Professor Ingeborg Rossow

Ingeborg Rossow is senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo and head of this institute’s alcohol research group. She is a member of WHO expert advisory panel on Drug Dependence and Alcohol Problems and she has served on UNDCP’s advisory expert panel on international standards for drug prevention. Her research is mainly funded by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Her research activities include epidemiological studies of alcohol and drug use, health and social consequences of substance use, and research on alcohol and drug policy.

How does the drug problem vary globally, and how is it changing?

Psychoactive drugs include opioids, cannabis, cocaine, hypnotics, sedatives, hallucinogens, inhalants, amphetamines and other stimulants. Acting on the central nervous system, these drugs have various pleasurable effects, but they may also cause health and social harms to the users and thereby impact on also neighborhoods and society at large. Both the specific class of drugs and the pattern of drug administration affect individual and societal outcomes.

There is no single drug problem within or across societies. There are significant variations between societies in the specific drugs that are problematic, the patterns of drug use, and the damage associated with drug distribution and use. Within societies there are variations in the drug problem between the sexes, across races and age groups, and at different stages of a drug epidemic. In consequence, there can be no single or universal solution to the drug problem, either within a society or across societies.

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November 2017