Alcohol and Other Drugs Group

Heads: Professor Paul Dietze and Dr Peter Higgs

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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.


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.


  • 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.