Jessica Neicun, external PhD candidate

"I really value the mindset of the people at CAPHRI, the high-quality of the research they conduct and their willingness to help."

My PhD

Having a background in sociology and development studies, I have spent the last decade conducting social research and public policy evaluation in Chile, France and the UK. As a PhD candidate, I am currently conducting a socio-epidemiological study on new trends in drug use and health harms in Europe from a global perspective. At the moment, I am a visiting student at the Institute of Public Health of Cambridge University. Here I carry out part of my research work on the use of novel psychoactive substances and misuse of prescription drugs in England and Wales, while collaborating on a drug treatment evaluation project.

My Project

In the study I am working on, I try to identify what the new trends are in recreational drug use and non-medical use of prescription drugs. I also look at how countries are dealing with those trends and how they respond to them in terms of social and healthcare services and regulations. What are the main problems? What are the solutions that are being applied? And what is needed? My aim is to combine all this information. At the moment, a lot of data about the subject of drug use is still isolated or incomplete. By putting information together, we will get a comprehensive view of how certain trends are developing and how different governments respond to them.

My Supervision

My supervisors are Kasia Czabanowska and Andres Roman-Urrestarazu. Both work for CAPHRI and are members of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Department of International Health, of Maastricht University. What I like about their supervision, and working with CAPHRI in general, is the multidisciplinary character. The international experience and network are also very valuable, especially for an international study like mine. I really value the mindset of the people at CAPHRI, the high-quality of the research they conduct and their willingness to help solve problems. Even when I am abroad, I feel part of the CAPHRI community.

My Ambitions

My PhD will end in June 2021. After I have finished my study, I would like to continue pushing the framework of international drug use policies by doing research and providing knowledge that can be used all over the world. This way, we will be able to make improvements to different drug use policies and their impact on society and topics like human rights.


Jessica Neicun

Jessica Neicun
External PhD candidate CAPHRI
Research Line Creating Value-Based Healthcare