The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW Sydney congratulates Scientia Professor Louisa Degenhardt, Professor Richard Mattick and Clinical Associate Professor Robert Ali on their inclusion in the King’s Birthday 2023 Honours List.

Scientia Professor Louisa Degenhardt was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to medical research, particularly addiction and mental disorders, to psychology, and to professional associations.

Scientia Professor Degenhardt is Deputy Director of NDARC, and Scientia Professor and Professor of Epidemiology at UNSW Sydney. 

She is internationally recognised for her leading research on the epidemiology of illicit drug use, morbidity and mortality focusing on people with extra-medical or dependent opioid use or chronic pain. 

“My vision is to significantly increase the evidence around the epidemiology of illicit drug use and interventions that may reduce harm,” Scientia Professor Degenhardt said. 

Scientia Professor Degenhardt’s work on opioid dependence regularly informs policy within the Australian Government and national and international health agencies.

She has been a Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, and was the only Australian to feature in the top 100 female researchers in the world in 2022.

Professor Richard Mattick was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to drug and alcohol research through education and social policy, and to medical organisations.

Professor Mattick is Honorary Professor at NDARC and a Professor of Brain Sciences at UNSW Sydney. He served as NDARC’s Executive Director between 2001 and 2009. 

Professor Mattick coordinated the federally funded National Evaluation of Pharmacotherapies for Opioid Dependence, studying 1,500 opioid dependent patients to assess the impact of naltrexone, methadone, buprenorphine, and LAAM.

He has been a member of the International Narcotics Control Board, United Nations, Vienna, Austria since 2015 and has authored more than 300 articles, research papers, book chapters and monographs.

Clinical Associate Professor Robert Ali was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to medical and health research, particularly drug and alcohol dependence, and to education and training.

Clinical Associate Professor Ali is a Visiting Research Fellow at NDARC and a Senior Research Fellow and Clinical Associate Professor, Discipline of Pharmacology at the University of Adelaide. 

Clinical Associate Professor Ali introduced needle exchange programs into South Australia, which avoided a HIV epidemic in the state among injecting drug users. He also introduced drug addiction counselling and enabled methadone treatment in Vietnam.

“I want to contribute to reform processes across the health system and recognise people’s human rights,” Clinical Associate Professor Ali said.

NDARC’s Director, Professor Michael Farrell said the three recipients are highly deserving of their awards. 

“Scientia Professor Degenhardt, Professor Mattick and Clinical Associate Professor Ali have made significant contributions to their fields both in Australia and internationally,” Professor Farrell said.

“Their inclusion in the King’s Birthday 2023 Honours List is testament to their dedication and the direct relevence of their work to policy makers, clinicians and the community.

“I am incredibly proud of my distinguished colleagues and congratulate them on their well-deserved awards.”