Since the early 1990s several developments have taken place in the hard drug scene in the Netherlands. Key elements in these developments were harm reduction measures, introduction of crack, open drug scenes, police interventions, drug-related nuisance, low-threshold care facilities and the well-being of drug users. Drug policy and drug scenes have also changed in the past 15 years. The aim of this thesis is to provide insight into the role of low-threshold care facilities in the process of marginalisation and socialisation of drug users. Marginalisation entails that chronic hard drug users drift away from the core institutions of society, e.g. family and friends, the labour market and health care; socialisation is the opposite of marginalisation (Coumans, 2005). The roles that low-threshold care facilities can play are derived from this process. First, low-threshold care facilities can contribute to the discontinuation of marginalisation. Second, low-threshold care facilities can function as re-integration instruments. Both marginalisation and socialisation have their effects on individual drug users and on society in a broader perspective (in terms of public health and public safety). By understanding the role of low-threshold care facilities within a changing environment, these facilities can be utilised more effectively. First, this chapter outlines the concepts of ‘hard drug scenes and nuisance’ and ‘harm reduction and low-threshold care’. Then, Coumans’ theory of marginalisation and socialisation is presented and the six chapters of this thesis are introduced. Finally, the methodology and data used are presented.

, , , , ,
H. van de Mheen (Dike)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van der Poel, A. (2009, December 16). Low-threshold Care for Marginalised Hard Drug Users: Marginalisation and Socialisation in the Rotterdam Hard Drug Scene. Retrieved from