Drug Policy Modelling Program

The Drug Policy Modelling Program (DPMP) aims to improve alcohol and drug policy. Drug policy, drug use and drug harms are dynamic: DPMP does not have a set view of what drug policy should be – rather the key goal is to help generate effective drug policy based on the best research findings.

The goal of the DPMP is to create valuable new drug policy insights, ideas and interventions that will allow governments to respond with alacrity and success to drug-related problems. We do this through generating new research evidence which is timely and relevant to current drug policy issues; translating research findings into meaningful information to assist policy decision-makers, and studying policy processes.

DPMP is at the cutting edge of international work in alcohol and drug policy and received its core funding (2004 to 2012) from the Colonial Foundation Trust, a private Australian philanthropy. DPMP attracts competitive research grants from the Australian Research Council and the National Health & Medical Research Council, among others. DPMP is part of the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW with strong collaborations with the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC). DPMP collaborates with a wide range of stakeholders including government departments, drug consumer groups and peak bodies; and conducts commissioned research for governments across Australia

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For more information about DPMP see:

Ritter, A., Bammer, G., Hamilton, M., Mazerolle, L., & the DPMP team. (2007). Effective drug policy: A new approach demonstrated in the Drug Policy Modelling Program. Drug and Alcohol Review, 26(3), 265-271. https://doi.org/10.1080/09595230701247665

Goals of the DPMP

Goals of the DPMP are to:

  • build systems and approaches to enhance evidence-informed illicit drugs policy;
  • develop and adapt new tools and methods for policy makers;
  • show the value of these tools by dealing with specific problems raised by policy makers;
  • generate new ideas and insights that can lead to new policy;
  • conduct rigorous research that provides independent, balanced and non-partisan analysis and improves the quality of the evidence; and 
  • evaluate the effectiveness of the tools, methods, policy support and new interventions.

DPMP aims to achieve its goals through three key activities:

  1. generating new research evidence;
  2. translating evidence for policy makers; and
  3. studying how policy actually gets made.

All work is underpinned by a focus on capacity-building: encouraging researchers from other areas to work in the alcohol and drugs domain; providing consultancy and support to policy makers to improve their use of research evidence; providing a vigorous doctoral and postdoctoral research program; working in partnership with existing drug research centres and teams; bringing international expertise to Australia; and disseminating our work to researchers, policy makers and the public. 


Our team spans Complex Systems Science, Criminology, Economics, Epidemiology, Integration and Implementation Sciences, Law, Medicine, Political Science, Psychology, Public Health, Public Policy, Sociology and Systems Thinking. We aim to facilitate new drug policy insights, ideas and interventions that would not have been possible or apparent through the study of one aspect, or from one disciplinary perspective. Our interdisciplinary approach reflects the richness and complexity of the real world of drug use and drug policy.