Drugs and Behaviour

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
PSYC 3341
Drugs and Behaviour
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 4 hrs per week/semester
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

The primary methods of instruction will be lecture and seminar. The course will also involve group activities, presentations, audiovisual media and guest lectures.

Course Description
This is an introductory course in psychopharmacology. Topics include the neurobiology of drug action and psychotropic drugs--their pharmacology, metabolism, interactions, adverse effects and therapeutic uses.
Course Content
  1. Neurotransmitters and Receptors
  2. Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics
  3. Biology of Mental Disorders
  4. Sedative Hypnotics, Anxiolytics and Alcohol
  5. Psychostimulants
  6. Opiates
  7. Marijuana, Hallucinogens, Phencyclidine and Inhalants
  8. Antidepressants
  9. Mood Stabilizers
  10. Antipsychotics and Anticholinergics
  11. Dementia
  12. Herbal Medications
Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:


  1. Demonstrate an understanding of basic neural structure and function, with a particular focus on cellular level events  such as neurotransmission.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic mechanisms of drug effects, including routes of administration, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and neurophysiology.
  3. Describe and demonstrate an understanding of the major classes of psychotropic drugs, their mode of action, effects and side effects.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of psychotropic drug abuse, dependence and treatment, including both prescription and street drugs.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of drug research including clinical trials.
  7. Demonstrate an ability to obtain, critically evaluate  and understand current information regarding drugs.
Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. Evaluation will be based on course objectives and include some of the following:


1. multiple choice, short answer, or essay exams

2. term paper, research project, or written assignments

3. oral presentation or teaching demonstration


The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of semester.


An example of a possible evaluation scheme is as follows:

Research paper                                      20%

Three exams at 20% each                       60%

Presentation                                           20%


Total                                                     100%

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:

 Texts will be updated periodically. An example of an appropriate text is:

Hedges, D. and Burchfield, C. (2006). Mind, Brain and Drug.  New York: Pearson.