Migration, drug use and treatment

Interwinements and challenges for the near future
In programme
Wednesday, 23 October, 2019 - 16:50 to 18:20
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This session brings together academics, policy-makers and practitioners to explore and discuss pertinent approaches to a better understanding of migration and its intersections with (problem) drug-use, prevention and treatment.

Intra-European and third-country migration flows to Europe are not new phenomena but have recently taken new shape and dimension, and are currently the subject of much heated political debate. Across Europe there are increasing concerns that migrants, or specific segments of migrant populations, may be particularly at risk of substance use. They also face specific challenges in accessing healthcare and drug treatment. Understanding the intersections between migration and risks of substance use is thus ever more important.

But the word ‘migrant’ encompasses people in diverse circumstances: asylum applicants, refugees, expats, undocumented, are but some attempts at labelling subgroups of foreign-nationals. Categorising a target population is indispensable when planning research, policy or interventions, but the development of analytical categories isn’t neutral; it’s fraught with assumptions, whatever the chosen criteria of inclusion/exclusion. Discussing matters of legal entitlements, language barriers, trauma, and cultural adaptation this session explores how migration and drug use can be addressed in analytically sound, relevant, and non-stigmatising ways.

The session starts by reviewing existing studies on substance use among migrant populations in Europe, and detailing current challenges to data collection. Speakers then explore how their findings and experiences in this field may inform the development of labels/categories/indicators that enable a better understanding of migration and drug use.