NADRA 2022

Alcohol, Drugs, Gambling

Mikaela Lindeman, editor
Publicerad 14 Sep 2022

The Nordic Alcohol and Drug Researcher’s Assembly has been gathering for 38 years – this year the conference took place in Mariehamn, Åland. Here, PopNAD provides some short glimpses of the conference.

Nordic Alcohol and Drug Researcher´s Assembly (NADRA) is a conference with roots dating back to the mid 1980’s. The event, formerly known as NAD:s rusmedelforskarmöten has long served as a platform for networking, sharing interdisciplinary ideas, knowledge and discussions among the research community. Traditionally, NADRA has been organised every second year, hosted by the Nordic Welfare Centre around the Nordic countries on a rotating schedule. However, due to the pandemic there has been a longer break since the last time we could meet. Throughout the years we have seen meetings in for example Lövånger (1984), Hveragerði (1990), Hangö (1998), Helsinki (2008) Reykjavik (2010) Stockholm (2014) and Voksenåsen (2018).

This year, PopNAD, together with more than 50 contributors from all Nordic countries participated in NADRA 2022. The event took place in Mariehamn, Åland between the 6th and 8th of September.

Themes and talks

Some of the themes that merged as especially important were questions on marginalization, welfare state recalibration and gambling policies in changing political landscapes. Below follows some short glimpses from the conference, which consisted of 37 presentations.

Bagga Bjerge

First keynote speaker Bagga Bjerge, Aarhus University, addressed how the Danish welfare services manage citizens with complex problems. Bjerge stressed the importance of understanding that many people that use drugs also carry other burdens such as mental problems or unemployment. Our societies must become better in collaborating and grasping the whole picture. As Bjerge puts it herself:

“People with complex problems usually find themselves in a Catch-22 situation, since rules within one organization might contradict policies in another.”

Riikka Perälä

Second keynote speaker Riikka Perälä, Y-foundation, continued on the theme of marginalization. In her presentation Perälä talked about how the drug scene – use as well as treatment – has developed in Finland and how we can detect both new and old marginalization.

Ársæll Arnarsson

Ársæll Arnarsson from the University of Iceland presented data from the Health Behaviours in School-Aged Children-survey, carried out by Icelandic 10th graders. Arnasson and colleagues explored young people’s well-being in relation to a number of indicators, such as relationship with parents, economic background and substance use.

Jenny Cisneros-Örnberg

The third keynote speaker, Jenny Cisneros-Örnberg, University of Stockholm, gave a lecture on gambling policy in Sweden. She described what happened when the comprehensive state-monopoly system was replaced with a licensed gambling market.

Jani Selin discussing with Tom Kettunen (left) and Sveinbjörn Kristjánsson

Martina Zetterqvist, Swedish Council for Information on alcohol and drugs (CAN), introduced new results from a  report, dealing with Gambling problems among Swedish adolescence. Jani Selin from the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), in turn, presented a content analysis where the connection between public opinion, policy and gambling policy positions of Finnish newspapers was discussed.

The added value of getting together again

The conference ended with a festive dinner at restaurant Smakbyn. All considered, the themes discussed, and presentations given at NADRA 2022 made it apparent that the Nordic countries to a large extent face same sorts of societal challenges. The Nordic countries also tackle similar sort of problems connected to the alcohol, drugs, and gambling fields. Therefore, it is both crucial and valuable to once again be able to meet face-to face and exchange knowledge, ideas, and observations. A setting like NADRA helps strengthening Nordic collaborations and research communities, and has done so for almost 40 years.

Dinner at Smakbyn