Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

Making sense of the social world


Dr Caroline Chatwin

School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research - Senior lecturer in criminology

01227 82(7534)


I am a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research.

I run my own third year optional undergraduate module and MA module in the field of illegal drugs.  The aim is to explore both the cultural context of drug taking and the political controls that have been placed upon this activity from an international perspective.  I supervise undergraduates and postgraduates in these areas.

My research is mainly based around the intricacies of drug policy at the European level debating whether or not drug policy in Europe should become more harmonised and critiquing policy options implemented at the European level.  I have also done some recent work in cannabis markets in the UK, internet research methods and older cannabis users.

My most recent work is in the field of policy responses to new psychoactive substances.


Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Chatwin, C. and Potter, G. (2014). Blurred Boundaries: the artificial distinction between 'use' and 'supply' in the UK cannabis market. Contemporary Drug Problems [Online] 41:536-550.
O'Brien, K. et al. (2014). New Psychoactive Substances and British Drug Policy: a view from the cyber psychonauts. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy [Online]:1-7.
Chatwin, C. and Porteous, D. (2013). Insiders? the Experiences and Perspectives of Long-Term, Regular Cannabis Users . Contemporary Drug Problems [Online] 40:235-257.
Chatwin, C. (2013). A critical evaluation of the European drug strategy: Has it brought added value to drug policy making at the national level? International Journal of Drug Policy [Online] 24:251-256.
Potter, G. and Chatwin, C. (2012). The problem with "skunk". Drugs and Alcohol Today [Online] 12:232-240.
Chatwin, C. (2012). What kind of union? Soft convergence - or top down harmonization. Drugs and Alcohol Today [Online] 12:20-26.
Chatwin, C. (2010). Have recent evolutions in European governance brought harmonisation in the field of illicit drugs any closer? . Drugs and Alcohol Today [Online] 10:26-32.
Chatwin, C. (2010). User Involvement in the illegal drugs field: what can Britain learn from European experiences? Safer Communities [Online] 9:51-60.
Chatwin, C. (2007). Multi-level governance: The way forward for European illicit drug policy? International Journal of Drug Policy [Online] 18:494-502.
Chatwin, C. (2004). The Effects of EU Enlargement on European Drug Policy. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy [Online] 11:437-448.
Chatwin, C. (2003). Drug Policy Developments within the European Union: the destabilizing effects of Dutch and Swedish drug policies. British Journal of Criminology [Online] 43:567-582.
Chatwin, C. (2011). Drug Policy Harmonization and the European Union . [Online]. Palgrave Macmillan.
Book section
Chatwin, C. (2014). New psychoactive substances: new European policy landscapes. in: Potter, G. R., Wouters, M. and Fountain, J. eds. Change and Continuity: researching evolving drug landscapes in Europe. PABST publications.
Potter, G. and Chatwin, C. (2011). Researching cannabis markets online: some lessons from the virtual field. in: Fountain, J., Frank, V. A. and Korf, D. J. eds. Markets, methods and messages: Dynamics in European drug research. PABST SCIENCE PUBLISHERS.
Chatwin, C. (2008). Parental use of alcohol and illicit drugs: a critical review of recent research (Chapter 3) . in: Kennison, P. and Goodman, A. eds. Children as Victims . SAGE Publications Ltd.
Total publications in KAR: 15 [See all in KAR]

Research interests

To date, the focus of my research has been the intricacies of drug policy at the European level.  I began my interest in this area with a PhD investigating the different paradigms of drug policy operating in Europe and exploring the possibility of an integrated European drug policy. 

Over the last ten years I have continued in this vein, publishing articles on the stability of drug policy within Europe, the role of the new European member states in defining drug policy and the relevance of multi-level governance as a policy strategy for the field of illicit drugs. Most recently I have published a research monograph in this area with Palgrave McMillan (2011) entitled ‘Drug Policy Harmonization and the European Union’ and an article in the International Journal of Drug Policy (2013) critiquing the outgoing European Union strategy on drugs.  In 2011 I also worked as the special advisor to the Home Affairs sub-committee of the House of Lords European Select Committee during their investigation into European drug policy.

More recently, I have been developing interests in additional areas connected to the drugs field.  I have conducted several small scale internet research studies and have published in the field of internet research methods.  The research studies explored subcultural elements of the psytrance scene, UK cannabis markets and the experiences of older cannabis users.

Contact information

Office information

Room CW NE 107
Cornwallis North East
University of Kent
Kent CT2 7NF

Telephone: +44(0)1227 823072 Fax: +44(0)1227 827005 or email us

SSPSSR, Faculty of Social Sciences, Cornwallis North East, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF

Last Updated: 03/12/2015