The nature and extent of Illegal Drug and Alcohol-related Litter in a Scottish Social Housing Community: A photographic investigation.

Published: April 2009

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. It is also suggested that brand identifiable alcohol litter may act as form of free advertising. These findings are discussed in terms of community safety, and the need to raise awareness of the issues surrounding alcohol-related glass in a community setting as has already been done with illegal drug litter. It is also recommended that certain off-trade alcohol distributers switch from glass to plastic bottles.

Authors / Editors

Research Themes

Violence, Drugs and Alcohol