Alcohol misuse has long had devastating effects on health and wellbeing in rural and remote communities in Australia, among both Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents.

A report commissioned by Menzies and released in late 2010, showed that the cost per person of alcohol-related harm in the Northern Territory (NT) is more than four times the national level.

The total social costs of alcohol consumption in the NT in 2004-05 were estimated at $641.8 million, including healthcare costs of $39.7 million and costs from road accidents of $36.6 million. This equated to $4197 for each adult in the NT, compared to a national cost of $943 per adult.

Our research focus:
  • To translate research into policy to reduce alcohol related harm
  • To work with communities to improve health care services
  • To work with those directly affected by alcohol misuse
  • To investigate the causes, patterns and impacts of alcohol-related brain impairment.
Our research impact:
  • Developed appropriate evaluation strategies for informed public health policy on substance misuse
  • Evaluated the Alcohol Management Plans for Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine and East Arnhem
  • Improved community understanding of alcohol misuse
  • Informed treatment for alcohol misuse and related conditions.
Key staff:
Collaborators:
  • Northern Territory Government
  • Northern Territory Research and Innovation Board
  • Alice Springs Hospital
  • Melbourne University
  • Remote Alcohol and Other Drug Workforce.
  1. d'Abbs, P. (2012). Problematizing alcohol through the eyes of the other: Alcohol policy and Aboriginal drinking in the Northern Territory, Australia. Contemporary Drug Problems, 39(3), 371-396.
  2. Hinton, R., & Nagel, T. (2012). Evaluation of a culturally-adapted training in Indigenous mental health and wellbeing for the alcohol and other drug sector. ISRN Public Health.
  3. Jayaraj, R., Thomas, M., Kavanagh, D., d'Abbs, P., Mayo, L., Thompson, V., Griffin, C.  & Nagel, T. (2012). Study Protocol: Screening and Treatment of Alcohol-Related Trauma (START) - a randomised controlled trial. BMC Health Services Research, 12(1), 371.
  4. Dingwall, K. M., Maruff, P., & Cairney, S. (2011). Similar profile of cognitive impairment and recovery for Aboriginal Australians in treatment for episodic or chronic alcohol use. Addiction, 106(8), 1419-1426.
  5. d'Abbs, P., & Chenhall, R. D. (2013). Spirituality and religion in responses to substance misuse among Indigenous Australians. Substance Use & Misuse, 48, 1-16. doi: 10.3109/10826084.2013.800746
  6. Nagel, T., & Griffin, C. (2010). Promoting Self-management in Indigenous People with Mental Illness and Substance Misuse. International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation, 15(2), 85-90
  7. d'Abbs, P. (2004). Alignment of the policy planets: behind the implementation of the Northern Territory (Australia) Living With Alcohol programme. [Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]. Drug and Alcohol Review, 23(1), 55-66. doi: 10.1080/09595230410001645556
  8. d'Abbs, P., & Togni, S. (2000). Liquor licensing and community action in regional and remote Australia: a review of recent initiatives. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 24(1), 45-53.
  9. d'Abbs, P. (1998). Out of sight, out of mind? Licensed clubs in remote Aboriginal communities. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 22(6), 679-684.
  10. d'Abbs, P. (2010). Controlling 'rivers of grog': the challenge of alcohol problems in Australian Indigenous communities. Contemporary Drug Problems, 37, 499-524. 
Click here to view more alcohol publications in PubMed.
  1. Campus Morning Mail | The Alcohol and Drug Foundation 2019 research award goes to Menzies School of Health Research

    Campus Morning Mail | The Alcohol and Drug Foundation 2019 research award goes to Menzies School of Health Research

    Date

    The Alcohol and Drug Foundation 2019 research award goes to the Alcohol, Other Drugs and Gambling Team at the Menzies School of Health Research, in Darwin

  2. MENZIES SCHOOL OF HEALTH RESEARCH RECOGNISED WITH NATIONAL AWARD

    MENZIES SCHOOL OF HEALTH RESEARCH RECOGNISED WITH NATIONAL AWARD

    Date

    Menzies School of Health Research, has won the Research Award at the 2019 National Alcohol and Other Drugs Excellence and Innovation Awards in Melbourne.

  3. Bottlo's 'burden of proof' | NT News

    Bottlo's 'burden of proof' | NT News

    Date

    Prof James Smith provides evidence to NT Liqour Comission.

  4. CENTRALIAN ADVOCATE | Grog rehab bed shortage

    CENTRALIAN ADVOCATE | Grog rehab bed shortage

    Date

    Professor James Smith from the Menzies School of Health Research said investing more in brief interventions would save a great deal of money.

  5. NT News | NT Rehab beds short

    NT News | NT Rehab beds short

    Date

    There is a significant unmet demand for alcohol -related treatment in the Territory a new study has found.

  6. One in every 33 people in Northern Territory seeks treatment for alcohol problems

    One in every 33 people in Northern Territory seeks treatment for alcohol problems

    Date

    Menzies researcher Professor James Smith, said the study highlighted a gap between met and unmet demands for treatment services.

  7. Thousands of Territorians are accessing alcohol treatment

    Thousands of Territorians are accessing alcohol treatment

    Date

    Researchers have found there were 42,871 episodes/encounters for alcohol treatment in NT in 2016/17.

  8. Demand Study for Alcohol Treatment Services in the NT

    Demand Study for Alcohol Treatment Services in the NT

    Date

    The study was jointly led by Menzies and the University of New South Wales, in partnership with the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT (AMSANT).

  9. drinktank | Understanding the harm of alcohol consumption

    drinktank | Understanding the harm of alcohol consumption

    Date

    On Drink Tank today, Professor James Smith from the Menzies School of Health Research looks at a couple of the major policies adopted by the government which were influential in securing this award for the Territory.

  10. The social and economic costs and harms of alcohol consumption

    The social and economic costs and harms of alcohol consumption

    Date

    This report presents an overview of the social and economic costs and harms of alcohol consumption in the Northern Territory (NT).

  11. Counting the social, economic costs of alcohol harm

    Counting the social, economic costs of alcohol harm

    Date

    ABC Kimberley | The costs and harm of alcohol consumption have been analysed by Menzies School of Health in the Northern Territory.

  12. Counting the social, economic costs of alcohol harm

    Counting the social, economic costs of alcohol harm

    Date

    ABC Kimberley | The costs and harm of alcohol consumption have been analysed by Menzies School of Health in the Northern Territory.

  13. Curious Darwin: Do Darwin residents really drink more than other Aussies

    Curious Darwin: Do Darwin residents really drink more than other Aussies

    Date

    A report released this month by the Menzies School of Health Research shows that the NT does indeed have the highest rates of alcohol consumption per capita in Australia.

  14. According to NT government, their alcohol reforms are working

    According to NT government, their alcohol reforms are working

    Date

    The social and economic cost of alcohol-related harm in the NT has increased according to research released by the Menzies School of Health Research.

  15. Mix 104.9 Katie Wolf with Professor James Smith

    Mix 104.9 Katie Wolf with Professor James Smith

    Date

    Social and Economic Costs and Harms of Alcohol Consumption in the Northern Territory.

  16. NT govt claims grog reforms are working

    NT govt claims grog reforms are working

    Date

    The social and economic cost of alcohol-related harm in the NT had increased from $642 million in 2009 to $1.38 billion per year, research released on Thursday by the Menzies School of Health Research said.

  17. Katherine goes against the trend on alcohol harm

    Katherine goes against the trend on alcohol harm

    Date

    Further, research conducted by the Menzies School of Health Research shows the social and economic cost of alcohol-related harm in the NT has increased from $642 million in 2009 to $1.38 billion per year.

  18. Health survey of male Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in the NT

    Health survey of male Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in the NT

    Date

    The Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Gambling (AODG) Unit at Menzies School of Health Research is leading a research project relating to Health Literacy Among Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Males in the NT.

  19. More banned drinkers busted trying to buy grog in Katherine than anywhere else

    More banned drinkers busted trying to buy grog in Katherine than anywhere else

    Date

    The independent evaluation overseen by Menzies School of Health Research points to a reduction in the supply of alcohol to problem drinkers and reductions for individuals whose alcohol related behaviour was causing repeat offending.

  20. ‘Backlash’: Northern Territory alcohol floor price divides community

    ‘Backlash’: Northern Territory alcohol floor price divides community

    Date

    This is how it’s always been in the Territory – a “dualistic framing” – according to Peter d’Abbs, the professor of substance misuse studies at the Menzies School of Health Research.

  21. 'Long-grassers' admit easy access to grog despite reintroduction of banned drinker register

    'Long-grassers' admit easy access to grog despite reintroduction of banned drinker register

    Date

    A six-month review of the BDR conducted by the Menzies School of Health Research showed it was having an impact, but was not intended to work effectively in isolation.

  22. NT News | Data is lacking in BDR

    NT News | Data is lacking in BDR

    Date

    The banned drinker register turns one tomorrow, but the NT Government is yet to begin to collect hospital data to evaluate its success.

  23. NT Government media release | Evaluation of BDR

    NT Government media release | Evaluation of BDR

    Date

    Safer Communities and Generational Change: Alcohol Reform Progress Update Report and BDR Evaluation Response

  24. Katherine Times | Alcohol reforms rolled out, BDR on track

    Katherine Times | Alcohol reforms rolled out, BDR on track

    Date

    The BDR Evaluation covers the first 6 months of operation and was conducted independently by Menzies School of Health Research and released in June 2018.

  25. ABC Radio Alice Springs | Professor Peter d'Abbs

    ABC Radio Alice Springs | Professor Peter d'Abbs

    Date

    Professor Peter d'Abbs -Professor of substance misuse studies, licensed clubs in remote communities history and possibilities.

  26. NT Government | Evaluation Shows BDR Working to Cut Supply of Alcohol to Problem Drinkers

    Date

    Menzies School of Health Research has provided independent oversight of the 6-month process evaluation of the implementation of the BDR.

  27. BDR is working, Govt says

    BDR is working, Govt says

    Date

    Minister Fyles said Menzies School of Health Research has provided independent oversight, and that report is now available online for all Territorians to read.

  28. Hospitalizations spike as booze bill hits hard | NT News

    Hospitalizations spike as booze bill hits hard | NT News

    Date

    Professor James Smith comments on government policy, hospital data and harm-minimisation strategies.

  29. EXPERT REACTION: NT to be first jurisdiction in Australia with minimum floor price on alcohol

    EXPERT REACTION: NT to be first jurisdiction in Australia with minimum floor price on alcohol

    Date

    The Northern Territory will become the first Australian jurisdiction to put a floor price on alcohol. The NT Government says that it would implement a minimum $1.30 floor price per standard drink for all alcoholic beverages. Aussie experts react to the story

  30. Alcohol harm minimisation investments welcomed by leading NT research institute

    Alcohol harm minimisation investments welcomed by leading NT research institute

    Date

    Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) has welcomed the investment in alcohol harm minimisation strategies released today by the Northern Territory Government in The Northern Territory Alcohol Harm Minimisation Action Plan 2018-19.

  31. Dr John Boffa: reviewing NT alcohol policies

    Dr John Boffa: reviewing NT alcohol policies

    Date

    Policies that raise the price of the cheapest alcoholic beverages are effective in reducing consumption and, it follows, alcohol-related harm, such as injury, illness and violent offending, writes Dr John Boffa­

  32. Rivers of grog could run dry - Centralian Advocate

    Rivers of grog could run dry - Centralian Advocate

    Date

    Centralian Advocate, Alice Springs NT by John Boffa. The Expert Advisory Panel that reviewed the NT's alcohol policies and legislation is to be congratulated on a great job.

  33. Koori Mail | Liquor permit schemes in the spotlight

    Date

    LIQUOR permit schemes in the Northern Territory can be made easier to implement and more accountable to local communities, an NT Government commissioned report has found.

  34. Report urges simpler liquor permit management in communities

    Date

    Liquor permit schemes in the Northern Territory (NT) can be made easier to implement and more accountable to local communities, a NT Government-commissioned report has found.

  35. Seminar to debunk myths on alcohol and pregnancy

    Seminar to debunk myths on alcohol and pregnancy

    Date

    A seminar to inform stakeholders and the media about the prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) will be hosted tomorrow Tuesday, 20 May by the Menzies School of Health Research.

  36. SBS World News: Do banned drinkers' registers work?

    SBS World News: Do banned drinkers' registers work?

    Date

    The Federal and NT governments have been duelling with conflicting claims over whether an alcohol control measure was working and should be reinstated, or whether it was right to be axed.

  37. Study probes answers to memory loss for problem drinkers

    Study probes answers to memory loss for problem drinkers

    Date

    Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) have announced a new project which could have global implications for preventing memory loss and other neurological problems for problem drinkers.