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New addiction research centre for Auckland

Media Release
The University of Auckland
5 August 2013
New addiction research centre for Auckland
A new Centre for Addiction Research will be launched this week at The University of Auckland.

The Centre undertakes research into the harmful use of alcohol, drugs (illicit and prescription), tobacco and gambling and covers public health policy, social research, and clinical research.

“Although there are a number of alcohol and drug research groups in New Zealand, ours takes a much more broad spectrum approach,” says Centre director, Associate Professor Janie Sheridan.
“Our research team includes people with backgrounds in medicine, pharmacy, pharmacology, nursing, public health, sociology, psychology and law.”

One of the Centre’s associate directors, Dr Susanna Galea, is also the clinical director of the Auckland Community Alcohol and Drug Service (CADS) – the largest such service in New Zealand.

The other associate directors are based at the University’s School of Population Health and include addiction experts, Associate Professor Peter Adams, Dr David Newcombe, and Dr Natalie Walker.

“We have links with treatment centres and the community, and this interaction works well in both directions,” says Associate Professor Sheridan. “It enables us to collaborate with our community and clinical colleagues on research ideas, and also to recruit participants for our studies through those links.”

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“We want to build up our research workforce by giving our postgraduate researchers some continuity of employment and exciting career prospects in this field,” she says.

The Centre is bringing its multidisciplinary perspective to a number of research themes including research into novel tobacco cessation therapies, investigating more effective ways of delivering addiction treatment, and examining the impact of new legislation on drug and alcohol consumption patterns in New Zealand.

“We will be keeping an eye on the outcomes of the new Psychoactive Substances Act from a policy research perspective,” says Associate Professor Sheridan. “This law is unique internationally. It makes these substances illegal, but gives the ‘industry’ here an opportunity to show that its products have a low risk of causing harm, and potentially gain approval for their legitimate sale.”

The new Centre for Addiction Research will be launched at the University’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences’ Grafton campus at midday on Friday 9 August.

The launch will be attended by the associate minister of health, the Hon. Todd McClay who will officially open the Centre, and the ASB visiting professor, Thomas Babor, from the University of Connecticut, USA, who will speak about the role scientific evidence can play (and has played) in informing drug policy internationally.

ENDS

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