Centre for Addiction Research

The Centre for Addiction Research (CFAR) is committed to enhancing the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders by providing sound evidence to inform policy and practice in the understanding, prevention and treatment of addictive consumptions.

Alcohol, tobacco, other drug use and gambling contribute to many and various health and social challenges facing New Zealanders today.

The Centre brings together researchers from across the University of Auckland and elsewhere who are exploring the effects of dangerous consumptions – such as tobacco, alcohol, other drugs and gambling – on individuals, their families, communities, and society.

Our ongoing work in diverse areas such as psychopharmacology, general practice, psychiatry, public health, Māori health, psychological medicine and clinical pharmacology has earned it a highly regarded national and international track record.

Working closely with treatment providers, our broad, multi-disciplinary approach means we are able to investigate addiction at every level – from molecular research right through to societal research, and everything in between, including biomedical, pharmacological, psychological, public health and behavioural research.

By fostering interdisciplinary addiction research and learning, as well as exploring the interplay between addictive consumptions, the Centre for Addiction Research hopes to contribute to improved quality of life and well-being for all New Zealanders.

Download a copy of the Centre for Addiction Research brochure



News and events 

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Dr Joanna Chu talks about her work on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and why we need more research and support in this area.  You can access this on the CFAR YouTube channel.

Alcohol, gender and drinking culture
In our latest mini video, Professor Antonia Lyons talks about alcohol, gender and drinking cultures, particularly the ways in which the alcohol industry works to shape our environments and meanings about drinking.

Women at midlife and alcohol
Dr Kate Kersey discusses her PhD research with women at midlife and their views and experiences around alcohol, and shares some of the key findings in this video

Unhealthy Commodities
We are delighted to share a Centre for Addiction research video.  In this video, Professor Peter Adams talks about his excellent work on unhealthy commodity industries, and why he decided to shift his focus from individual psychology to the political and economic underpinnings of harmful consumption.  He deftly highlights the ways in which unhealthy commodity industries operate to further their policy interests, preventing the implementation of effective public health policies.


Youth Chat digital tool
Listen to Prof. Felicity Goodyear-Smith and Dr Chester Holt-Quick talk about YouthCHAT, a self-administered digital tool to screen young people for mental health concerns and risky health behaviours.


Let’s talk e-cigarettes
Associate Professor Natalie Walked talks about a trial on electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation. Listen to the podcast here.


HRC funding secured for a NZ Vaping Cessation Trial
CFAR members, A/Prof Natalie Walker, Prof Chris Bullen, and A/Prof Vili Nosa, along with A/Prof George Laking and colleagues from University College London (Prof Lion Shahab, Prof Jamie Brown) and the Medical University of South Carolina USA (Dr Amanda Palmer), have been awarded a new project grant from the Health Research Council (valued at $1.4 million). The grant will support a pragmatic community-based clinical trial involving 1,106 people aged 16 years and over who vape nicotine and want help to quit. The trial aims to determine the effectiveness, safety and acceptability of cytisine plus behavioural support, compared with nicotine tapering plus behavioural support, on six-month vaping abstinence. Recruitment for the trial is expected to start in January 2024. More here.


The Heart Foundation recently released a new position statement on alcohol (June, 2023).  Their advice based on all of the evidence is that no amount of alcohol is good for your heart health and drinking less is a better option. You can download the full position statement here.


Associate Professor David Newcombe leading a $1.2 million Health Research Council grant to evaluate the effectiveness of counselling, admission to a rehabilitation centre or undergoing medical detox for people with methamphetamine addiction. Read more here.


For more news and events from our members click here


PhD and Masters opportunities in addiction research

For information about current opportunities click here.