Alcohol, Narcotics and Drug Abuse
Course Syllabus

AJ014 Online



: Jim Smith


: 408 741-2553




Required Text

: Drugs and Society, 13th Edition by Hanson, Venturelli and Fleckenstein.  Jones and Bartlett Learning, Publishers.
You can purchase this book at the West Valley College bookstore, but I always recommend you surf the internet for the best price.  Just make sure it gets delivered in time for class! 





This course is designed to provide an understanding of drug use, misuse, and abuse.  Students will explore the history, physical/psychological effects, current trends, and legal/social consequences of drugs.  In addition, the class will discuss prevention, intervention, and treatment approaches.  Students will have an opportunity to discuss controversial issues related to treatment, policy, drug control, and interventions, throughout the semester.  Social justice issues such as racism, homophobia, and classism in relation to the use and legal ramifications of drugs will be examined.  Realistic scenarios depicting drug use, abuse, distribution, and transportation will be integrated into the course. 





  • To explore the nature of addictions and substance abuse.
  • To focus on law enforcement issues including drug identification, detection, and testing.
  • To develop an appreciation of the resources and time spent by the criminal justice system in drug enforcement.





At the conclusion of this course, students will:

  • Be aware of current drug trends in the United States

  • Critically think about controversial drug issues

  • Identify effective education strategies utilized to decrease drug use, abuse, and misuse.

  • Communicate the consequences regarding drug use, misuse, and abuse.

  • Analyze the relationship between drugs, crime, and social justice.






1.  Written Examinations

Point Value





     A.  Syllabus Quiz






     B.  Autobiography Posting (including two replies to other postings)






     C.  Fourteen Lesson or Assignment Quizzes  (Handouts/PowerPoint/Text)




            Lesson   1      Chapter  1      Introduction to Drugs and Society




            Lesson   2      Chapter  2      Explaining Drug Use and Abuse




            Lesson   3      Chapter  3      Drug Use, Regulation and the Law


                                        Chapter  4      Homeostatic Systems and Drugs  
                 Lesson   4      Chapter  5      How and Why Drugs Work 20


            Lesson   5      Chapter  6      CNS Depressants: Sedative-Hypnotics




            Lesson   6      Chapter  7      Alcohol: Pharmacological  Effects


                                        Chapter  8      Alcohol: Behavioral Effects  


            Lesson   7      Chapter  9      Narcotics (Opioids)




            Lesson   8      Chapter 10     Stimulants




            Lesson   9      Chapter 11      Tobacco




            Lesson  10     Chapter 12     Hallucinogens (Psychedelics)


              Lesson  11     Chapter 13     Marijuana 20
              Lesson  12     Chapter 14     Inhalants 20
              Lesson  13     Chapter 15     Over-the-Counter, Prescription, and Herbal Drugs 20
                                       Chapter 16      Drug use in Subcultures of Special Populations  
              Lesson  14     Chapter 17     Drug Abuse Prevention 20
                                       Chapter 18     Treating Drug Dependence  


     D.  Final Examination  (Comprehensive)




            All final questions will be taken from the chapter quiz questions. 




2.  Homework 



     14 Chapter and Additional Assignments @25 points each






Total Points Possible






3.  Grading Evaluation  (Final Grade)



702 - 780 = A

693 - 701 = B

614 - 692 = C



535 - 613 = D

000 - 534 = F









Items of Interest






  • Absolutely no homework or assignments will be accepted during the week of the final exam (summer or condensed classes excepted).  This may not be the same week as the classroom schedule, it is the week when the final is posted for this online class.

  • The last week of this course usually ends earlier than the regular classroom schedule.  This allows time to trouble shoot any possible technical problems that may occur prior to the submission of final grades. You must complete and submit the final exam before the deadline.  I can't stress enough that you must follow the class calendar of due dates.  Past students that didn't read the syllabus, this notice, or just forgot, were very disappointed when they learned they missed the final and had to settle for a lower grade than they could have earned. There is a link to the class calendar under the class content tab of the homepage.

  • The college policy on plagiarism and classroom dishonesty is strictly enforced in this class.  If you submit work that is not your own, you will be dropped from the class.

  • There will be no extra credit. Please do not inquire. All students will be assessed equally based upon the established course requirements.