Located within the Centre for Criminology at the University of South Wales, the Substance Use Research Group (SURG) was formed in 2019 to conduct high-quality research into the use of drugs and alcohol. Led by Professor Katy Holloway, the group is made of academic researchers (including Emeritus Professor Trevor Bennett, Professor Ali Wardak, Dr Tom May, Dr Marian Buhociu and Sharmila Kumar) with expertise in current and emerging issues in substance use, such as: harm reduction interventions, drug production and supply, criminal justice responses, substance use among university students, ‘treatment-resistant’ heroin users, and the implementation of substance misuse policy.
SURG members enjoy strong collaborative relationships with a wide range of staff working in the substance misuse field in Wales. This includes academic colleagues in other institutions as well as professional colleagues working in Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and third sector organisations. SURG members provide research support and advice to the DIGDDAS consortium (Dyfodol, Iris, Gwent, Dyfed - Drug and Alcohol Service) and sit on Welsh Government’s National Implementation Board for Drug Poisoning Prevention. They are working alongside Kaleidoscope staff in supervising a KESS-funded PhD student (Sharmila Kumar) and collaborating with Barod staff in developing and evaluating a bespoke substance misuse information, advice and support service for university students.
The group has a lengthy track record of securing internal and external funding for substance misuse research from the Home Office, Ministry of Justice, Welsh Government, South Wales Police Crime and Commissioner, and from third sector treatment providers. Their research has generated a range of high quality publications including books, journal articles and official reports that have helped develop the evidence base on a range of substance use issues.
SURG members are currently engaged in a range of externally funded projects. These include studies investigating: how to improve the outcomes of treatment resistant heroin users, the (predicted and actual) impact of minimum pricing for alcohol on drinkers and their families in Wales, and the misuse of over-the-counter and prescription-only medication (including opioid substitution treatment). SURG members are also investigating substance misuse and related behaviours among university students as part of the Higher Education Alcohol and Drugs (HEADS) programme.
Dr Wulf Livingston
Reader in Social Science Glyndwr University
Training Coordinator - Barod
Clinical Keyworker - GDAS