Lucy Wallis completed a BA (Hons) in Criminology in 2013 at the University of Durham before completing an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice in 2014, also at the University of Durham. Lucy is in the third year of her PhD at the Public Health Institute at Liverpool John Moores University which she is completing under the supervision of Professor Harry Sumnall, Amanda Atkinson (Public Health Institute, Liverpool John Moores University) and Professor Judith Aldridge (University of Manchester).
The project, titled, ‘Diffusion of New Psychoactive Substances: understanding population motives, harms, and intervention needs’ focuses on gaining an understanding of why some new psychoactive substances (NPS) become popular and widespread and others fail to do so, in order to identify appropriate public health interventions to reduce harm.
The 2016 Psychoactive Substances Act in the United Kingdom was implemented on the 26th of May 2016. The Act introduced a ‘blanket ban’ on the production, sale and supply of NPS in the United Kingdom. The Act was developed in response to the failure of existing powers and controls to reduce the availability and use of NPS in the UK. The PhD aims to gain an understanding of the factors which determine the diffusion of NPS and differentiating between them, which will provide an insight into emerging drug use markets and behaviours, and provide evidence which will be useful in formulating appropriate public health policy, preventative, and harm reduction responses. Although NPS use has been described with respect to prevalence and availability, there is little understanding as to why certain NPS become popular, whilst others do not. Ascertaining how important different attributes associated with NPS use are is the key component of the PhD and the use of Sawtooth choice-based conjoint analysis with drug users will be a crucial aspect of finding answers to this question.
The use of Sawtooth choice-based conjoint analysis forms the final study of the PhD. The previous three stages of the PhD research have comprised a critical analysis of Rogers’ 1961 diffusion of innovations model and two interview stages with elite stakeholders and NPS online retailers. The attributes for the choice-based conjoint analysis have been identified from the critical analysis and the interviews. This choice-based conjoint analysis aims to determine what drug features are important to individual users when considering buying an NPS. The reason to choose Sawtooth choice-based conjoint analysis was based on the benefit of presenting profiles in a way to participants that best resembles the process of choosing which product (in this case a hypothetical NPS) to purchase.
If you have any further questions or you would like to find out more about this PhD, please do not hesitate to contact Lucy at: