Psychology 2020B 001 FW23

Drugs and Behavior

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.



LONDON               CANADA 

Department of Psychology 



Psychology 2020B    Section 001 

Drugs and Behavior 





Survey of the major drugs of abuse, including alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, opiates, stimulants, inhalants, and sedative-hypnotics. Discussion will focus on historical and current patterns of use and abuse, behavioural and psychological effects of acute and chronic use, psychological processes involved in drug effects, neurochemical bases for action, and treatment issues. 


Antirequisite: Not Applicable 


Prerequisite: Not Applicable 


3 lecture hours; Course Weight: 0.5 





Instructor: Dr. Riley Hinson  

Office and Phone Number: 6334 SSC 519-661-2111 x84649  

Office Hours: By appointment  



Website:  There is an OWL site for this course.  Access to this site is via your id name and password (this is typically your last name and the code involving a combination of numbers and upper and lower case letters).  Important course information will be posted at the website, and this is the main method of communicating information to students.  It is the student’s responsibility to check the web site regularly for important course information.  If you miss a course component (test, make up test, etc.) when the information for that course component has been posted on the web site, then you will receive a grade of zero (0) on that course component.  


Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Health and Wellness @Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help. 


Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also contact Accessible Education at  or 519-661-2147. 


2.1 Online Learning Notice: 
Please note: For courses delivered in an online format, include an online component, or are required to pivot online, students must have a reliable internet connection and computer that are compatible with online learning system requirements. Some courses may also require the use of a remote proctoring platform to ensure assessments are taken fairly in accordance with Western’s policy on Scholastic Discipline for Undergraduate Students and Scholastic Discipline for Graduate Students. Please refer to the course syllabus for further information. 




All material that will be tested will be presented in the class lectures.  If you would like to have a complete copy of most of the material that might be presented in class, you may purchase the entire set of my lectures from the Bookstore. You are not required to purchase this, as only the material presented in the lectures will be tested.  If you are considering purchasing the lectures from the Bookstore, make sure you get the correct book (you may contact me about this is you wish).   




The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the major drugs of use and abuse.  These include alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, opiates, marijuana, sedatives, hallucinogens, stimulants, inhalants, steroids and other miscellaneous drugs.  The history of use of the different drugs will be presented.  The current use of drugs will be described.  The behavioral effects will be presented.  Behavioral and biopsychological research aimed at identifying factors involved in drug use will also be discussed. 


By the end of this course, the successful student should be able to 

  • recognize and identify major drugs of abuse when they are discussed texts, news, public forums 
  • recognize and identify major concepts related to drug addiction 
  • recognize and identify major experimental procedures related to the study of drug addiction 
  • compare, classify, and interpret information about drugs and drug addiction as presented in texts, news, media or public forums 


Student Learning Outcomes, Activities and Assessment 


Course Learning Outcome  


Learning Activities  

How Assessed 

  • Recognize and identify major drugs of abuse 
  • Recognize and identify major concepts related to drug addiction 
  • Recognize and identify major experimental procedures related to the study of drug addiction 
  • Lectures 


  • Mid-term and final tests involving MC questions 


  • Compare, classify and interpret depictions of drugs and drug addiction as they may appear in text, news,media or public forums 
  • Lectures 
  • Discussion of media stories about drugs taken from media websites 


  • Mid-term and final tests involving MC questions 




The evaluation and testing formats for this course were created to assess the learning objectives as listed in section 4.0 and are considered necessary for meeting these learning objectives. 


There will be two term tests (see 7.0 for dates) and a Final Exam (set by the Registrar).  Each of the term tests will be worth 33.333 marks, and the Final will be worth 33.334.  All the tests will be in-person, in a paper-and-pencil format (location to be posted to OWL close to date of each test).  The term tests will take place on Saturdays—they will not be during class time.  All tests will be multiple choice.  The tests will not be explicitly cumulative.  There are general concepts, introduced and discussed at various points in the course, which are relevant to material discussed at any point in the course.  These general concepts, applied to the material covered for a test, may be included on any of the tests.  All tests will be open book.  Students may have either the Text Notes and/or their own written/printed notes during all tests.  Electronic versions of notes are not allowed.     






You must receive official confirmation from either the Faculty Dean’s Office or Academic Counselling in order to be excused from any evaluative component, regardless of its value in terms of calculating your course grade.  The Faculty Dean’s Office or Academic Counselling may require appropriate documentation in order to consider a request for being excused from an evaluative component.   


There will be a make-up for missed tests/final exam that have been excused by Academic Counselling.  There will not be a make-up for those who are no excused, and a grade of zero will be recorded for the missed test/final exam. 


The expectation for course grades within the Psychology Department is that they will be distributed around the following averages: 


70% 1000-level to 2099-level courses 

72% 2100-2999-level courses 

75% 3000-level courses 

80% 4000-level courses 






The Psychology Department follows Western’s grading guidelines, which are as follows (see: 


A+ 90-100 One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level 

A 80-89 Superior work that is clearly above average 

B 70-79 Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory 

C 60-69 Competent work, meeting requirements 

D 50-59 Fair work, minimally acceptable 

F below 50 Fail 


Note that in the event that course grades are significantly higher or lower than these averages, instructors may be required to make adjustments to course grades. Such adjustment might include the normalization of one or more course components and/or the re-weighting of various course components. 


Policy on Grade Rounding: Please note that although course grades within the Psychology Department are rounded to the nearest whole number, no further grade rounding will be done. No additional assignments will be offered to enhance a final grade; nor will requests to change a grade because it is needed for a future program be considered. To maximize your grade, do your best on each and every assessment within the course. 




Test 1 


Test 2 


Final Exam 





7.0 CLASS SCHEDULE  Tentative and subject to change 

Shown below are the topics scheduled for each class, but that may change.  The actual material covered for each test will be posted to OWL prior to the actual test. 


M January 8: Introduction I  

W January 10:  Introduction II  


M January 15:  Introduction III  

W January 17:  Alcohol I  


 M January 22: Alcohol II 

W January 24: Alcohol III  


M January 29: Alcohol IV  

W January 31: Alcohol V  


M February 5   Cannabis I 

W February 7: Cannabis II 


Test 1 will occur on Saturday, February 10 and will cover material presented in lectures from January 8 up through and including the lecture of January 31.  


M February 12: Tobacco I  

W February 14: Tobacco II  


Week of February 19-3—No Class due to Reading Week 


M February 26: Caffeine I and Stimulants I    

W February 28: Stimulants II  


M March 4: Stimulants III 

W March 6: Hallucinogens I  


M March 11: Hallucinogens II   

W March 13: Hallucinogens III  


Test 2 will occur on Saturday, March 16 and will cover material presented in lectures from February 5 up through and including the lecture of March 7. 


M March 18: Sedative-Hypnotics I 

W March 20: Sedative-Hypnotics II 


M March 25: Opiates I 

W March 27: Opiates II    


M April 1: Gambling I  

W April 3: Treatment I 


M April 8: Treatment II 


The Final Exam will be scheduled by the Registrar.  It will cover material presented in lectures from March 11 up through and including the lecture of April 8. 




We acknowledge that Western University is located on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak and Attawandaron peoples, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum. 


With this, we respect the longstanding relationships that Indigenous Nations have to this land, as they are the original caretakers. We acknowledge historical and ongoing injustices that Indigenous Peoples (e.g. First Nations, Métis and Inuit) endure in Canada, and we accept responsibility as a public institution to contribute toward revealing and correcting miseducation, as well as renewing respectful relationships with Indigenous communities through our teaching, research and community service. 





Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offences. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offences because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offence are described at the following link: 


As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offences. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and ( 


Computer-marked multiple-choice tests and/or exams will be subject to submission for similarity review by software that will check for unusual coincidences in answer patterns that may indicate cheating. 


In classes that involve the use of a personal response system (PRS), data collected using the PRS will only be used in a manner consistent to that described in this outline. It is the instructor’s responsibility to make every effort to ensure that data remain confidential. However, students should be aware that as with all forms of electronic communication, privacy is not guaranteed. Your PRS login credentials are for your sole use only. Students attempting to use another student’s credentials to submit data through the PRS may be subject to academic misconduct proceedings.  


Possible penalties for a scholastic offence include failure of the assignment/exam, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University. 




Tests and examinations for online courses will be conducted using a remote proctoring service. By taking this course, you are consenting to the use of this software and acknowledge that you will be required to provide personal information (including some biometric data) and the session will be recorded.  Completion of this course will require you to have a reliable internet connection and a device that meets the technical requirements for this service. More information about this remote proctoring service, including technical requirements, is available on Western’s Remote Proctoring website at: 




Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at: 


If you experience an extenuating circumstance (e.g., illness, injury) sufficiently significant to temporarily make you unable to meet academic requirements, you may request accommodation through the following routes:  

  1. For medical absences, submitting a Student Medical Certificate (SMC) signed by a licensed medical or mental health practitioner in order to be eligible for Academic Consideration;  
  1. For non-medical absences, submitting appropriate documentation (e.g., obituary, police report, accident report, court order, etc.) to Academic Counselling in their Faculty of registration in order to be eligible for academic consideration. Students are encouraged to contact their Academic Counselling unit to clarify what documentation is appropriate. 


Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation. 


Students seeking academic consideration: 

  • are advised to consider carefully the implications of postponing tests or midterm exams or delaying handing in work;   
  • must communicate with their instructors no later than 24 hours after the end of the period covered SMC, or immediately upon their return following a documented absence 


Students seeking accommodation for religious purposes are advised to contact Academic Counselling at least three weeks prior to the religious event and as soon as possible after the start of the term. 




In the event of a COVID-19 resurgence or any other event that necessitates the course delivery moving away from face-to-face interaction, all remaining course content will be delivered entirely online, either synchronously (i.e., at the times indicated in the timetable) or asynchronously (e.g., posted on OWL for students to view at their convenience). The grading scheme will not change. Any remaining assessments will also be conducted online, as determined by the course instructor. 




In courses involving online interactions, the Psychology Department expects students to honour the following rules of etiquette: 

  • please “arrive” to class on time 
  • please use your computer and/or laptop if possible (as opposed to a cell phone or tablet) 
  • please ensure that you are in a private location to protect the confidentiality of discussions in the event that a class discussion deals with sensitive or personal material 
  • to minimize background noise, kindly mute your microphone for the entire class until you are invited to speak, unless directed otherwise 
  • In classes larger than 30 participants please turn off your video camera for the entire class unless you are invited to speak 
  • In classes of 30 students or fewer, where video chat procedures are being used, please be prepared to turn your video camera off at the instructor’s request if the internet connection becomes unstable 
  • Unless invited by your instructor, do not share your screen in the meeting 


The course instructor will act as moderator for the class and will deal with any questions from participants. To participate please consider the following: 

  • If you wish to speak, use the “raise hand” function and wait for the instructor to acknowledge you before beginning your comment or question. 
  • Please remember to unmute your microphone and turn on your video camera before speaking. 
  • Self-identify when speaking. 
  • Please remember to mute your mic and turn off your video camera after speaking (unless directed otherwise). 


General considerations of “netiquette”: 

  • Keep in mind the different cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the students in the course. 
  • Be courteous toward the instructor, your colleagues, and authors whose work you are discussing. 
  • Be respectful of the diversity of viewpoints that you will encounter in the class and in your readings. The exchange of diverse ideas and opinions is part of the scholarly environment. “Flaming” is never appropriate. 
  • Be professional and scholarly in all online postings. Use proper grammar and spelling. Cite the ideas of others appropriately. 


Note that disruptive behaviour of any type during online classes, including inappropriate use of the chat function, is unacceptable. Students found guilty of Zoom-bombing a class or of other serious online offenses may be subject to disciplinary measures under the Code of Student Conduct. 




Office of the Registrar:   


Student Development Services:  


Psychology Undergraduate Program: 


If you wish to appeal a grade, please read the policy documentation at: 

Please first contact the course instructor. If your issue is not resolved, you may make your appeal to the Undergraduate Chair in Psychology ( 


Copyright Statement: Lectures and course materials, including power point presentations, outlines, videos and similar materials, are protected by copyright. You may take notes and make copies of course materials for your own educational use. You may not record lectures, reproduce (or allow others to reproduce), post or distribute any course materials publicly and/or for commercial purposes without the instructor’s written consent. 


Policy on the Recording of Synchronous Sessions: Some or all of the remote learning sessions for this course (if scheduled) may be recorded. The data captured during these recordings may include your image, voice recordings, chat logs and personal identifiers (name displayed on the screen). The recordings will be used for educational purposes related to this course, including evaluations. The recordings may be disclosed to other individuals participating in the course for their private or group study purposes. Please contact the instructor if you have any concerns related to session recordings. Participants in this course are not permitted to privately record the sessions, except where recording is an approved accommodation, or the student has the prior written permission of the instructor.