The use of legal and illegal substances has a significant impact on a person’s health and quality of life. In this research group we investigate the social and political factors that affect drug use and mental health, with an emphasis on one of the most important Norwegian welfare state reforms over the past decades: the likely decriminalization of drug use.
The Norwegian government’s proposed drug policy reform will transfer the handling of use and possession of illegal drugs from the courts to the health care sector, and as a result, drug use will primarily be considered a health care challenge rather than a criminal offence.
Our research questions:
Which political processes have resulted in this reform?
- What were the effects of an official drug policy based on criminal law?
- What are the different usages of legal and illegal substances?
- How have the police and judicial system sanctioned the use and possession of illegal drugs to date?
How we work:
To investigate these questions we use a range of different approaches:
- Analysis of public documents including green papers (Official Norwegian Reports) and statements from hearings.
- Interviews with key actors in the political process.
- Surveys and register data, including a population based data set with a longitudinal design.
- Several studies based on qualitative interviews and ethnographic fieldwork.