Criminologist to lead research on illegal drug use in Slovakia

10/05/05

A University of Liverpool criminologist has been commissioned by the Slovak government to investigate the social and economic costs of illegal drug use in the country.

A University of Liverpool criminologist has been commissioned by the Slovak government to investigate the social and economic costs of illegal drug use in the country.

In the UK it is estimated that the use of Class A drugs, such as heroin, costs the NHS and criminal justice system over 10 billion every year.

In a new project funded by the EU, Professor Cindy Fazey, from the University's Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, will collate and analyse official data for the Slovak government in areas such as arrests, cost of drug treatment and imprisonment.

This work builds on Professor Fazey's analysis of drug dependency clinics in Liverpool and North West England for the UK government and regional health authorities. Her research focused on the social environment of drug users, which has assisted in pinpointing 'epidemics' of drug use.

Professor Fazey said: "Our findings will help the Slovak government measure the impact of illegal drugs on the country and help to formulate, refine and target appropriate policies. The evaluation will also highlight areas that are lacking official data.

"We will look at, for example, A&E records and the kind of treatments administered, the drug the patient was taking and the condition they arrived in. It is uncertain whether all this information exists and if not it is important that we highlight this.

"I hope to contribute to the development of a methodology of research that can be used by governments and policy makers all over the world, as it is essential that we maintain rational and effective means of dealing with the problems caused by illegal drugs."

Professor Fazey started her career at the University in 1998 after spending eight years with the United Nations Drug Control Programme in Vienna. She was the United Nations International Drug Control Programme's (UNDCP) First Chief of Demand Reduction, and drafted the UN Declaration on the Guiding Principles of Reducing Demand for Illicit Drugs.

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