The Brain Disease Model of Addiction: Assessing its validity, utility and implications for public policy towards the treatment and prevention of addiction Event as iCalendar


09 March 2015

4 - 5pm

Venue: Function Room 730–220, Building 730, Tāmaki Innovation Campus

Location: 261 Morrin Road, Glen Innes, Auckland

Host: The Centre for Addiction Research and The Centre for Brain Research

Contact info: David Newcombe

Contact email:

Wayne Hall Cropped)

Genetic and neuroscience research on addiction has been interpreted by leading figures in the USA as demonstrating that addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease. On this model, enduring changes in brain function are produced by sustained heavy drug use and these explain the inability of addicted persons to refrain from using drugs, despite their professed intention to do so. The brain disease model contrasts starkly with the common-sense view that drug use is a free choice for which individual drug users are responsible.

This paper assesses the evidence and arguments offered in favour of the brain disease model of addiction; assesses the arguments advanced by critics of the model; and considers the social and ethical implications of these views in dealing with addicted persons and in formulating public health policies to prevent the harmful use of and addiction to alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs.

Professor Wayne Hall is the Director of the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research at the University of Queensland. He has advised the World Health Organization on the health effects of cannabis use; the effectiveness of drug substitution treatment; the scientific quality of the Swiss heroin trials; the contribution of illicit drug use to the global burden of disease; and the ethical implications of genetic and neuroscience research on addiction.

The seminar will be followed by light refreshments


Please RSVP to: Billy Choy |