JST320 Drugs, Crime and Society (8)

This subject examines social, legal and political responses to illicit and licit drug use in contemporary society, with emphasis on Australian society. Taking in the complexities of human behaviour and social action as it relates to substance use, students will need to examine domestic and international debates on the current 'war against drugs'. The relationship between key social concepts such as race, gender and ethnicity, and official and unofficial interventions, will be explored. Priority will be given to an understanding of the legal implications of drug use within a broad societal context, and the range of interventions inside and outside the criminal justice system.


Session 1 (30)
Bathurst Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: JST320. 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


Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security

Assumed Knowledge

Any JST level 2 subject

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to explain and critique the social construction of 'the drug problem';
  • be able to explain patterns of drug use and abuse across a variety of historical, cultural, national and international settings;
  • be able to critically analyse the political, social and economic implications of contemporary Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) policy;
  • be able to critically analyse political, criminal justice and medical responses to AOD use/abuse;
  • be able to explain and analyse the assumptions and practices underlying a range of intervention strategies directed at AOD use/abuse;
  • be able to articulate their understanding clearly and cogently;
  • be able to use the work of major theorists and authors to inform their understanding;
  • be able to demonstrate a growing professional awareness by being professional in all communications and conduct with academic staff and other students, and through presentation of assignments


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Overview, history of drugs, prohibition and hegemony, theories of drug use (social and psychological), classification of drugs, harm reduction and minimization, treatments, drugs, freedom and democracy, law enforcement, organized drug crime, geopolitical and economic aspects of drug markets, drugs and youth culture, drug courts and therapeutic jurisprudence, drugs and race, drugs and gender.

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of JST320 in Session 1 2019. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Online quiz
Short answer exercise
Research essay

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: October 2020. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.