By Maike Klein (University of Bath, UK)

Session 4.0 of the SSA PhD Symposium focused on addiction policy and included four presentations covering recreational cannabis, alcohol warning messages, treatment funding and alcohol guidelines.

International Cannabis Policy

First up was Elle Wadsworth from the University of Waterloo in Canada. Her presentation focused on data from the second wave of the International Cannabis Policy Study (ICPS) survey and offered insights into the recreational cannabis markets in Canada and the US. Elle talked about how retail access to legal cannabis varies across the provinces, and that prices and products in the illicit market may influence the uptake in legal markets. When asked about her next steps for this study, Elle replied that she hopes to use this study to spark a discourse around how policies on a provincial level might influence the transition to legal markets.

[Presentation not available]


Alcohol warning messages

Second, Daniel Jones from the University of Stirling presented on health information, messaging and warnings on alcohol packaging in Scotland. His study showed that the majority of participants did not engage with the health information on alcohol packaging. His findings suggest that alcohol packaging might need to include more prominent health warnings so as to capture the attention of consumers in Scotland and help spread awareness of alcohol-related health risks. 

[Presentation not available]


Treatment funding in England 

Third, Suzie Roscoe from the University of Sheffield presented her multiphase study on the impact of disinvestment from alcohol and drug treatment in England. Her multiphase, mixed-method study included a systematic review, a multi-level time series analysis of administrative data, interviews with commissioners and a national survey of England’s commissioners. Suzie explained that the findings imply that disinvestment from the sector is resulting in reduced availability and effectiveness of drug and alcohol treatment, all of which might contribute to an uncertain future of drug and alcohol treatment services in England.


Alcohol guidelines

Finally, Heather Mitchell from the University of Stirling presented her study protocol of her thesis on how the communication of the updated revised UK drinking guidelines influence public debate on alcohol policy. She explained that her study will be a mixed-method design including three studies: a media analysis, a stakeholder material analysis, and lastly, an analysis of in-depth interviews with stakeholders. Heather explained that she will be employing a Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) approach and the Identifying and Describing Arguments (IDA) method of framing analysis.


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[This post was edited for accuracy on 11 February] 

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