Pofessor Toby Seddon, Manchester University

Abstract: Inventing the Drug Problem

The concept of 'drugs', as we understand it today, has an apparently universal and 'taken-for-granted' status. Yet, it is a relatively recent invention, still less than 100 years old. In this paper, it is argued that it is best understood as a regulatory concept which is closely aligned with the international drug control system established in the early decades of the twentieth century. Some significant theoretical and policy implications that flow from this argument are presented.


Professor Toby Seddon is based in the School of Law at the University of Manchester, where he is also Director of the Regulation, Security and Justice Research Centre. His main research interests lie in the application of social theory and social science concepts to the study of drug policy. He has a particular interest in regulatory theory. His most recent book is 'A History of Drugs' (Routledge, 2010).