSM V 's approach to drug use disorders.  These classes will be more of a lecture format. 


After the initial material has been presented, the classes will be more of a seminar format. 

The topics will be chosen to be relevant to the projects that you will be doing with the community partners--topics may be harm reduction, gaming among adolescents, supportive housing, after care programs, co-dependency, drug treatment courts.  Some topics may also arise as a result of our field trips or guest speakers. 


Some of the classes may be replaced by special activities such as field trips, visits to drug treatment organizations, or guest lectures. Some of the field trips and visits to organizations may take place outside of scheduled class meeting times.  While it is hoped that all students will be able to attend these extra-class activities, it is understood that since they are outside of scheduled class times there may be some activities that students cannot attend.   


Here is a schedule of events (it is subject to change)


Sept. 12:  Welcome to class and discussion of projects and class organization during first half of class

time.  Lisa Boyko will come during the second half to make on presentation on Community Service Learning.




Sept. 19:  Community Partner Fair---all of the community partners will gather to meet with students.  This is where you will have an opportunity to find out more about each community partner and the project we will be doing for them. 


Sept. 26:  SPECIAL CLASS:  We will join, or be joined by, Dr. Leora’s Swartzman’s Community Psychology CSL course, along with someone from the CSL office for a presentation/discussion of ethical and professional issues related to community engaged learning placements.  There are special issues that arise when students are placed in settings that have a vulnerable client population, and these will be covered in this presentation.


Oct. 3:  What do you know, or think you know, about drugs?  We will explore student’s knowledge about drugs and use that to present some information on the various drugs.




Oct. 17: Prior to this class students will compete the DSM V learning modules about substance use disorders, comorbidity, and internet gaming. We will have a discussion of this during class.


Oct. 24:  During this week I will meet individually with each community placement group to discuss their project—there will be a graded component to the meeting---see evaluation above. There will be no class during the scheduled Tuesday time slot, but it can be used to schedule a couple of groups in that 2 hour period.  Appointments will be scheduled from Monday to Thursday of this week.




Oct. 31:  In-the-News presentation


Nov. 7:  In-the-News presentation


Nov. 14:  In-the-News presentation


Nov. 21:  In-the-News presentation


Nov. 28:  In-the-News presentation 


Dec. 5:  If all the In-the-News presentations have been completed there will be no class this week.  If not, we will use this date to complete the In-the-News presentations.



Jan. 9:  Seminar, topic to be determined


Jan. 16:  Seminar, topic to be determined


Jan. 23:  Seminar, topic to be determined


Jan. 30:  Seminar, topic to be determined


Feb. 6:  In-the-News presentation


Feb. 13:  In-the-News presentation


Feb. 20:  NO CLASS


Feb. 27:  In-the-News presentation


March 6:  In-the-News presentation


March 13:  In-the-News presentation


March 20:  Community Project presentations


March 27:  Community Project presentations


April 3:  Community Project presentations


April 10:  Community Project presentations


Any of the above is subject to substitution based on having guest speakers or opportunities to visit sites.


Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offenses. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offenses because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offense are described at the following link:

As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offenses. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and

Possible penalties for a scholastic offense include failure of the assignment, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.


Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at: 

Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation:


Office of the Registrar web site:

Student Development Services web site:

Please see the Psychology Undergraduate web site for information on the following:

- Policy on Cheating and Academic Misconduct
- Procedures for Appealing Academic Evaluations
- Policy on Attendance
- Policy Regarding Makeup Exams and Extensions of Deadlines
- Policy for Assignments
- Short Absences
- Extended Absences
- Documentation
- Academic Concerns
- 2017 Calendar References

No electronic devices, including cell phones and smart watches, will be allowed during exams.