About Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit

Assessing the degree of substance use and abuse in South Africa

The aim of the SAMRC’s Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit is to increase knowledge in order to propose policies to decision-makers and make recommendations to reduce alcohol, tobacco and other drug use (ATOD) in South Africa. Through the Unit’s research, which identifies ATOD trends and the most effective interventions, it intends to reduce the impact of substance abuse on individuals and their communities.  

Key focus areas

  • The extent of ATOD use in South Africa;
  • The consequences of ATOD use;
  • Trends in ATOD use over time;
  • Identifying high-risk groups;
  • Determining short- and long-term risk and prevention factors;
  • Designing and evaluating interventions;
  • Implementing research findings by supporting advocacy efforts and sharing knowledge that will allow policy makers, service providers and community representatives to make informed decisions; and
  • Constantly improving assessment methods.
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