DARC research aims to contribute to knowledge and understanding of drug and alcohol consumption and use, patterns of use and how use differs across cultures and countries and over time. We are interested in exploring why people do not use substances as well as their reasons for using and in finding out how users perceive the benefits, risks and harms related to substance use. Research on responses to substance use and problem use is a major aspect of the work within DARC. Here we conduct studies on policy and practice responses, looking at prevention, harm reduction and treatment, at delivery systems, and at the experiences of practitioners, substance users and other stakeholders. Much of the research has a focus on relevance to key practitioner groups, service provision and policy development.
We have developed a number of strong themes, looking at specific population groups, substance use in the criminal justice system, prevention and early intervention, effective elements of treatment approaches and workforce development. These are outlined in more detail on the theme pages. At a more theoretical level, we continue to explore the role of ‘evidence’ and the evidence base in policy and practice, to examine issues around ‘risk’ and risk communication, and to study ‘stakeholder’ roles and dynamics in the drug and alcohol policy arenas. Details of recent and current research projects are also on the research theme pages.
DARC staff are involved in a wide range of European, national and local research projects funded by the EU or other international sources, government departments, research councils and charities. Middlesex University supports the Centre through seed funding small developmental projects. DARC staff have both qualitative and quantitative expertise and the research benefits from multi-disciplinary perspectives and diverse methodological approaches. Research is frequently conducted in collaboration with other universities in the UK and abroad and, increasingly, we are building research relationships with practice organisations to further co-production approaches and incorporate knowledge from practice more centrally in our work.
Publications from the research are listed on the publications page.