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ACE2230 Introduction to Addiction Studies is a Course

ACE2230 Introduction to Addiction Studies

Ended Nov 16, 2021

Sorry! The enrolment period is currently closed. Please check back soon.

Full course description

Course Overview

This short “An Introduction to Addiction Studies” course invites students to engage with an important health and societal issue.  The course will provide students with an introduction to the theories, treatment models, frameworks, services and practices associated with substance misuse, addiction and recovery in contemporary Ireland. Students will explore the effects addiction has on the health and well-being of individuals, families, communities and the health, social care and criminal justice systems of the state. Students will be provided with an understanding of how addiction theory, policy and  practice have developed socio-culturally and historically, They will be introduced to the models of addiction treatment, and the services that are available national, regionally and locally for some of the most vulnerable in society. 

An overview of current discourse and practice in the area of substance use will be provided for students. It will focus on the evolution of the various narratives around addiction and its impact on the individual, family, communities and society as a whole.  It will pay particular attention to the Irish context but international influences will be drawn upon to stimulate debate in the areas of harm reduction; decriminalisation; legalisation; trauma and evidence informed care and other recent developments in this field. Teaching sessions will focus on the nature and context of addiction (including characteristics, definitions and distinguishing features from non-problematic drug use); drug prevention, education and awareness with a focus on young people; models of treatment including discussions around abstinence vs harm reduction methodologies; dual diagnosis; behavioural therapies and drug policy issues. Community and family focused issues such as drug related intimidation will also be included.

Course Content

Classes will be delivered online on Tuesdays 7-9pm for  eight weeks from 28 September to 16 November.

Eight proposed lecture titles include:

  1. Addiction: Exploring the nature and context
  2. Models of causality in addiction
  3. Models of treatment in addiction
  4. Drug prevention, education and awareness: then vs now
  5. Drug policy – where from here?
  6. Drugs and crime
  7. Community development, community drugs work, drug related intimidation
  8. Student reflections on the course content as a whole and opportunities for further study and exploration

Course lecturers

Dr. Rebekah Brennan is proposed as the lecturer for this course. Dr. Brennan is an experienced and widely published qualitative independent and postdoctoral researcher in the field of substance use, misuse and addiction, with 24 peer reviewed publications and many presentations at national and international conferences and has liaised with community drugs projects in designing interventions in addition to conducting evaluations of drug related initiatives. Her research interests include: substance use; harm reduction; social justice; community development; marginalised groups and human rights. Dr. Brennan is a lecturer at Adult Continuing Education (ACE) on Level 7 Substance Use and Addiction Studies Diploma at University College Cork (UCC). She is also a lecturer at An Cosan Higher Education, Tallaght, Dublin 24 on the Level 7 Applied Addiction Studies and Community Development BA degree, where she also performs programmatic review and strategic planning for the development of the Higher Education team. She is an external panel lecturer at Ballyfermot Chapelizod Partnership, Dublin 10 (modules: substance use; homelessness; academic skills). Dr. Brennan has experience of programme development at QQI Levels 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5 and is experienced and competent at blending learning delivery, virtual learning environments, assessment, examination, delivery of feedback and mentorship. Dr. Brennan holds a PhD by research in drug sociology from Waterford Institute of Technology (graduated October 2018). She is a former Irish Research Council Scholarship awardee (2013). She holds a BA (Hons) in Addiction Counselling (1.1).

Robert O’Driscoll has a Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Care from the University of Wales. His area of practice and research interest is in implementing evidence-based substance misuse treatment and prevention programmes. He has worked with the HSE Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Child and Adolescent Addiction Treatment Services in Arbour House, St Finbarr’s Hospital for twenty years and currently in Senior Addiction Counsellor in the Anchor Treatment Centre in Mallow, Co. Cork. Robert developed, coordinates and lectures on the UCC/HSE Level 7 (NFQ) Diploma in Substance Misuse and Addiction Studies, the UCC Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, Munster Technology University BA Degree in Counselling with Addiction, the UCD Masters in Public Policy and the NUIM Addiction Studies Programme. He has also developed Level, 8 and ( Addiction Counselling and Advanced addiction Studies Programmes. Most recently he developed the Level 8 (NFQ) Certificate in Professional Development: Responding to Problem Gambling in UCC. Robert has published a peer reviewed journal article on the cultural adaptation of evidence-based substance misuse programmes in Ireland. He has published a book chapter on what type of learning is required for social workers and addiction counsellors to work collaboratively on behalf of children in the care of the state. He has also presented research findings at international conferences in the US, the UK and Europe. He is a member of the International network trainers of Motivational Interviewing and has trained, counsellors, social workers GPs, clinical psychologists, probation officers, Gardai, nurses, dental surgeons, oral health technicians and mental health nurses in Motivational Interviewing and Brief Interventions in Ireland and in Europe.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must be at least 18 years old at course commencement.


Short courses are not assessed. Students will receive a UCC Certificate of Attendance upon completion.

Closing Date for Application

Friday 17 September

Contact Details for Further Information

Regina Sexton, Phone: 021-4904700, Email: