Skip to main content

Drugs, Crime and Criminal Justice (Level 6)


Module description

In this module we address a key topic of criminal justice policy: illicit drug use and its wider social implications.

The mass use of cannabis and dance drugs, in western nations, has increased the debate about the laws governing drug use and possession. Drug-producing countries face increasing problems of violence, corruption and international isolation. Tackling such a complex problem has implications for crime and criminal justice policy.

Drawing on internationally recognised research expertise within the school, we provide you with a solid grounding in the key policy and research issues relating to drug use, crime and criminal justice.

Indicative syllabus

  • Introduction: patterns of drug use
  • Drugs, crime and the law
  • Cannabis and policing
  • Drug treatment, coercion and testing
  • Race and drugs
  • ‘Big business’: the global trade in illicit drugs
  • Virtual drug markets: the case of NPS and the birth of the dark web
  • Drugs in prisons
  • The legalisation debates

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will have:

  • a broad understanding of key concepts in the study drug laws and policy
  • critically examined and analysed a range of policy approaches to illicit drug use
  • critically examined the responses of the criminal justice system to those who use or are involved in the trade surrounding illegal drugs
  • critically examined the key alternative policies and systems to the existing national and international approaches.