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Hidden Populations

‘Hidden populations’ euphamistically refers to marginalised and excluded deviant groups such as the homeless, criminal populations, sex workers and heavy-end drug users.

We use the term to include an 'intentionally unseen population of drugs users unknown to treatment and criminal justice services.

Research Team

The book ‘Intentionally Unseen’ written by Dr Iain McPhee emphasises the normality of illicit drug use by healthy, risk aware law abiding citizens challenging accepted dogma that considers drug users as addicts and criminals..

Our team of PhD researchers include Linda Thomas, Kieran Hamilton, Karen Hammond and Lee Primrose.

Our Research focus

Our research focuses on intentionally unseen communities of drug users who maintain an unspoiled identity in a climate of prohibition which would stigmatise them were their use to be revealed. 


Our research recruits drug users who are neither seeking treatment nor subject to criminal sanction, in other words sensible, risk aware users of drugs that are an offence to possess, purchase and distribute.

Challenging stigma, promoting harm reduction

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