COVID-19 research projects

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, many organisations across Australia and internationally are conducting research into how this event has shaped alcohol and other drug use.

If your organisation is conducting such research and you would like to be included on this page, please fill out the form at the end of this page.

If you are an AOD clinician/worker or a health resource manager, we invite you to participate in the co-design process of a new Victorian clinical rapid drug alert system.

The 8 minute, anonymous survey closes Monday 23rd November.

You're able to participate if you work in Victoria as:

  • Alcohol and other drug (AOD) worker (engaged directly with people who use drugs/have acute drug problems)
  • Manager of an AOD program, practice or service (responsible for allocating resources/staffing)
  • Emergency healthcare clinician (nurse/doctor/paramedic working in an emergency department, mobile response unit and/or services at events/mass gatherings)
  • Manager of an emergency department, response unit, and/or mobile service (responsible for allocating resources/staffing)

The aim of this research is to identify how Victoria Police forensic drug analysis data can best be communicated to the AOD workforce, in the form of rapid drug alerts. The project aims to improve clinical responses and resource management when responding to acute drug-related harm and adverse medical events, by informing clinicians/workers and managers about what drugs are circulating in local drug markets.

The community wide physical distancing currently in place in New South Wales, Australia, and indeed across the globe in response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is a public health intervention on a scale never seen before. It has seen dramatic changes in alcohol policy, including the closure of licensed venues and anecdotally increases in off-license purchasing. But we do not know how the containment measures will affect alcohol consumption and related harm, a leading cause of disease globally. Studying the effects of these dramatic alcohol policy changes in NSW will be vital to inform current alcohol control strategies, provide internationally comparative data, and contribute to evidence-informed alcohol policy in the future. What is urgently needed is threefold: documentation of all the containment measures over time with regards to their effects on access to and availability of alcohol in NSW; in-depth insights into people’s experiences of containment in relation to alcohol purchasing and consumption; and quantitative data on changes in drinking behaviours during and after containment.

Our survey has now closed and we are currently in the middle of analysing the data (aiming to be finished by December 2020). If you would like to stay up to date about the outcomes, please contact Dr Katinka van de Ven (

NADA, ATODA and ATDC have engaged researchers of the Drug Policy Modelling Program (DPMP) to conduct a project aimed to quantify and describe the impact of COVID-19 on the NGO AOD sector, in order to inform future planning and service delivery for NGO AOD services. Specific areas of focus are; (1) the demand for treatment (e.g. numbers seeking help), (2) service delivery (e.g. changes in delivery modalities), (3) workforce (e.g. training activities) and (4) business practice (e.g. financial impact) for AOD treatment services. Dr Katinka van de Ven (UNE) and Prof Alison Ritter (UNSW) are leading this project.

Rather than merely describing what has happened, the project will consider the implications of these impacts for: the NGO AOD treatment sector; service delivery modes; the funders of treatment; and the recipients of treatment.

Researchers at UNSW Sydney are conducting a project aimed at assessing the impact of COVID-19 on harm reduction and AOD services for people who use or inject drugs. The research project is looking for staff or stakeholders at a harm reduction or AOD treatment service, who would like to take part in this research.

Participation in this research is voluntary. The survey is approximately 15 minutes long. To compensate participants for their time, participants will be given the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win one of ten $100 vouchers that will be randomly drawn.

This study is exploring the short and long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the experiences of Australians who use illicit drugs. This is one of the first studies globally to talk with people who use illicit drugs about the changes they are experiencing in relation to their drug use, harms, and other challenges and positives they may be experiencing.

The researchers intend to ensure findings are shared quickly back to participants and other key audiences (e.g., government health departments). This reporting will ensure drug-related issues during COVID-19 are better understood, more accurately represented, and used to inform drug treatment and harm reduction in Australia.

GDS is an independent research company based in London. It produces reports for global media, public health and corporate organisations. GDS use its data and expertise to create digital health applications delivering screening and brief interventions for drugs and alcohol. It creates free online harm reduction resources and anonymous, confidential self-assessment tools. GDS has now launched a Global Drug Survey Special Edition on COVID-19.

How Australians are coping without formal sport and how we are staying active and adjusting to the physical restrictions imposed by COVID-19 is set to be answered in a new national survey by Deakin University.

Researchers will measure levels of physical activity, screen time and general health and wellbeing, both during the pandemic and as our lives change once restrictions are eased.

The survey, to involve volunteers aged 13 to 75, is being led by Deakin’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), with input from Sport and Recreation Victoria, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, Victorian Department of Education, Sport Australia, VicSport, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation and the Heart Foundation.