Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Drugs research

My main economic work interest recently has been on drug abuse issues because I have a Large ARC Grant, Harm Minimisation and the Economics of Controlling Illicit Drug Use to do this. This involves studying addiction from the perspective of economics. In conjunction with Professor Peter Bardsley at University of Melbourne I have initiated research into problem gambling, heroin and opiate addiction, alcohol abuse and self-control issues in relation to calorie intake (obesity rsearch).

Svetlana Danilkina and I are doing theoretical work on the Becker-Murphy rational addiction model.

Lee Smith and I are preparing a database on illicit drug use in Australia and have prepared a study on the 2001 Australian heroin drought.

Samantha Farmakis is doing very good work on obesity and self-control issues.

Cecily McKeown is starting a PhD on the economics and public health implications of grog. (Joint with Prof Swerisson, Acting Dean of Health Sciences at La Trobe). She is a very experienced person in the public health field with much experience on alcohol and illegally obtained prescription drugs.

I am getting a bit obsessed with the literature on self-control problems and the way people form 'personal rules' to deal with such. External commitment devices have been understood for years (telling people you will give up smoking so you lose face if you give in and smoke) but internal devices are more realistic and important. When do you not consume an addictive substance purely because it will send a bad signal regarding your future consumption. I have been studying computational complex and simple addiction processes as means of motivating commitments and personal rules.

Generally our webpage and some papers on it can be viewed at


I should get a list of drug research projects to link with my blogsite. Next week!

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