Home > Club Health 2017 conference to be held in Dublin.

O’Brien Green, Siobhan (2017) Club Health 2017 conference to be held in Dublin. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 60, Winter 2017, p. 24.

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The 2017 Club Health International Conference on Nightlife, Substance Use and Related Health Issues will be held in Dublin Castle from 24 to 26 May 20171. This will be the 10th Club Health conference and the first to be held in Dublin. Club Health conferences bring together experts from a wide range of fields to meet, present and exchange information on the latest research, policy and practice on protecting and promoting health in urban night-time settings, music festivals and holiday destinations with a clubbing or nightlife focus. Professor Mark Bellis and Dr Chris Luke, in collaboration with HIT, the groundbreaking harm-reduction organisation, established Club Health in Liverpool in 1997. This was in response to the harm-reduction and health-promotion challenges of that city’s night-time economy. The first conference was held in the city’s very popular nightclub, Cream, and was prompted initially by the health and crime consequences that came with this popularity.


Global conference

Club Health has grown since 1997 to become a global conference that attracts a diverse range of expert international speakers and multidisciplinary participants, such as academics, researchers, club owners and clubbers. Club Health conferences have been held biennially since 1997, organised primarily by the Public Health Institute in Liverpool John Moores University, in partnership with host organisations, government departments and agencies in many countries. These include the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, Slovenia, Spain, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, the USA and, in 2015, Portugal.


Dublin bid

Following the 2015 Lisbon conference, a small group began to work on a bid for the conference to be hosted in Dublin City in 2017. Meetings and consultations were held with key stakeholders to explore the interest and supports available to plan and deliver a successful conference and the potential topics and issues it might focus on. Through these meetings, it emerged strongly that the proposed conference in Ireland would be timely and welcome; it was especially pertinent, as the new National Drugs Strategy will be launched in 2017. Given the range and interdisciplinary of participants, speakers and topics at previous conferences, it also resonated with policy developments arising from the National Sexual Health Strategy2 and results in the 2014 Flash Eurobarometer survey of young adults aged 15–24 in EU member states3. These were in relation to new psychoactive substances (NPS) consumption and use in Ireland as well as discussion of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015. With the enthusiastic support of stakeholders ‒ such as the Health Research Board; Dublin City Council; UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice ‒ and onsite visits to potential venues, the conference bid was successful, and awarded to Dublin in March 2016.


The conference in Dublin is expected to attract around 300 participants from across Ireland and the globe. It aims to build capacity and knowledge among all professionals and sectors with a stake in a healthy nightlife, including municipal and state policy-makers, public health planners, medical and nursing practitioners and scientists, drug and alcohol addiction service providers, criminologists, local authorities, transport sector and government agencies, representatives of the various nightlife industries, and, most importantly, citizens and customers using or affected by the night-time economy. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is a key partner in the Dublin conference and will be presenting aspects of their current and relevant research at the event.


Networking is an important feature of all Club Health conferences. Previous conferences have developed and enhanced a powerful interdisciplinary international network of academics and practitioners, resulting in European and international research and practice collaborations with further similar alliances expected to emerge from the Dublin 2017 event.


Issues and topics

There will be many significant issues and topics explored in the conference. These include drug legislation and drug law reform; emerging trends in club culture; forensic testing of drugs or ‘pill testing’ and ‘early warning systems’; health and safety standards for nightlife environments; harm-reduction interventions in nightlife settings; NPS; nightlife legislation, policy and economic impact of measures such as ‘lock out laws’ and night mayors; policing in the nightlife settings and in nightlife tourism destinations, such as Dublin’s Temple Bar; sexual health and risk-taking sexual behaviours; violence in nightlife context; social exclusion – or nightlife without money; and other cutting edge and emerging relevant topics.


The Club Health Dublin 2017 conference will be held in the Printworks in Dublin Castle, 24‒26 May. It promises to be a stimulating, engaging, diverse and comprehensive event, assessing and debating what works to make the nightlife environment heathier, economically viable, and safer. And all this without losing core focus on the essential fun, dynamic and vibrant elements of a good night out. The call for abstracts and poster presentations is open via the Club Health Dublin website, where registration details and further information on the event and how to participate can also be found.


  1. For more information on Club Health 2017, visit http://theclubhealthconference.com/
  2. Department of Health (2015) National Sexual Health Strategy 2015‒2020 and action plan 2015‒2016. Dublin: Department of Health. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/24714/
  3. TNS Political & Social (2014) Flash Eurobarometer 401: Young people and drugs. Luxembourg: European Commission. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/22196/
Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco), CNS stimulants, Cocaine, Opioid, New psychoactive substance
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
Issue Title
Issue 60, Winter 2017
January 2017
Page Range
p. 24
Health Research Board
Issue 60, Winter 2017

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