Alcohol and Other Drugs Group

Co-Heads: Professor Paul Dietze and Associate Professor Peter Higgs


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.


  • Blood-borne virus and STI self-testing❗Student Projects Available

  • Sexual health and STIs among people who use drugs❗Student Projects Available

Staff Members

  • Anja Busse

    Anja Busse
    Honorary Senior Fellow

  • Ashleigh  Stewart

    Ashleigh Stewart
    PhD Candidate; Research Assistant

  • Doctor Bridget Draper

    Doctor Bridget Draper
    Senior Research Officer

  • Doctor Campbell  Aitken

    Doctor Campbell Aitken
    Research Fellow

  • Doctor Danielle Horyniak

    Doctor Danielle Horyniak
    Honorary Staff member

  • Doctor Jocelyn Chan

    Doctor Jocelyn Chan
    Public Health Physician and Research Officer

  • Professor Margaret Hellard AM

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

  • Michael Curtis

    Michael Curtis
    PhD Student and Research Assistant

  • Professor Paul Dietze

    Professor Paul Dietze
    Co-Program Director, Disease Elimination

  • Associate Professor Peter Higgs

    Associate Professor Peter Higgs
    Burnet Senior Fellow. Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Health, La Trobe University

  • Doctor Rebecca Winter

    Doctor Rebecca Winter
    Deputy Head Justice Health Group

  • Rebekka (Bek)  Petrovic

    Rebekka (Bek) Petrovic
    Research Assistant

  • Doctor Shelley Walker

    Doctor Shelley Walker
    Research Officer

  • Stephanie Curtis

    Stephanie Curtis
    Surveillance Officer / Master of Philosophy (Applied Epidemiology) Scholar

  • Wai Chung Tse

    Wai Chung Tse
    Research Assistant

  • Doctor Wijnand Van Den Boom

    Doctor Wijnand Van Den Boom
    Research Officer