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Institute for Social Drug research (ISD)

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The Institute for Social Drug Research (ISD) was founded in 2002. The ISD is part of the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology of the Faculty of Law, University of Ghent.

The ISD is first of all a research group that wants to play a prominent part in the social scientific collection and transfer of knowledge regarding different aspects of the use of drugs, drug trafficking and drug policies. The term 'drugs' refers to all psycho-active substances regardless of their legal status. The ISD is explicitly directed at the social scientific perspective and looks upon the use of pleasurable substances and drugs as an expression of normal human behaviour that takes shape in a contextual and social frame. The starting point of the ISD is not the classic criminal, penal or medical frame of interpretation because these perspectives (criminologisation and pathologisation) result too often in shortcoming conclusions and shortcoming methods of research.

By setting up and coordinating empirical research on a high methodological and theoretical level, the ISD is aiming to get a better understanding of the complexity of the use of pleasurable substances and drugs. The insider's view gets all the attention that it deserves and needs in order to get a reliable set of results and conclusions. The multi-disciplinary composition of the ISD and the cooperation of the Institute with different foreign departments and faculties result in activities that are set up from different disciplines: criminology, psychology, anthropology, social geography, philosophy, criminal law, history, ...

Symbiosis of criminology, social and cultural anthropology (ethnography) and epidemiology leads to exploratory research. The main point of the ISD research is the investigation of the use of drugs, the social epidemiological dimensions of the use of drugs, the traffic of drugs, the developments, evolutions and trends in the use of specific substances and the reactions within the society upon the use of drugs. At a later stage the expertise, the theories, the research methods and research techniques are presented to interested persons by the organisation of ISD-lectures, guest lectures and workshops but the results are also presented to local, national and international organisations in the field of drug research in order to give them scientific background, advice and help.

Last but not least this website also provides valuable information with regard to

The visitor also discovers links to the websites of relevant national and international organisations and research teams.
The links concern the network of organisations that cooperate with the ISD but provide also indispensable instruments for all interested persons that want to get reliable, solid and useful information about drug research.

Prof. Dr. Tom Decorte
Coordinator ISD