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In addressing issues around alcohol and drugs from a public health perspective, the Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit has engaged in a number of research projects which assess current policies, identify issues for policy change, and consider the kinds of policies which have been effective in comparable countries.

Much recent policy research has related to the implementation of the Sale of Liquor Act 1989. Legislative control over the sale and supply of alcohol has important consequences for the health of individuals and the community as a whole, and the 1989 Act embodied some radical changes in policy direction, as well as new opportunities for the promotion of healthier drinking environments. In the first years under the Act, the Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit conducted formative evaluation of community health activities in this area. The Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit's policy research aims to contribute to a legislative review currently being conducted and to future legislation amendment.

The Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit has also conducted, and recently updated, policy research on cannabis, the illegal drug most used by New Zealanders.

On the basis of research knowledge about alcohol and other drugs as public health issues, the Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit has a role in responding to public debate.  

An important focus has been on regulation of the sale of alcohol:

APHRU has also looked at options for cannabis policy in New Zealand:

Other policy work by the Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit includes the following:

The Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit is now embarking on a programme of research which brings together concerns about young people's drinking and drug use, highlighted by recent surveys, with community based health promotion strategies and methodologies. The  first stage in this involves some background research on the role of local government.  This aims to explore the intersection of local government interests and public health interests.

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