LAWS 3096 Drug Policy and Law

Credit Points 10

Coordinator Robert Mezyk Opens in new window

Description Humans have always used psychoactive substances, and this interdisciplinary subject critically examines the evolving landscape of regulating this practice. It examines the historical aspects of drug use and prohibition, analyses the characteristics of different psychoactive substances, and explains and evaluates international and domestic drug laws and their effects. The subject also addresses contemporary issues such as harm reduction, pill testing, safe supply, safe consumption rooms and drug decriminalisation and legalisation. The subject examines the dynamic domestic and international legal frameworks surrounding cannabis and psychedelics, reflecting on the future trajectory of drug laws. Drawing upon various disciplines, including legal theory, sociology, psychology, and public health, this subject prepares students for advanced research, policy analysis, and roles in law-making, law enforcement, and drug-policy NGOs.

School Law

Discipline Law, Not Elsewhere Classified.

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject

Pre-requisite(s) LAWS 1003 LAWS 2004 LAWS 1009 LAWS 2008

Incompatible Subjects LAWS 3044

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this subject, students will be able to:

  1. Critically analyse Australian and international drug policies and laws within the framework of the history of drug regulation, drug pharmacology, drug use, addiction theory and social effects of drug regulation
  2. Compare contemporary drug policy and law approaches.
  3. Evaluate the impact of contemporary drug laws on the Australian population, including diverse communities, Indigenous people and alternative solutions

Subject Content

  • Foundational questions of drug policy including what is a drug, what is drug policy
  • Drugs’ categorisation, history, pharmacology and effects 
  • Theory of drug use and addiction
  • The history of American, global and Australian drug policy and law
  • The international system of drug control
  • Drug use in Australia
  • • Criminal law and drug policy in Australia
  • • Impact of drug policy in diverse communities


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Critical Review 1,500 words 30 N Individual
Applied Project 10 minutes 30 N Group/Individual
Professional Task 2,000 words 30 N Individual
Participation 10 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

Teaching Periods

Spring (2024)

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Robert Mezyk Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window

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