Street-level effects of local drug policy on marginalization and hardening: An ethnographic study among chronic drug users

Moniek Coumans*, Ronald A. Knibbe, Dike van de Mheen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study focuses on the effects of increased enforcement on marginalization of and quality of relations between chronic drug users in the region of Parkstad Limburg (the Netherlands). Data were mainly gathered by ethnographic community fieldwork, verified by interviews with key informants and supported by a survey sample of 100 drug users. The results show direct effects of repression on stigmatization and marginalization of drug users, and on the availability of drugs. More indirect effects are the hectic reactions of drug users and dealers, greater visibility of drug users in public places, and increased tensions in and deterioration of relations between the drug users. The impact of the increased enforcement on reports of drug-related nuisance in general population surveys and on police control is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-171
JournalJournal of Psychoactive Drugs
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • chronic drug users
  • ethnographic study
  • local drug policy
  • marginalization
  • WAR

Cite this