About ESSD

The European Society for Social Drug Research (ESSD) was founded in 1990 as an association of European social scientists working on drug issues. Its principal aims are to promote social science approaches to drug research, particularly support qualitative and novel research methods, and encourage early career researchers. The society holds annual conferences and publishes annual books.

Before the ESSD was established, research on drug issues in most European countries had long been dominated by the medical and therapeutic professions. Social science and qualitative research was hardly represented in the study of the aetiology and epidemiology of drug use, nor in research on social response and social control. The establishment of ESSD was a response to a keenly felt need for closer co-operation within the social science community.

Such co-operation had to be international. In most European countries, the number of social scientists working in the field of drugs was (and, in some countries, still is) too small to form a national scholarly community. The closest colleague working on the same topic may be in another country. Moreover, although all countries share the drug phenomenon, there is often a lack of awareness of the commonalties and differences between them in terms of the characteristics of drug use or the types of policy responses. By viewing similarities and dissimilarities in a cross-national perspective, the existing variations in the drug phenomenon and their sociocultural determinants can be better understood.


ESSD Board members

Dirk Korf (Netherlands), President

Jane Fountain (UK), Vice-president

Tom Decorte (Belgium), Secretariat

Aileen O'Gorman (UK)

Gary Potter (UK)

Julie Tieberghien (Belgium)

Bernd Werse (Germany)


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