BA (Hons), MA (Clin Psych), PhD

Health Sciences

Professor Alison Ritter AO is a leading international authority on illicit drug policy research (e.g. United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime Expert Advisory Group Member; Past President of International Society for the Study of Drug Policy). She is at the centre of policy advice in Australia at both a state and federal government level, evidencing both the academic excellence and direct policy relevance of her work, which is aimed at reducing the significant health and social harms of illicit drug use.

Professor Ritter conceived and established the Drug Policy Modelling Program (DPMP) – Australia’s only dedicated drug policy research program – which is at the cutting edge of generating new research data to inform policy; translating research into useable information for policy makers and studying policy processes. Multi-disciplinary, international collaborations are a key feature of her work, including across public health, political science, public policy, sociology, criminology, and economics. Her international collaborations span Europe, the USA and Australia.

Professor Ritter’s research has had major translational impact. For example, using advanced modelling techniques, she developed the first and only estimates of unmet demand for alcohol and drug treatment (2014), which formed part of a larger commissioned review of the role of the Commonwealth in alcohol and drug treatment (funding, planning, purchasing and accountability) which she led.

Professor Ritter routinely provides expert evidence to parliamentary inquiries and is invited to brief ministers, politicians and senior bureaucrats, including on medicinal cannabis regulation, the decriminalisation of the personal use of drugs, and treatment service systems. Across many years, her expert evidence and research findings have been influential in shaping government responses to illicit drugs.

Professor Ritter has an outstanding record of research grant funding, receiving >$29 million in research funds and is the first listed/lead investigator on 61% of all her grants. She has obtained multiple Category 1 grants (>$9.5 million), plus >$8 million government commissioned research (Category 2), and $8 million from philanthropy.

Her extensive publications track record includes more than 150 peer reviewed scholarly journal articles, 2 edited books, a sole authored book (Drug Policy, Routledge), 25 book chapters, and over 100 technical reports. Her work has been cited more than 5,500 times (H Index 40) [Google Scholar, 26/10/20].

2006 to current - Professor Director, Drug Policy Modelling Program

2013 to 2018 - Deputy Director, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC)

2009 to 2011 - Acting Director, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC)

1998 to 2005 - Head of Research, Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre

1994 to 2005 - Deputy Director, Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre

1993 to 1995 - Senior Policy Officer, Victorian Department of Human Services

1987 to 1993 - Clinical Psychologist, Victorian Alcohol and Drug Services

2020 Order of Australia (AO)

2016 Mentor Award, Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and Other Drugs

2012 Senior Scientist Award, Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs

2009 Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Community Impact Award

2008 National Drug and Alcohol Awards, Excellence in Research Finalist. Drug Policy Modelling Program Stage One

2001 Victorian Public Health Award for Excellence in Public Health Research. New Pharmacotherapies Program

President, International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (2011 - 2015)

Vice President, Alcohol and Drug Council of Australia (from 2011 to 2019)

President, Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol & Drugs (from 2007-2011)

Member, International Society for Addiction Journal Editors (from 2021 to current)

Member, International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (2006 to current)

Member, Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and Drugs (2000 to current)

Member Academy of Experimental Criminology (2006-2009)

Member, College of Problems on Drug Dependence (CPDD) (2004 to 2020)

Member, Alcohol and Drugs Council of Australia (from 2000 to 2019)

Registration, Clinical Psychologist, Psychologists Registration Board Victoria (from 1998 to 2006)

Member, Australian Psychological Society (from 1998 to 2009)

Member Board of Clinical Psychologist, Australian Psychological Society (from 1988 to 2009)

  1. Ritter, A. (2022) Drug Policy. London: Routledge
  2. Ritter, A. van de Ven, K., Vuong T., Chalmers, J., Dobbins, T., Livingston, M. & Berends, L. (2021). Are market mechanisms associated with alcohol and other drug treatment outcomes? Addiction
  3. Ritter, A. (2020) Making drug policy in summer – Drug checking in Australia as providing more heat than light. Drug and Alcohol Review, 39, 12-20
  4. Ritter, A., Mellor, R., Chalmers, J., Sunderland, M. & Lancaster, K. (2019) Key considerations in planning for substance use treatment: Estimating treatment need and demand. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 18, 22-30
  5. Ritter, A., Lancaster, K. & Diprose, R. (2018). Improving drug policy: the potential of broader democratic participation. International Journal of Drug Policy, 55, 1-7