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Professor Alison Ritter


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Professor Alison Ritter, AO is an internationally recognised drug policy scholar and the Director of the Drug Policy Modelling Program (DPMP) at the University of New South Wales. She is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow leading a multi-disciplinary program of research on drug policy. The goal of the work is to advance drug policy through improving the evidence-base, translating research and studying policy processes. Her research work has focussed on many aspects of drug policy, including research on drug laws (eg: decriminalisation models, threshold quantities), drug treatment (eg: funding systems, unmet demand for treatment, treatment planning), models and methods of democratic participation in drug policy; and research focussed on policy process (eg: policy stasis and policy change). Her work is supported by grants from competitive research funding bodies (NHMRC, ARC) as well as commissioned research from governments across Australia.

Professor Ritter worked as a clinical psychologist in the alcohol and drug treatment sector prior to commencing full-time research. She has contributed significant policy and practice developments across alcohol and drug policy over many years. She is past President of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy, and Editor in Chief for the International Journal of Drug Policy.  

Professor Ritter has an extensive research grant track record ($31m). She has published widely in the field including two edited books; multiple book chapters and more than 200 other publications.

University role: 

Research grants include:

  • Designing illicit drug policy solutions: the role of participation ARC DP (DP200100909)
  • Drug and Alcohol Services Planning Model (DASPM)
  • Alcohol and other drug treatment funding, purchasing and workforce: empirical analyses to inform policy - NHMRC project grant (APP1128100)
  • The value of providing health interventions for heroin use: a cost benefit analysis - NHMRC Project Grant (APP1042923)
  • The science-policy interface in policy theories: a comparative case study of street-level policing for illicit drugs - ARC DP (DP140100219)
  • The deterrence effects of Australian drug law enforcement - ARC DP (DP150100910)
  • The social cost of smoking in NSW - NSW Ministry of Health
  • Evaluation of the Involuntary Drug Alcohol Treatment Program - NSW Ministry of Health
  • Reducing stigma and discrimination for people experiencing problematic alcohol and other drug use - Queensland Mental Health Commission
  • Drugs on the darknet: Assessing the global health risks of a rapidly expanding market - NHMRC Project grant (APP1122200)
drug policy
health policy
social policy
Research activities: 

Professor Ritter conducts research on alcohol and drug policy including:

- treatment planning and service systems;

- drug laws and policing;

- participation in drug policy;

- policy process studies.

Selected Research Projects:

  • Designing illicit drug policy solutions: the role of participation
  • Drug and Alcohol Services Planning Model (DASPM)
  • COVID-19 impacts: alcohol consumption; NGO treatment services
  • Development of the National Alcohol and Drug Treatment Framework
  • The science-policy interface in policy theories: A comparative case study of street level policing for illicit drugs
  • Policy making processes
Socio-economic Objective (SEO) tags: 
Substance Abuse
Public Services Policy Advice and Analysis
Teaching & Supervision
I am available to supervise: 

Areas of HDR supervision:
Improving drug policy processes through participation
Treatment service system: alcohol and other drug treatment purchasing, planning and funding
Compulsory drug treatment
Studying policy processes