Alcohol and Other Drugs Group

Heads: Professor Paul Dietze and Dr Peter Higgs

Overview

Alcohol and other drug use is associated with a range of health and social harms conservatively estimated at costing the Australian community some $55 billion a year.

We conduct leading research on alcohol and other drug use and related harms in Australia. We work with a variety of at-risk populations, including young people and people who inject drugs. Using innovative research designs and methods, the program has a strong history of collaboration with researchers from key national and international institutions.

Objectives

Our main objectives are to:

  • Document the trajectories of alcohol and other drug use and key intervention points to reduce harms

  • Develop innovative studies to improve our understanding of patterns of alcohol and other drug use in the community

  • Develop, implement and evaluate new interventions to reduce alcohol and other drug related harms.

Highlights

  • The SuperMIX study: a longitudinal study funded by the NHMRC designed to examine patterns of drug use, health service use and health and social outcomes in a cohort of people who inject drugs (2008-2021).

  • Mobile Interventions to address Drinking in Young people (MIDY): a randomized trial funded by the NHMRC to develop a mobile-phone based intervention to reduce risky drinking by young people.

  • Burnet Institute received $2.5 million from the NHMRC to establish the Centre for Research Excellence into Injecting Drug Use (CREIDU). CREIDU brings together partners from research institutes, universities and community-based organisations across the country, with the aim of increasing out knowledge about injecting drug use, so we can identify ways to improve policy and practice in the area to reduce the severity of health and social outcomes associated with injecting drug use.

  • The Melbourne Injecting Drug User Cohort Study (MIX) has recruited almost 700 young heroin and methamphetamine injectors, who will be followed up annually to study trajectories of drug use, health service use and health and social outcomes over time. First-year follow-up interviews are complete with second and third year interviews now underway.

Projects

  • Coping with COVID-19: Young people’s health and wellbeing in Australia

  • CREIDU: Centre for Research Excellence into Injecting Drug Use

  • EDRS: Ecstasy and related Drugs Reporting System

  • Evaluation of the Multicultural Drug and Alcohol Service

  • Feasibility study for a potential medically supervised injecting centre/drug consumption service for the ACT

  • IDRS: Illicit Drug Reporting System

  • Needle and Syringe Program (NSP) Snapshot Study

  • SimDrink: Using simulation modelling to perform alcohol policy experiments

  • SuperMIX: The Melbourne Injecting Drug User Cohort Study

Staff Members

  • Doctor Amanda Roxburgh

    Doctor Amanda Roxburgh
    NHMRC Research Fellow

  • Amy Kirwan

    Amy Kirwan
    Program Manager (Behaviours and Health Risks), Outreach Manager

  • Ashleigh  Stewart

    Ashleigh Stewart
    PhD Candidate; Research Assistant

  • Bridget Draper

    Bridget Draper
    Research Assistant

  • Doctor Campbell  Aitken

    Doctor Campbell Aitken
    Research Fellow

  • Cristal Hall

    Cristal Hall
    Research Assistant

  • Doctor Dagnachew Muluye Fetene

    Doctor Dagnachew Muluye Fetene
    Data Analyst

  • Doriano  Raffaele

    Doriano Raffaele
    Masters Student

  • Emma Woods

    Emma Woods
    Research Assistant

  • Jack Gunn

    Jack Gunn
    Research Assistant

  • Professor Margaret Hellard AM

    Professor Margaret Hellard AM
    Deputy Director (Programs); Adjunct Professor, Monash University, DEPM.

  • Doctor Megan SC Lim

    Doctor Megan SC Lim
    Deputy Program Director, Behaviours and Health Risks; Preventive Health Research Fellow

  • Michael Curtis

    Michael Curtis
    PhD Student and Research Assistant

  • Professor Paul Dietze

    Professor Paul Dietze
    Program Director, Behaviours and Health Risks

  • Penny Hill

    Penny Hill
    PhD Candidate; Research Assistant

  • Reece Cossar

    Reece Cossar
    Doctor of Psychology (Clinical and Forensic) Candidate; Research Assistant

  • Doctor Rehana  Di Rico

    Doctor Rehana Di Rico

  • Shady Abdelsalam

    Shady Abdelsalam
    Master’s Student

  • Doctor Shelley Walker

    Doctor Shelley Walker
    Research Officer

  • Associate Professor Suzanne  Nielsen

    Associate Professor Suzanne Nielsen
    Honorary Principal Fellow

  • Doctor Wijnand Van Den Boom

    Doctor Wijnand Van Den Boom
    Research Officer