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Annual Drug and Alcohol Research Centre Conference

Event information

START DATE 23 June 2017
START TIME 09:30am

C219-20 College Building, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

END DATE 23 June 2017
END TIME 04:30pm

Young People, Substance Use and the Criminal Justice System: Defining the Challenges and Developing Responses

Adolescence and young adulthood are important periods for initiation into substance use (including tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs) and for use to become established patterns of behaviour.

During this time, interventions are needed to prevent onset into different forms of substance use, reduce escalation into heavy substance use and intervene to reverse problematic substance use.

The groups considered most vulnerable or at risk of developing problematic substance use include young offenders, young people in institutional care, early school leavers and students with social or academic problems and young people living in disadvantaged families or neighbourhoods where multiple risk factors associated with drug use are concentrated.

Although vulnerable groups have been highlighted as a priority group in many national drug policies, there is no indication that the provision of bespoke interventions has necessarily increased as a result of this attention. In particular, there has been very little attention paid to young people who are in contact with the criminal justice system in relation to policy and practice.

DARC Annual Conference

This year the Drug and Alcohol Research Centre conference aims to bring together the perspectives of practitioners, policy makers, and researchers to stimulate critical thinking around developing effective responses for young people with substance use problems who are in contact with the criminal justice system.

Key questions which will be tackled during the conference include: How is substance use changing for young people in contact with the criminal justice system? What are the challenges in providing effective responses for this group? Is there a need for bespoke interventions? What does good practice look like in this area? What are alternative ways to work with this group?

The conference is supported by the Middlesex University School of Law and the journal Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy.


This conference is free but booking is necessary as places are limited.Please register via Eventbrite.


9.30am - 10am Registration and Coffee
10am - 10.30am Welcome: Professor Joshua Castellino, Dean, School of Law and Business
Morning session: Defining the Challenges. Chair: Dr Rachel Herring, Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Middlesex University
10.30am - 11.30am Professor Joanna Phoenix, Open University, Title to be confirmed
11.30am - 12pm Dr Lisa Williams, Manchester University, The challenges of emerging drug trends and markets:
Some implications for young people, mental health, criminal justice and treatment services
12pm - 12.30pm Dr David Porteous, Middlesex University: Trials of Youth: Victimisation, Trauma, Offending and Self Medication
12.30pm - 1.30pm LUNCH BREAK
Afternoon session: Responding to the Challenges. Chair: Professor Anthony Goodman, Dept of Criminology & Sociology, Middlesex University
1.30pm - 2pm Michael O’Toole, MENTOR UK: Peer based approaches to substance misuse prevention in custody
2pm - 2.30pm Kieran Lynch, Public Health England: NPS Toolkit for Prisons - Lessons for Young People and the Criminal Justice System
2.30pm - 3pm David Gill, Change, Grow, Live (CGL): The practitioner’s and young people’s views
3pm - 3.30pm TEA BREAK
Chair: Professor Betsy Thom, Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Middlesex University
3.30pm - 4pmNiamh Eastwood, Release: Decriminalisation of drug possession: Reducing recidivism & improving health and social outcomes for young people
4pm - 4.30pmPanel Discussion and Closing Remarks

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