The nature and extent of illegal drug and alcohol-related litter in Scottish social housing community: a photographic investigation

Alasdair Forsyth, Neil Davidson

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This article investigates the nature and extent of alcohol and other drug-related litter in a residential community. This was done by means of a survey of such litter conducted in the social housing `schemes' of a Scottish town, piloting the use of interpretive photography to assess the threat that these pose in the community (n = 1239 pictures of such items). The survey found little evidence of hazardous illegal drug-related litter (number of sets of needles/syringes) in comparison to alcohol litter such as broken bottles. The photographs taken also illustrated the ways in which the risks posed by such litter could vary, according to the type of items concerned (e.g. plastic vs. glass, especially screw-cap, bottles) and their locations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-83
Number of pages13
JournalAddiction Research and Theory
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010



  • drug and alcohol use
  • litter
  • Scottish social housing community

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