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Drugs and Crime

ModuleCRM 4618
Level Level 7
Credits 15
Fees £900
Start dateJanuary 2024
Delivery mode Online Distance Education
Course Leader Professor Karen Duke


This module critically examines the key criminological theories and concepts relating to drugs and drug use, the relationship between drugs and crime, and the criminal justice institutions (i.e. police, probation and prisons), policies and legislation relating to drugs, drug use and offending.

This module is ideal for health and social care professionals, working in a variety of settings who have an interest in substance use and wish to extend their knowledge and understanding of how it interfaces with the criminal justice system.

This module aims to develop advanced skills in the application of criminological theories and concepts in relation to drugs, drug use, and drugs control and in critically analysing the relationship between drugs and crime.

You will critically evaluate the laws, policies and institutions of drugs control within their social, political and economic contexts and compare and contrast the role of the criminal justice system in responding to drugs in various countries. The module also aims to foster a critical interest in the reform of drugs control policy and institutions at both national and international levels.

Course content

During this module, you will learn to:

  1. Critically assess the relationship between drugs, crime and social structural factors by evaluating the research and evidence base
  2. Critically evaluate the role of the criminal justice system (in the UK or student’s country of residence) as a response to drugs in contemporary society through the application of criminological theories and concepts
  3. Formulate, present and critique structured arguments and key debates in relation to drugs control and justify conclusions drawn based on research evidence

Learning and teaching

This module is delivered by distance learning.

  • Distance learning materials: online module workbook to guide reading, exercises and activities.  For each unit of study, the workbook will provide: a brief introduction to the topic, specific learning outcomes for the unit, a list of essential reading and recommended further reading, exercises and activities to help students understand the issues, test understanding, consolidate reading and knowledge, and interact with other students and the tutor
  • Online lectures providing short overviews of key concepts and issues
  • Tutorial support via email, phone, Zoom/Skype
  • Online discussion board for module to debate and comment on key issues
  • Microsoft Teams/Kaltura – for students to share materials, use online meeting rooms and video conference

Summative assessment scheme

The module will be assessed by one essay worth 90% of the marks and contribution to online discussion boards (10%).

1. A 2,500 word evaluative essay

Applying criminological theories and concepts, you will be required to provide a critique and assessment of a specific drugs initiative within the criminal justice system (e.g. arrest referral, street level enforcement, policing drug markets, quasi-compulsory drug treatment, drug courts, drug testing or treatment in prison etc) with reference to the relevant research literature and evidence.)

2. Contribution of 150-200 words to at least 5 separate online discussion boards (5 x 2%).

You will receive 2% for each contribution, up to a maximum total of 10%. These contributions need to be made to the online discussion boards at the end of each unit. They will be assessed at the end of the teaching period (16.04.21)

Teaching dates

The module comprises six units which will be delivered over 12 weeks, all learning materials will be accessed via the online myLearning platform.

The module will be taught between Monday 11 January 2021 and Friday 16 April 2021 with the Summative assessment (2,500 word essay) being due on Friday 16 April 2021.

There will be two online workshops scheduled during the module.

  1. Sociological and Criminological Perspectives
  2. Drugs and Crime
  3. Drugs markets and enforcement
  4. Alternatives to punishment and prison
  5. Drugs and the penal system
  6. Possibilities for Drug Policy Reform

There will opportunities for individual tutorials and formative feedback on essay plans.

How to apply

To be eligible for this module, you must provide evidence of an ability to study at Level 6.

Apply for this module through our online application form.

Fees and funding

The fees* below refer to the 2020/21 academic year unless otherwise stated.

Per credit: £60
15 credits: £900

*Course fees are subject to annual inflation.

There are several funding options available:

  • receiving course fees via CPPD contracts between NHS trusts and Middlesex University
  • paying your own fees
  • sponsorship by your employer (but not under a CPPD contract).

For more information for any of these options, including fee rates for self-funding/employer-sponsored students, please visit our dedicated funding page.

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