Call for papers for the International Journal of Drug Policy

Human enhancement drugs: emerging issues and responses.

International Journal of Drug Policy (IJDP) (IF: 4.244 / Q1)

Editors: Prof Vivian Hope, Prof John Hoberman, Dr Mair Underwood, Dr Jason Mazanov, Dr Katinka van de Ven, Dr Kyle Mulrooney & Dr Jim McVeigh.

Human enhancement drugs: emerging issues and responses themed collection will explore the role that the unregulated use of drugs is increasingly playing in enhancing the human experience. The use of drugs for human enhancement is a long-standing phenomenon, although one that has most commonly been described among the those who engage in sporting activities, in particular bodybuilding, and in sexual contexts. Drugs can be used with the aim of enhancing many aspects of human appearance, performance and functioning – e.g. building muscle, stimulating creativity, improving cognition and functioning.  In recent years there has been increasing concern about the use of the substance’s for aesthetic enhancement and to improve educational performance, as well as about emerging patterns of use, such as micro-dosing with psychedelics. There is also growing awareness about the harms that may arise from the use of drugs to enhance the human experience.

The focus of this themed collection will be on exploring emerging issues, and on how to respond to the use of drugs to enhance the human experience. There will be a particular focus on the unregulated use of drugs:

  • for aesthetic improvement (through changing or modifying bodily appearance, such as increasing musculature, reducing fat and manipulating skin tone);
  • to improve intellectual, creative and social functioning (including micro-dosing with psychedelics, and the use of drugs in education and creative contexts); and
  • to aid relationships, intimacy and sexual functioning.

This collection seeks papers that explore emerging issues around human enhancement drug use, and the challenges of responding to the use of drugs for human enhancement. Submissions related to the following would be of particular interest:

  • emerging patterns of human enhancement drug use and supply, the use of new types of enhancement drugs, and emergent harms;
  • the relationship between use of enhancement and psychoactive drugs;
  • motivations and drivers for enhancement drug use, particularly use to enhance intellectual, creative and social functioning, or to improve appearance or attractiveness to others;
  • the diversity of populations using enhancement drugs including their use amongst marginalised and minority groups;
  • the boundary between use for therapy, repair and enhancement;
  • the formulation and impact of policy, regulations and laws related to drugs and drug use; and
  • factors impacting on, and the development and implementation of, interventions and other responses to human enhancement drug use to prevent and reduce harm.

Original qualitative and quantitative research papers; policy, historical or fiscal analyses; and theoretical submissions and critiques are all welcomed, as full or short reports, from a range of disciplines including, public health, sociology, philosophy, psychology, law, criminology, and political science.

Abstracts (up to 350 words) for proposed submissions should be submitted by email to both Prof Hope & Dr van de Ven ( ; by:

 15 December 2019

Papers based on the abstracts selected will need to be submitted to the journal before 1st April 2020. If you would like your submission for the themed collection to also be considered for the symposium, please clearly state this at the end of your abstract. All manuscripts will be subject to the usual peer review process; authors should indicate their interest in submitting for this themed collection during the submission process.

Submissions to this themed collection can also be considered for inclusion in a working symposium – Human Enhancement Drugs and New Research Directions – to be held in Parramatta, Sydney on Tuesday the 11th of February.

Small travel bursaries of $250 are available for a select few participants (but requests need to be made by the 27th of November).

This symposium is being coordinated by Dr Katinka van de Ven & Dr Kyle Mulrooney with the aim to bring together a broad spectrum of scholarly insights and research expertise from various disciplines, such as public health, epidemiology, neuroethics, sport science, criminology and sociology, to examine key (inter)national issues in the field of HEDs. The symposium will facilitate debates on our understanding of the cultural and societal contexts of HED use and supply, as well as the critical analysis of the consequences of (drug) policy implementation. These debates will be used to inform and develop contributions to the themed collection. (Please contact Dr van de Ven for more information on the symposium and travel bursaries