MHP115 Introduction to Substance Use, Alcohol and Other Drugs (8)

This subject introduces and orientates the student to the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) field. It will examine the historical context and current patterns of AOD use in our society. Various models of dependence including harm minimisation as the dominant philosophy in Australia will be explored. The basic pharmacology of commonly used drugs of dependence will be detailed. The subject will cover the key components of assessment and intervention for states of intoxication, overdose and withdrawal. Finally the primary purpose and evidence supporting current specific AOD treatment interventions will be outlined.  Holistic health encompasses spirituality as well as the physical, social, and emotional wellbeing of the individual and community. This subject has a compulsory Residential School.

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


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 2 (60)
Online *
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: MHP115. 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 Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health

Enrolment Restrictions

Restricted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to describe the trends and prevalence of AOD use in Australian society including its effects on the financial, social and environmental sustainability;
  • be able to describe and apply different models of dependence;
  • be able to define the terms harm minimisation and abstinence;
  • be able to identify AOD use that places the client at risk of harm;
  • be able to explain the key components of a AOD use assessment;
  • be able to differentiate between signs and symptoms of intoxication, overdose and withdrawal, including the ability to perform Clinical observations;
  • be able to describe the general principles of intervention models;
  • be able to describe forms of other specific AOD treatment interventions and the evidence supporting these interventions eg. opioid treatments and court diversion;
  • be able to demonstrate understanding and application of the fundamental principles of written communication skills at a beginning level;
  • be able to identify the factors that underpin effective oral presentations and demonstrate, with guidance, developing oral presentation skills;
  • be able to use technology to aid research, record and present information in a professional manner, consistent with organisational requirements.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Module 1: History of AOD use in modern society and more specifically in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • Module 2: Alcohol and Other Drugs: An introduction to models of dependence, and concepts of the continuum of harm minimisation and hazardous, harmful and dependent AOD use.
  • Module 3: Broad overview of AOD use in the Australian population, and more specifically in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • Module 4: Assessment of AOD use, including interviewing and assessment tools, observational and listening techniques.
  • Module 5: Principles of assessment and intervention of intoxication, overdose and withdrawal states, relevant tools and documentation.
  • Module 6: Early and brief interventions in the AOD field including a brief overview of stages of change and motivational interviewing.
  • Module 7: Orientation to other specific AOD treatment interventions eg. opioid treatments and court diversion and the evidence supporting these interventions.

Residential School

This subject contains a 2.66 day Compulsory Residential School.

The students undertaking subjects within the Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health)  Djirruwang Program are supported in their study endeavours through DEEWR funding under Away from Base to attend the compulsory residential schools. This funding is set at 20 days across two academic sessions (30 and 60). The following breakdown covers the number of days per subject per session/year to ensure that students are able to continue to be supported in their academic pursuits under the current funding agreement with the Indigenous Student Services (Ngungilanna).

First Year
Session One                    Session Two
MHP111  2 days             MHP111 - 2 days
MHP112  2.66 days        MHP115 - 2.66 days
MHP105 - 2.66 days         MHP113 - 2.66 days
MHP109  2.66 days        MHP114 - 2.66 days
Total 10 days                    Total 10 days

Special Resources

This subject has a residential school.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or 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.