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Curtin University
National Drug Research Institute

Preventing Harmful Drug Use In Australia

Research priority:

Understanding social contexts of drug use

NDRI’s ethnographic research program focuses on diverse topics – street-based injecting drug use, amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), alcohol, service provision and HCV infection – with research being conducted in international and Australian jurisdictions. Staff and PhD scholars in the program employ a mix of research methods: ethnography and other qualitative approaches, ethno-epidemiology and agent-based modelling. Project findings are disseminated to research, policy, practice and community audiences through written and oral presentations, and are intended to inform policy and practice (e.g. the work of the Premier’s Drug Prevention Council, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee, and the National Drug Strategy and associated strategies such as the National ATS Strategy).

Projects focus on improved access, engagement and retention of methamphetamine users in health services; the social and cultural politics of hepatitis C in Australia; the influence of social and physical contexts on drug-related harm and public health interventions in Vancouver; ATS use among young people; a mixed-methods study of alcohol use among young people in Melbourne; and a study of how addiction concepts influence public health policy and practice. These projects include collaborations with state, national and international colleagues (e.g. AER Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, Burnet Institute, Monash University, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS).