Drug-related social exclusion
Social exclusion is a multi-dimensional concept with different degrees. It covers a broad range of exclusion experiences such as economic deprivation or poverty and consequences (e.g. poor housing), but also social and political discrimination, work exclusion, low access to health care and to education and qualification.
Social exclusion appears as a recurrent theme in recent years in research on drug use patterns and their health, social and legal consequences. The information available on socio-economic factors related to drug use, and especially problem use, points at population groups accumulating multiple exclusion processes such as belonging to a minority, using drugs, and suffering from economic and social deprivation.
Drug-related social exclusion can be approached in three ways:
- as a risk factor for drug use and other harmful behaviours;
- as a consequence - direct or indirect - of drug use;
- social exclusion and drug use as co-occurring phenomena.
As a first step, the EMCDDA carried out two projects on drugs and social exclusion, focusing particularly on ethnic minorities from 1999 to 2002.