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Society for the Study of Addiction to Alcohol and other Drugs

  • Society for the Study of Addiction to Alcohol and other Drugs
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


The collection comprises minutes (1921-1969 and 1976), registers of attendance (1904-1939), financial records (1930s and 1960s), plus meeting papers and correspondence (1965-1987), and records of the London Committee for the Study of Drug Addiction, 1965-1967 (now the London Section of the SSA).

The records described here are far from a complete archive of the Society, but it has not been possible to locate any other material.



Physical description

6 boxes


The collection is divided into sections as follows:
A Minutes, 1904-1976
B Financial, 1930-1976
C Miscellaneous, 1919-1970s
D Correspondence, 1964-1987 E London Society for Study of Addiction, 1965-1967

Acquisition note

The majority of these papers were deposited in May 1990 by the Society via the President, Malcolm Lader, and Virginia Berridge, who had been consulting them for her history of the Society. The attendance register (C.4) was donated in July 1990 by the Medical Society of London, on whose premises SSA meetings were held. A further accrual, consisting predominantly of correspondence and incorporating a file from the London Committee for the Study of Drug Addiction was received from Professor Lader via Dr Berridge in June 1994

Biographical note

The Society for the Study and Cure of Inebriety was founded in 1884 as a pressure group in response to the inadequacy of the Habitual Drunkards Act of 1879. The words "and Cure" were dropped from the title early in the Society's existence, and the title was changed to its present style in 1946.

Membership was open only to qualified medical practitioners: others interested in the Society's work could become Associates. This distinction was dropped only in 1959. The governing body, variously styled "Committee" or "Council", was composed of the President, Vice-Presidents, Treasurer, Secretary and a committee of not more than twelve members. The Society operated from the President's address.

To achieve its aims, "to investigate the various causes of inebriety, and to educate the professional and public mind to a recognition of the physical aspects of habitual intemperance", the Society organised quarterly meetings at which papers were read and discussed, and campaigned for the passing of legislation to compel inebriates into treatment. The proceedings of the quarterly meetings were published, at first quarterly, then annually as "Transactions", and finally, from 1903, as part of the British Journal of Inebriety (from 1946, British Journal of Addiction), which also publishes external papers.

The Society's current aims are "to promote the communication and spread of scientific knowledge about dependence on drugs and alcohol and other forms of dependence associated with compulsive behaviour, and to encourage the systematic study of the forms of dependence". It jointly sponsors the Dent Lecture with the Department of Pharmacology, Kings College, University of London, and also holds other meetings and symposia.

A detailed history of the Society by Virginia Berridge was published as "The Society for the Study of Addiction 1884-1988", a special issue of the British Journal of Addiction Vol 85, No 8, Aug 1990.

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