Ben Scher

DPhil student in Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation

Research Area

In his doctoral project, Ben is conducting a comparative ethnography across 3 cities in the U.K, Canada and the U.S to centre the lived experience of people who use drugs as a means of drawing specific analytical comparisons between communities in which Overdose Prevention Centres exist and those in which they have not yet been implemented. He is passionate about producing research that can direct policymakers in their efforts to establish more effective and humane interventions that address both the overdose crisis and the health, environmental and socio-economic needs of people impacted by drug overdoses and drug-related harms.


Ben is an SSA-funded DPhil student in Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation at the University of Oxford and is jointly supervised by  Dr Benjamin Chrisinger (University of Oxford) and Dr Gillian Shorter (Queen’s University Belfast). He holds a BA in Combined Social Sciences (Anthropology and Philosophy) from the University of Durham and an MA in Public Issues Anthropology from the University of Waterloo where he was funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Prior to his doctoral studies, Ben worked in the non-profit sector in Canada and the U.K, specifically within client-facing homelessness services including emergency shelters, supervised consumption sites, housing first and outreach settings. In October 2020, he delivered a TEDx talk titled The Logical Next Step in Drug Policy’.

Alongside his studies, Ben is the convenor of the Global Law Enforcement and Public Health Association’s ‘Harm Reduction and Policing’ special interest group. He also works as an independent consultant for government, research and non-profit organizations, while continuing his work as an outreach worker for local homelessness charity St. Mungo’s. He is also a member of the Oxford University Men’s Rugby Team.