Learn more about the Drug Use and Drug Policy Research Group


  • Cross-disciplinary research into drug use and drug policy
  • Cultural representations of drugs and drug policy
  • Drug policy analysis and critique
  • Theory development
  • Evaluation of criminal justice drug interventions
  • International comparative work
  • Notions of social capital and social justice in drug policy
  • Multi-agency working in drug interventions
  • State and third sector criminal justice service provision


Driven by the war on drugs mentality and successive risk narratives, UK drug policy has been in crisis for decades. It produces a range of physical and social harms and compounds social exclusion. Within the policy there is a range of controversies:

  • While drug use is a natural human compulsion, possession of some drugs is a punishable offence;
  • Prohibition policy is contradictory - two of our most harmful drugs (alcohol and tobacco) remain legal.
  • Since the inception of the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, prohibition and war on drugs mentality have damaged drug users, their families and the communities in which they live; punishing, imprisoning, excluding and preventing realistic solutions to entrenched social, economic and health issues.

The types of drugs used in the UK have changed over time, but the prohibition policy remains, despite the damage it demonstrably causes; it is populist and unhindered by the wealth of critical research evidence. The work of the CCSE Drug Use and Drug Policy Research Group considers contemporary changes in drug use and drug policy and challenges this status quo.