Drug dependence course mixes pills with digital (bad)habits


Addiction can have many faces. Someone hits the bar's outdoor seating already at lunch. Another picks up the mobile phone at every red light. But who is really addicted? And what tools does society have to help before it's too late?

Drug dependence course mixes pills with digital (bad)habits

The fact that Sweden has long since left its position as the center of the booze belt does not mean that the sum of our burdens has dicreased. Rather, it is the map of addictions that has been rewritten, in turn making the road to addiction more complex than ever. Our hardest task seems to be resisting all new digital temptations. With an average screen time of seven hours per person and day, it is necessary to prepare society for the consequences that await.

“Gambling syndrome is already a diagnosis and it is likely only a matter of time before Sweden follows in the footsteps of WHO and does the same with gaming addiction. This presents healthcare with new challenges, and in our course Drugs and Dependence we take an interdisciplinary approach to both traditional and new intoxicants,” says Erik Nylander, course leader at the Faculty of Pharmacy.

cell phoneIn a lecture hall, pharmacists, physician and civil engineers of the future are debating the criteria that define an addiction. As long as the conversation revolves around narcotics, consensus prevails. But when the term drug is suddenly replaced by mobile phone, things become more difficult. Can everyone in the room really be more or less addicted? Probably not, and so the challenge of precise boundaries becomes obvious.

“The leaders of this course have really done a super job. The lectures are fast-paced with many interesting and relevant perspectives that engage and inspire us to want to know more. It is simply a perfect Ten,” notes one of the students.

Within the foreseeable future, sugar and physical exercise will also take place in the course content, two subjects where opinions still outnumber evidence-based knowledge. But of course, there is also focus on alcohol, cannabis, opioids and a range of other substances that is historically associated with addictions.

“We highlight the entire process, from the very first time we are exposed to a stimulant to fully developed addiction. How is our brain affected? What effects does the drug have when it comes to intoxication, abstinence and tolerance? What possibilities do healtcare have to treat different addictions? These are issues that concern us all and skills that society needs, which are certainly contributing factors to the many applicants to this course,” states Erik Nylander.


  • Course starts in Autumn and Spring semester
  • The course is given full-time, on campus and in Swedish



Erik NylanderErik Nylander, course leader
Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences

text: Magnus Alsne

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Last modified: 2024-04-04