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Why? Explanations for drug use and drug dealing in social drug research

For thousands of years, humans have been using substances that are called ‘drugs’ today, for example to relieve pain, to relax, to gain energy, or in the course of cultural and religious rituals. In search for explanations as to why so many people in the 21st century use drugs, and why in such a wide variety, several macro level factors or drivers need to be addressed.

Chapters in this volume contribute to the understanding of drug use, drug users, drug markets and drug policy in Europe. All the authors work in this field, and are involved in local, national or international research on drug use, drug users or drug dealers. Their research is not carried out in laboratories nor treatment centres. Some of it is predominantly conducted in libraries and archives, but most takes place elsewhere – on the streets, in nightclubs, in private drug-dealing settings. The authors are social scientists from different disciplines – anthropology, criminology, geography, economics, linguistics, psychology, sociology, social psychiatry – and many of them have an interest in, or are specifically oriented to qualitative research methods, including participant observation, informal conversations and in-depth interviews. In the search for explanations as to why particular groups turn to or continue to use certain substances over others, why some people use drugs, why users prefer particular methods of supply, and why current drug policies exists, each of the chapters underline the utmost importance of this book, which captures many of the complexities of how drug use and drug dealing is explained, experienced and often problematised today.


Zsuzsa Kaló is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the Institute of Psychology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary.

Julie Tieberghien is a Lecturer and a Researcher at the Centre for Research and Expertise in Social Innovation (CRESI) of VIVES University College, Belgium.  

Dirk J. Korf is a Professor of Criminology at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.








Introduction: Why? Explanations for drug use and drug dealing in social drug research

Dirk J. Korf, Julie Tieberghien & Zsuzsa Kaló


Controlling drugs in Europe: the first collaboration attempts

Rafaela de Quadros Rigoni


NPS use motivations from the perspective of users and experts

Zsuzsa Kaló, Zsolt Demetrovics & Katalin Felvinczi


Emotional mapping: towards a geographical explanation of drug use

Luise Klaus & Mélina Germes


‘I have no clue’ – a qualitative study on crack cocaine use in Frankfurt, Germany

Bernd Werse & Lukas Sarvari


On aging cannabis users: a welfare economics analysis

Marco Rossi


Exploring and (re)negotiating the question of (not) being: narrative identity constructions of people who use illegal drugs

Michelle Van Impe


Buyer motives for sourcing illegal drugs from ‘drop-off’ delivery dealers

Thomas Friis Søgaard


From ancient organic to the newest synth: building trust in drug user communities

Ximene Rêgo, Jakub Greń & Olga S. Cruz


Medicinal cannabis use: a fuzzy concept?

Frédérique Bawin


In search of the ideal drug

Alfred Springer

Zsuzsa Kaló, Julie Tieberghien & Dirk J. Korf (Eds.)
Why? Explanations for drug use and drug dealing in social drug research
Pabst 2019, 192 pages, ISBN 978-3-95853-537-4, Price: 20,- €
eBook: ISBN 978-3-95853-538-1, Price: 10,- €
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