Substance Misuse: A Holistic Approach to Problematic Drug and Alcohol Use (SW4708) Short Course

Substance Misuse: A Holistic Approach to Problematic Drug and Alcohol Use (SW4708) Short Course

This module is aimed at students who would like to develop their knowledge of alcohol and other drugs. Within Social Care there is an increasing awareness of the potentially detrimental impact on individuals and their families of problematic substance use but practitioners report feeling unskilled in their assessment of and response to problematic use. 

A range of modules are available to enhance your knowledge, develop skills and further your CPD. Credits can be gained on a standalone modular basis or used to achieve one of the School of Social Work, Care and Community’s CPD target awards.

Entry and Admissions

AWARD TYPE: Short Course


LEVEL:Short Course / CPD

STUDY MODE: Part time


COURSE LENGTH: This course will run over 12 weeks, usually consisting of weekly 3-hour lectures plus self-directed study time.

SCHOOL: School of Social Work, Care and Community

PARTNER COLLEGES: No Partner College

CAMPUS: Preston

START DATE: To be confirmed. To be notified please email

Entry Requirements:

This module is aimed at candidates who are interested in the understanding of and development of good practice with people using alcohol and other drugs.

All candidates need to ensure that they have a relevant undergraduate degree at 2:2 or above, or evidence of their ability to study at postgraduate level.

Course Content

This module aims to enable the candidate to explore the complex issues relating to substance misuse with a specific emphasis on a holistic approach to assessment and response. Students will explore substance misuse in a political, legislative, societal and individual context.

This course will cover the following areas:

  • Contemporary drug and alcohol strategies in England and Wales.
  • Law and policy as it relates to alcohol and other drugs.
  • Service user and family perspectives and experiences.
  • The impact of substance misuse on families, with reference to individuals, parents and the children of substance misusing parents.
  • The evidence base and theoretical framework for assessment of, and response to incidents of substance misuse.
  • Using life course developmental theories to analyse the context of substance misuse.
  •  Approaches to the treatment of substance misuse.
  • Consideration of service provision from tier one to tier four.
  • The impact of substance misuse on criminality (including domestic and family violence), mental and physical health problems, parenting, social exclusion, poverty and unemployment.
  • The role of collaboration and multi-professional working.
  • Substances - what they look like, how they are commonly used, how much they cost, the effects of use and withdrawal.
  • An exploration of value bases and cultural attitudes towards substance misuse.

20 Credit Module at Level 7


Learning Environment & Assessment

Portfolio and Presentation

Academic Expertise

Fiona Harbin, Module Leader.

Learning outcome & aims

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • Critically explore the legislative and political context of substance misuse.
  • Critically appraise the prevalence and impact of problematic drug and alcohol misuse on individuals, families, communities and society.
  • Critically evaluate the ways in which dominant theories of substance misuse and interventions influence practice in this field.
  • Critically examine the complexity of a holistic assessment and response to incidents of substance misuse with reference to current research.
  • Critically analyse the impact of personal, professional and societal values on service provision.

Industry links & professional accreditation

The School of Social Work Care and Community has worked closely with some of the key local statutory and independent employers in the development of this module. The learning from this module can be used towards requirements for continuing professional development and continuing education.

Progression Routes

This module can be completed towards the Professional Development and Practice, PGCert, Specialist Practice with Adults, Specialist Child Care Practice or Advanced Community Justice Postgraduate Certificate.

On successful completion of this module students can continue their professional development studies by undertaking other modules to gain a Postgraduate Certificate. We offer further progression with MA awards. For full details on the school’s CPD offering and progression routes please visit

Fees & Funding

You can contact the Student Fees and Funding Team via phone, email, or post. If you are on the campus you can call into The 'i', for advice.
Tel: +44 (0)1772 892440
Student Fees and Funding Team, Foster Building 117, UCLan, Preston, PR1 2HE

£765 per 20 credits

For 2018/19 fees please refer to our fees page.

How to Apply

Please contact the CPD team for specific guidance to support you in completing an application and to ensure it is directed appropriately once submitted. You will be advised to apply through the University Online Application System. 

Individuals should initially discuss their application with their employer as arrangements may be in place for financial and study leave support.

Should you have any further questions about the module or application process please contact the CPD team on:

Tel: +44 (0)1772 894361/3408


About UCLan

Centre for CPD

School of Social Work, Care & Community

University of Central Lancashire,
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1772 894361