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Tobacco, excessive alcohol use, problematic illicit drug use and problem gambling are ‘dangerous consumptions’ that have a significant negative emotional and financial impact on individuals, their families/whanau and the community. Many individuals engage in more than one type of dangerous consumption. The Addiction Research theme investigates innovative, but practical, solutions to reducing these health risks, particularly focusing on priority population groups. Studies test the effectiveness of novel delivery systems, variations in the delivery of standard treatments, or novel treatments, and often utilise the pragmatic community-based trial design to ensure generalisability of the findings to the ‘real world’. 

Current research highlights

SPGeTTI- A Gambling Harm Reduction Study

The goal of this research is to explore and test if using the SPGeTTI app can help participants stop or reduce the gambling harms being experienced. 
SPGeTTI is designed to deliver a package of tailored support messages and information to anyone who is, or thinks they may be, experiencing harms from gambling.

For more information about the study go to the SPGeTTI website or email the researchers at

This project has ethical approval and is funded by the Ministry of Health


There are 5 inter-related phases in the SPGeTTI Phase II project. The five phases are below, and we are now in the fifth and final phase- evaluating effectiveness. 

- Estimating smartphone ownership and patterns of use among people with problem gambling. 
- Estimating likely recruitment, retention and sample size for the trial.
- Developing content, features and functions.
- Testing content, features and functions for face validity and acceptability, technical refinement and testing.
- Evaluating its effectiveness.

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RAUORA is a single-blind, randomised, non-inferiority randomised controlled trial examining the effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of cytisine (Tabex®) compared to varenicline (Champix®) for smoking cessation in Māori and whānau of Māori. The trial is led by Associate Professor Natalie Walker and is a collaboration with the School of Pharmacy, University of Auckland, Brunel University London, and the Lakes District Health Board. The trial is aiming to enrol 2,140 participant who are daily smokers (≥18 years), live in the Lakes District Health Board region of NZ, self-identify as Māori or whānau of Māori, are motivated to quit, and are eligible for subsidised varenicline under special authority conditions. The trial is funded by a three-year grant from the Health Research Council of NZ.

For more information see the study website




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NZ Step Away trial

A randomised-controlled clinical trial investigating whether six-months assess to the ‘NZ Step Away’ app can reduce the frequency of alcohol abuse and increase engagement with substance abuse related health services by hazardous drinkers.

This feasibility project is funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand and was designed in collaboration with external investigators Dr Suzanna Galea-Singer (Waitemata DHB) and Professor Patrick Dulin (University of Alaska Anchorage). The study will finish in December 20198

For more information contact Associate Professor Natalie Walker (Principal Investigator)


A randomised-controlled clinical trial designed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of an adaptive treatment for smoking cessation in people with mental health problems and addictions.

The project is funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand and was designed in collaboration with external investigators Dr George Laking, Dr Susanna Galea and Dr David Newcombe.

For more information contact Professor Chris Bullen (Principal Investigator) or visit the study website

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Previous Research Highlights


This study was NIHI's original text message smoking cessation intervention and was tested in a national RCT in 2002. A Māori version of the text message programme was developed by Māori co-investigators and offered to Māori participants. The trial found that those participants receiving STOMP were twice as likely to quit as those in the control group. STOMP was shown to be as effective for Māori participants as for non-Māori participants.