Professorial Lecture Series 2013 – Department of Psychology

7th Feb 2013, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Edge Hill University

Beyond ‘Addiction’: Towards a Social Understanding of Substance Use – Professor Derek Heim

Professor Heim’s talk will examine how substance use is often conceptualised in terms of addiction and that this dictates how it is responded to. He will assert that dominant perspectives of substance use primarily focus on individual-level factors and/or biological/pharmacological processes and fail to consider the social contexts in which substance use occurs. It will be argued that this is self-handicapping and can displace issues of responsibility regarding the individual and society at large. 

Professor Heim will suggest that we must acknowledge the importance of social, cultural and contextual variables in substance use decisions and empower individuals to exercise volitional control over their behaviour. According to Heim, a more social conceptualisation of substance use could also help reduce substance-use related harms.

Derek Heim is a Professor of Psychology at Edge Hill University, previously holding posts at the University of Central Lancashire and completing his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Strathclyde. His research interests include social, cultural and contextual influences on substance use, health and well-being.  A chartered psychologist and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Professor Heim is Editor in Chief of
international journal Addiction Research and Theory.


  • 5.00pm – Arrival
  • 6.00pm – Lecture
  • 7.15pm – Refreshments and Networking

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