ESSD members and other researchers who wish to attend the 30th Annual Conference are invited to submit abstracts of their conference papers no later than 10th May 2019.

To attend the conference as an audience member without giving a presentation, please inform

Abstracts (see themes and details below) should be submitted through the online form. Alternatively, early submission may be made through

Presentations should preferably include a European dimension (such as reporting on research or issues from more than one European country, comparisons between data from European studies), and/or theoretical analysis that draws inferences from the local to the global. Presentations restricted to the description of interventions or (local) policies will not be accepted. Qualitative studies are particularly welcome. Each presentation lasts for 15 minutes (and additional time for discussion). The conference language is English.

The accepted abstracts will conform to one or more of the following themes:

1. Drug use trends and patterns 
Comparative, preferably qualitative research on trends and patterns in use and users (transnational)

  • Drug use patterns in central and eastern Europe
  • Patterns of use and using careers of polydrug users whose repertoires comprise of both legal and illegal drugs
  • The use of ‘new’ drugs (NPS) as an alternative or in addition to ‘old’ drugs
  • Performance enhancing drugs: e.g. ‘study’ drugs such as modafinil or methylphenidate (Ritalin)
  • Use of substances such as nitrous oxide (‘laughing gas’) or khat for which the legality policy status varies across European countries 
  • Detailed, critical work on ‘new’ substances  

2. Drug use in different groups and settings
Patterns of use and using careers among groups characterised by, for example, age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, etc.

  • Social norms and context surrounding drugs and drug use
  • Drug use in ‘hidden’ and ‘open’ drug scenes, for example nightlife, streets
  • Drug use in prisons and after release 
  • New interventions for users in prison and after release

3. Drug policy: theories, concepts and research  
Theories or concepts that may help exploring drug policy issues from innovative perspectives

  • Evaluation of drug policy approaches in central and eastern Europe
  • Drug specific policies and combined drug/substance/addiction policies 
  • Comparative research on cannabis policies, that includes the evaluation of the impact of criminalisation/decriminalisation/legalisation
  • Legislative/policy changes regarding NPS and what effect has this had on availability and/or use
  • Critical reflections on drug demand interventions and stigmatisation of users
  • New challenges and solutions with controversial or novel strategies in prevention and harm reduction
  • Ground-breaking and inventive responses to drug offences and/or drug related crime

4. Markets: Dynamics in policy and practice
Changes in the illegal opioid market (heroin, new synthetic opioids)

  • Local and national cocaine markets (users, suppliers) in the context of the global market and EU open borders
  • Production-related harms such as crime and violence
  • Harm reduction approaches towards drug supply
  • How do drug users get their drugs?
  • Social norms surrounding the acquisition of illicit drugs, including sharing and gifting
  • Connections and blurred lines between the social supply and profit-oriented dealing
  • Open markets: street dealers and club dealers
  • Connections between ‘real’ markets and crypto-markets (the dark web)
  • Self-perceptions of social suppliers and dealers

5. Methods and ethics
Innovative and mixed methods

  • Researcher identity and reflexivity in drug research
  • Sampling and representativeness
  • Non-representational methods in drug research
  • Online vs. offline methods
  • Researching vulnerable populations
  • Ethical challenges in drug research


  1. Word format, max. 1,5 page, 
  2. Theme(s) (from the list on the previous page)
  3. Title of the paper
  4. Author(s):  name(s), qualification(s), job title(s)
  5. Contact details:  full postal address, telephone number, email address
  6. Abstract (not more than 400 words), including objectives, methodology, significant results and conclusions


Abstracts are reviewed against the following criteria:

  • Relevance to the conference themes
  • European dimension
  • Theoretical reflections
  • Added value with respect to earlier contributions at ESSD conferences

In general, no more than two presentations from the same institute or affiliation will be accepted.

Acceptance of papers will be announced by June 7, 2019.

Participants are very encouraged to bring copies of their full papers and other materials for distribution at the conference.