HST310 Drugs and Alcohol: Historical Perspectives (8)

Drugs and alcohol have been looked upon in vastly different ways over time, and according to the cultural context in which they are being considered. Even the term 'illicit drugs' is a relatively modern one. Yet, current debates are most often ahistorical- they proceed from the assumption that drug and alcohol use, public policy and law do not have a past. This subject explores how drugs and alcohol have been considered at key moments in history.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


Session 2 (60)
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: HST310. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • Understand key moments in this history and appreciate their significance
  • Be able to analyse the cultural and social meanings attached to drugs and alcohol over time
  • Have developed a knowledge of, and ability to critique theoretical frameworks utilised to facilitate this analysis
  • Have gained a deeper understanding of contemporary debates in the area by having an historical perspective on drugs and alcohol.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Prohibition in 1920s America
  • the 'sly-grog' era in Australia, clubs and sly grog joints
  • analysis of the social, cultural and political effects of both prohibition and regulation
  • drug and 'pub' subcultures throughout history
  • media representations of drugs and alcohol in the 20th century
  • the history of heroin in South East Asia and the West.
  • the origins of the 'war on drugs'


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or ask@csu.edu.au or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.