Addiction research

Our research focuses on the patterns and health consequences of addiction.

 Key themes are:-

  • Epidemiology and prevention of consequences of heroin and injecting drug use – including modelling and assessing risk of Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B and HIV (Infection and Immunity);  assessing natural history and mortality risk through analysis of Edinburgh Addiction Cohort and record linkage with other administrative cohorts; and Multiple Parameter Evidence Synthesis  of drug related crime.

Our work also contributes to two MRC Addiction Research Clusters.


Academics working in this area include:Jon Heron, Matt Hickman, Hayley Jones, John Macleod, Natasha Martin, Peter Vickerman

PhD Students: Alex Stiby, Suzi Gage, Michelle Taylor

Selected current grants

  • Hickman M, Macleod J, Tilling K, Vickerman P, Strang L, Millar T, Marsden J, Coleman B, Stringer K. HS&DR Project: 12/136/105 - Evaluating the impact of opiate substitution treatment on drug related deaths in the population: a natural experiment using primary care, other drug treatment databases & model projection. £245,488. 2014-15
  • Hickman, M & Irving, W :- Thomson B, Gore C, Foster G, Macleod J, Ramsay M, Ryder S, Harris M, Rhodes T, Vickerman P, Martin N, Coleman B, Montgomery A.  DoH PRP:- Evaluation of interventions designed to increase diagnosis and treatment of patients with hepatitis C virus infection in primary care and drug treatment settings [PR-R5-0912-13002 & 13001]  2014-18 £1,130,886
  • Vickerman P & Platt L, Hickman M. Project: 12/3070/13 - Assessing the impact and cost-effectiveness of needle/syringe provision on hepatitis C transmission among people who inject drugs: an analysis of pooled datasets and economic modelling. NIHR £282,000
  • Hickman, M., Davey Smith, G., Day, I.N.M., Lewis, G., Macleod, J., Munafò, M.R., Sterne, J.A.C., Tilling, K., Heron, N., Timpson, N. ALSPAC and adolescent substance use trajectories: Consolidation of a UK research resource. Medical Research Council (2009-2011), Project Grant G0802736, £191,129
  • Robertson R, Hickman M, Macleod J.  Edinburgh Addiction Cohort – study of life course of injecting drug use.  CSO.  2005-7.  £200,000

Selected publications

  • Martin N, Hickman M, Hutchinson S, Goldberg D, Vickerman P. Combination interventions to prevent HCV transmission among people who inject drugs: modelling the impact of antiviral treatment, needle and syringe programmes, and opiate substitution therapy. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2013 57 Suppl 2:S39-S45
  • MacArthur GJ, Minozzi S, Martin NK, Vickerman P, Deren S, Bruneau J, Degenhardt L, Hickman M. Opiate substitution treatment and HIV transmission in people who inject drugs: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2012;345:e5945. doi: 10.1136/bmj.e5945
  • Heron J, Macleod J, Munafò MR, Melotti R, Lewis G, Tilling K, Hickman M. Patterns of alcohol use in early adolescence predict problem use at age 16. Alcohol Alcohol. 2012;47(2):169-77
  • Cornish R, Macleod J, Strang J, Vickerman P, Hickman M Risk of death during and after opiate substitution therapy in primary care: a prospective observational study in the UK General Practice Research Database. BMJ 2010;341:c5475
  • Kimber J, Copeland L, Hickman M, Macleod J, McKenzie J, Angelis D, Robertson J. Survival and cessation in injecting opiate users, a prospective observational study of outcomes and the effect of opiate substitute treatment BMJ 2010;341:c3172
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