• DrugScope
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


This is a collection of grey literature and some archive material relating to drugs and drug policy, originally part of the library holdings at DrugScope. The range of material includes pamphlets, official government publications, original research papers, conference papers and proceedings, ephemera, counter-cultural publications, and a large collection of reprints from a wide range of sources (from academic journals, newspapers and magazines). Several individual items are extremely rare or perhaps even uniquely surviving copies.

As well as this material collected by DrugScope, the collection includes material produced by them and their new predecessor bodies (ISDD and SCODA) including archival material which documents the operations of these organisations, as well as their own publications.

Some material in this collection has not been catalogued yet and cannot be requested online. This material is described under 'Accruals'. Requests to view uncatalogued material are considered on a case by case basis. Please contact collections@wellcomecollection.org for more details.



Physical description

303 Boxes Uncatalogued: 6 boxes



The collection has been organised and arranged according to our own structure and bears no relation to the original order in which material was stored and made available by DrugScope.

The material has been arranged geographically, primarily, then by the organisation or author who produced it. Beyond this, there are also sections organised by either format or theme. This arrangement is in no way intended to bias or draw links between material contained within the collection, it is simply pragmatic and intended to provide easy access to the material. The order of the geographical sections is based primarily on the volume of material

Serials (newsletters, magazines, journals etc.) will be made available within our core library collections and can be found here.

Below are the main sections:

A - DrugScope Archive: Archival and published material produced by DrugScope, ISDD (Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence) and SCODA (Standing Conference on Drug Abuse)

B - UK: Published material produced within the UK, including independent organisations, local authorities and services, and government

C - USA: Published material produced within the USA, including independent organisations, and state and national governments

D - Canada: Published material produced within Canada

E - Australia & New Zealand: Published material produced within Australia & New Zealand

F - Europe: Published material produced within Europe

G - Asia: Published material produced within Asia

H - Africa: Published material produced within Africa

J - South & Central America: Published material produced within South & Central America

K - International Bodies: Material produced by the European Union, United Nations, the World Health Organisation and others

L - Conferences: Material relating to specific international conferences

M - Bibliographies & Directrories: Various lists of books and services pertaining to drug culture, research, policy and information

N - Research Reports: Reports and summaries of drug-related research projects carried out by individuals and on behalf of organisations; includes published and unpublished studies.

Acquisition note


Biographical note

DrugScope was formed in 2000 by the union of ISDD (Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence) and SCODA (Standing Conference on Drug Abuse). It was the UK's leading independent centre of expertise on drugs and drug use; it closed in March 2015.

Before this, the DrugScope Library was the largest English language collection on this theme in the world. It served a wide range of occupations and disciplines including academic researchers, students and those involved in treatment, education, housing, criminal justice and healthcare services, as well as the general public. The library was internationally renowned as a unique and highly valued concentration of resources on all aspects of drugs, covering many disciplines and including underground and alternative materials not widely collected by academic libraries.

Related material


Terms of use

This collection is currently partially uncatalogued. Uncatalogued material cannot be ordered online. Requests to view uncatalogued material are considered on a case by case basis. Please contact collections@wellcomecollection.org for more details.

Language note

Mostly English

Accruals note

Acc 2638: Organisational records relating to the governance, running and activities of ISDD and its external relationships, in particular with its Patron Diana, Princess of Wales. 3 boxes, 1980s-1990s.

Acc 2721: "Druglink: the journal on drug misuse in the UK"; "Black Poppy" magazine (publication exclusively by drug users for drug users". "Alcohol and Temperance History Newsletter", 19801-1985, and "Drinking and Drug Practices Surveyor" Jun 1992. Various drug policy grey literature and journals.

Ownership note

Harry Shapiro, former Director of Communications and Information for DrugScope (and previous Librarian at DrugScope, and previously one of the librarians at ISDD), oversaw closing down the library and putting it into storage in London while he tried to find a home for it all. At that point, in 2007, the collection was c.1500 boxes. A long process of appraisal reduced it to around 300 boxes. Disposal was primarily of peer reviewed scientific journals and reprints, excluding early runs which are likely to be scarce and not online. Approximately 5,000 books were donated to Drugtext Foundation and shipped to The Netherlands. The remaining boxes were rescued from potential destruction by David Bewley-Taylor, Professor of International Relations and Public Policy and Founding Director of the Global Drug Policy Observatory (GDPO) at Swansea University, and stored by the University until a permanent home could be found. These boxes were eventually transfered to the Wellcome Library in 2016 and form the basis of this collection.


Permanent link


Accession number

  • 2266
  • 2638
  • 2721