Monitoring drug use in recreational settings across Europe: conceptual challenges and methodological innovations


This report explores how data on drug use are captured through surveys of targeted populations in recreational settings. The benefits and challenges of monitoring drug use in recreational settings are identified, as are emergent data sources and methodological innovations. The report draws on cutting-edge debates within social research, sociology and critical drug studies to encourage dialogue between researchers and with monitoring agencies.

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Table of contents

  • Executive summary
  • Introduction
  • The advantages and challenges of general population surveys for monitoring recreational drug use
  • What is a drug? Using critical drug studies
  • Drug use in recreational settings, or recreational drug use
  • Recreational settings
  • Targeting populations
  • Beyond night-time economy research: other recreational settings of interest for targeted population surveys
  • Online surveys of people who use drugs across the EU
  • Standardised tools: positives and negatives
  • Conclusions: building a better picture of substance use in recreational settings across Europe
  • References
  • Annex 1: Studies of drug use in recreational settings across European countries


  • Spanish (translated by SimplementeOpinión)