International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (ISSDP) 2024

There have been significant shifts in drug policy in recent years. Much of this has been catalysed by the North American drug overdose crisis, which has seen the rise of a multitude of harm reduction responses including trials of drug decriminalisation; various models and legislative frameworks for supervised drug consumption; and the rise of safer supply programs. The crisis has also, in some places, seen the application of drug-induced homicide laws and harsher sentencing for those supplying drugs to someone who has fatally overdosed. These opioid-related shifts have occurred alongside changes in responses to the supply and use of cannabis and some psychedelics, including the Government of Canada’s decision in October 2018 to became the second country to legalise and regulate the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis for non-medical purposes. Globally, policy scholars are laying bare the colonial origins and disproportionate impacts of drug policies on Indigenous, racialised and minoritized communities, and seeking new approaches to redress these harms. ISSDP 2024 will be an opportunity to draw together these strands of research and explore issues in evaluating the impacts of policy change in highly dynamic policy environments.

ISSDP calls for abstracts of studies examining the data, methods, implementation, evaluation, or historical underpinning of drug policies as well as studies seeking to understand how drug markets are currently working. For this year’s conference, we particularly encourage contributions that address the following conference themes:

  • Decolonising drug policy
  • Harm reduction policy-making and evidence
  • Inclusion of people with lived and living experience of illicit drug use in drug policy
  • Regional and global drug policy challenges
  • Transformations in illegal, decriminalised, and legalised drug markets
  • Collisions between drug policy and medical use of drugs regulated under the UN Drug Control Conventions
  • Methodological advances in the study of drug policy

Papers in other areas are also welcome. The term “drugs” should be interpreted broadly to include any intoxicating substance used recreationally or extra-medically, as well as the diversion of chemicals used in drug production.

Papers can be submitted as oral presentations or posters. It is possible to indicate that you wish your paper to be considered as part of a panel. Each paper for panels should be submitted separately, providing the title of the panel to which it belongs as part of the submission process. Papers submitted for panels may be accepted separately rather than as a group.

Abstract submission closes January 4 2024. Abstracts should be 200-250 words and should be structured including (as appropriate) background, objectives, methods, results and implications. A reasonably advanced draft paper (2 500 words) will need to be submitted before June 1 2024 by those presenting a talk at the conference.


The conference is multi-disciplinary, as befits the study of drug policy and supports qualitative and quantitative papers. ISSDP supports submission of written papers in advance of the conference. Discussants are used at each conference session, as a means to encourage debate and identify common themes, challenges and issues. For more information on the ISSDP conference style, visit


The conference will be held in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal, Canada on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehà:ka, a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst many First Nations including the Kanien’kehá:ka of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Huron/Wendat, Abenaki, and Anishinaabeg. We recognize and respect the Kanien’kehà:ka as the traditional custodians of the lands and waters where we will meet. A striking union of European charm and North American attitude, Montréal seduces visitors with a harmonious pairing of the historic and the new, from exquisite architecture to fine dining. The world’s second largest francophone city after Paris, it merits the moniker ‘international’ city, a cosmopolitan centre with proud roots in the past that enthusiastically embraces the future.