Psychology 3990G 001 FW23

Special Topics in Psychology: "Use Disorders-Origins and Treatment"

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 

2023 - 2024 


Psychology 3990G    Section 001 

Special Topics in Psychology--Use Disorders: Origins and Treatment 





This course will cover information on factors involved in the development of use disorders (substance use disorder, gambling, and other potential behavior use disorders) and some approaches to the treatment of these disorders 


Antirequisites: Not Applicable 


Requisite(s): Both Psychology 2801F/G and Psychology 2811A/B, or the former Psychology 2820E, or both the former Psychology 2800E and the former Psychology 2810.  


3 seminar hours 


Course Weight: 0.5 


Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enrol in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites. 




Instructor:  Dr. Riley Hinson     

Office and Phone Number:  6334 SSC, 519-661-2111 ext 84649     

Office Hours:  By appointment 



Time and Location of Classes:  Available on Student Center

Delivery Method:  In-person 


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. 




No required textbook.  Readings for each week will be posted to OWL. 




The purpose of the course is to provide students exposure to both the scholarly literature and research related to many aspects of addiction.     


By the end of the course the successful student should be able to: 

  • Memorize, describe and apply main concepts and principles related to drug use and addiction 
  • Locate and critically evaluate scholarly material related to real world challenges faced by those with drug use problems and those providing help to such individuals 
  • Communicate scientific information in oral and written forms. 
  • Critique information presented in scientific and popular media related to drug use and drug addiction 



Learning Outcome 


Learning Activities 



Knowledge and Understanding 

1. Depth & Breadth of Knowledge 

Memorize (M), describe (D) and apply (A) main concepts and principles  related to drug use and addiction 



Class discussion 

Guest lectures 



Oral Presentations of current news 

Contribution to Class Discussion (DA) 

Essay Questions on Tests 


2. Knowledge and Application of Methodologies 


Reading of literature 


Oral/written reports 


3. Communication Skills 

Communicate scientific information in oral and written forms. 

Classroom activity 

Contribution to class activity and Paper 




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. 


  • Topic Paper.  36 Points  In consultation with the course instructor you will write a paper on a topic related to the origins and/or treatment of use disorders.  The paper must be at least 2500 words excluding the reference list  (this would be about 10 pages of double-spaced, 12 cpi font, 1 inch margin).  It must include a reference list of at least 10 references, although more will probably actually be used.  The Topic Paper is due no later than the last day of class.  It will be submitted to TurnItin. 
  • There will be a Final Exam worth 20 Points.    You will be randomly assigned one  essay style question based on all the lecture material covered during the entire term.   
  • “In the News” discussion articles:  At some point during the term each student must locate an article/report/video/etc. “in the news” related to use disorders.  The article must be approved by the instructor.  You will provide a link to the article that will be posted on OWL.  You will write a minimum 1 page discussion of some issue raised by the article. This is not a summary of the article since it can be read, rather it is a discussion of issues raised by the topic of the article.  (Example:  A few years ago an article was published about someone suing the Ontario government for its requirement that a person with an alcohol use disorder had to be 6 months sober in order to receive a liver transplant.  There are many possible issues related to this—it stigmatizes those with AUD’s, a similar requirement is not in place for tobacco smokers needing lung transplants, etc.).  You will post a link to the article and your discussion paper in the Course Forum on OWL.  Every other student must also provide a comment on the article or the issue that the submitting student highlighted or some other issue that they think of.  The comments will be graded as acceptable or unacceptable in terms of thoughtfulness and relevance. These must be submitted with 4 24-hour periods (including weekends) of the target article being posted.  At the end of term each student will have 1 submitted “In the News” article and 1 page discussion paper, and comments on other students “In the News” articles.  This component is worth 36 Points.  Six of the points (14.29%) will be based on your article and the one page discussion you provide.  The remaining 30 marks are allotted to your comments on other students “In the News” articles.   Students will be randomly assigned a due date for their ITN.  Approximately 4 students will be assigned to submit their ITN each week.  The first set of ITN’s will be posted by 23:55 hours on Monday, January 30, and comments would be due no later than 23:55 hours on Friday, February 3.  A new set of ITN’s will be posted every Monday by 23:55 hours, with the comments due no later than 23:55 hours of the Friday of that week. 
  • Attendance/Participation.  8 marks  Attendance will be taken at every class.  The % of attended classes (must arrive on time and must not leave early) will be used to determine the number of marks earned in a very straightforward manner (% of class attended for full class time x 8).     






PLEASE NOTE: Because this is an essay course, as per Senate Regulations, you must pass the essay component to pass the course. That is, the average mark for your written assignments must be at least 50%. 


This course is exempt from the Senate requirement that students receive assessment of their work accounting for at least 15% of their final grade at least three full days before the date of the deadline for withdrawal from a course without academic penalty. 


  • If you are excused by Academic Counselling from writing the Final Exam, you will be given a make up.   
  • If you do not submit an “In the News” article and one-page paper, or if you fail to provide a comment on submitted “In the News” articles within the 5 day limit, those marks will be lost.  If you are excused by Academic Counselling for a time that covers the 5 day limit, you will be allowed to submit a comment without penalty. 
  • The Topic Paper must be submitted by the due date.  Unless you are excused the following late penalties will apply:  Each 24 hour late period will result in a lost of 10% of the available marks, i.e., 3.5 marks lost per 24 hour late period.  For example, if the due time is 23:00 hours on a particular day, and you submit any time form 23:01 hours on that day up to 22:59 hours the next day, that incurs a 10% or 3.5 mark loss. 
  • There is no make up of attendance/participation marks.  If you are excused by Academic Counselling from some classes, then the % of attended class will be based on all other classes.   


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. 




Topic Paper  

35% 36% 

Final Exam 


In the News component 

35%  36% 

Attendance and Participation 

10%  8% 



The class schedule topics should be considered tentative and are subject to change.   


Jan       8 Introduction to Class 

Jan     15 Overview of Drugs and Use Disorders in DRM V  

Jan     22 Factors related to the development of SUD’s 

Jan     29 Factors related to the development of SUD’s 

Feb       5 Factors related to the development of SUD’s 

Feb     12 Factors related to the development of SUD’s 

Feb     19 Reading Week 

Feb     26 Factors related to the development of SUD’s 

Mar      4 Factors related to the development of SUD’s 

Mar     11 Factors related to the development of SUD’s 

Mar     18 Treatment of SUD’s 

Mar     25 Treatment of SUD’s 

Apr 1 Treatment of SUD’s 

Apr       8 Treatment of SUD’s 





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. 




If a remote proctoring service is used, the service will require you to provide personal information (including some biometric data). The session will be recorded. In the event that in-person exams are unexpectedly canceled, you may only be given notice of the use of a proctoring service a short time in advance. More information about remote proctoring is available in the Online Proctoring Guidelines. Please ensure you are familiar with any proctoring service’s technical requirements before the exam. Additional guidance is available at the following link: 


* Please note that Zoom servers are located outside Canada. If you would prefer to use only your first name or a nickname to login to Zoom, please provide this information to the instructor in advance of the test or examination. See this link for technical requirements:   




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.