Substance Use and Addictive Behaviours

Through our research, we aim to develop and conduct research that results in a better service for people who experience problematic substance use.

We are an exciting and creative group comprising Manchester Met academics from a range of disciplines, as well as community partners and associates from policy and practice around the UK and internationally.

The overall purpose of SUAB is to develop and conduct research and related activities that ultimately result in a better service for people who experience problematic substance use.

We aim to achieve this through the production of high quality research, ensuring this is disseminated and applied to policy and practice.

Our Members Publications Our Research Contact Us

SUAB European LTR Conference

28 March 2019, Innside Manchester

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Our group’s activities include:


Books and book chapters

  • Aldridge, J., Medina-Ariza, J. and Ralphs, R. (2012) ‘Counting Gangs: Conceptual and validity problems   with the Eurogang definition’ chapter in ‘Youth Gangs in International Perspective: Results from the Eurogang program of research’ edited by Esbensen, F. and Maxson, C. US: Springer.
  • Aldridge, J., Ralphs, R. and Medina-Ariza, J. (2013) ‘Gang transformation, changes or demise: evidence from an English city’. In The Modern Gang Reader, (4th Edition) edited by Maxson, C., Arlen, E., Miller, J. and Klein, M.   Oxford University Press. USA.
  • Galvani, S. (2012) Supporting People with Alcohol and Drug Problems. Social Work in Practice series. Bristol: Policy Press.
  • Galvani, S. (2013) ‘Alcohol or drug problems’. In: M. Davies (ed.) The Blackwell Companion to Social Work. (4th edition). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing
  • Galvani, S. and Thurnham, A. (2012) ‘Social Policy and Substance Use.’ In: M. Davies (ed.) Social Work with Adults, London: Routledge
  • Galvani, S. and Toft, C. (2015) ‘Friend or foe: domestic violence and women’s use of alcohol.’ In: P. Staddon (ed.) Women’s alcohol issues: sociological perspectives. Bristol: Policy Press
  • Galvani, S. and Wadd, S. (2012) ‘Working with people who use substances.’ In: M. Davies (ed.) (2012) Social Work with Adults, London: Routledge with S.Wadd
  • Livingston, W. and Galvani, S. (2014) ‘Using Evidence to Inform Working with People who Use Substances’. In: M. Webber Applying evidence in social work practice. London: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Ralphs, R., Aldridge, J. and J. Medina-Ariza (2013) ‘Who needs enemies with friends like these?: The importance of place for young people living in known gang areas’ In The Modern Gang Reader, (4th Edition) edited by Maxson, C., Arlen, E., Miller, J. and Klein, M.   Oxford University Press. USA.
  • Ralphs, R., and Smithson, H. (2015). European Responses to Gangs. The Handbook of Gangs, 520-537. West Sussex. Wiley Blackwell Press.
  • Seddon, T., Williams, L. and Ralphs, R. (2012) Tough Choices: Risk, Security and the Criminalization of Drug Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Peer reviewed articles - Social and community focus

  • Ashby, J., and Horrocks, C. (2013) ‘Coercive treatment for alcohol misuse: an interactive and relational analysis’ British Journal of Community Justice, 10 (3): 23-29.
  • Ashby, J., Horrocks, C. and Kelly, N. (2011) ‘Delivering the Alcohol Treatment Requirement: assessing the outcomes and impact of coercive treatment for alcohol misuse’. Probation, Vol. 58:1, pp. 52-67.
  • Cox, N., Clayson, A. & Webb, L. (in press). A safe place to reflect on the meaning of recovery: A recovery community co-productive approach using multimedia interviewing technology. Accepted by Drug & Alcohol Today.
  • Cox, N. & Webb, L. (2015) Poles apart: does the export of mental health expertise from the Global North to the Global South represent a neutral relocation of knowledge and practice? Sociology of Health & Illness. 0 No. 0 2015 ISSN 0141-9889, pp. 1–15 doi: 10.1111/1467-9566.12230
  • Dance, C. and Galvani, S. (2014) ‘Substance use and disabilities: experiences of adults’ social care professionals and the implications for education and training.’ Social Work Education: The International Journal – Special Issue, 2014, 33 (5) 670-685.
  • Dance, C., Galvani, S. and Hutchinson, A. (2014) ‘The extent and nature of practitioners’ encounters with alcohol and other drug use in social work and social care practice.’ Social Work Education: The International Journal – Special Issue, 2014, 33 (5), 557-572.
  • Galvani, S. (2015) ‘“Drugs and relationships don’t work”: children’s and young people’s views of substance use and intimate relationships.’ Child Abuse Review, 24 (6), 440–451. DOI: 10.1002/car.229
  • Galvani, S. (forthcoming) ‘Responding to child-to-parent violence: the experiences of family support group providers.’ Journal of Substance Use.
  • Galvani, S. and Allnock, D. (2014) ‘The nature and extent of substance use education in qualifying social work programmes in England’. Social Work Education: The International Journal – Special Issue, 2014, 33 (5), 573-589.
  • Galvani, S. and Manders, G. (2015) ‘Learning from the research process: discussing sensitive topics as a cultural outsider.’ Social Work Education: The International Journal
  • Galvani, S., Hutchinson, A. and Dance, C. (2013) ‘Identifying and assessing substance use: findings from a national survey of social work and social care professionals.’ British Journal of Social Work, 44 (7), 1895-1913.
  • Galvani, S., Hutchinson, A. and Dance, C. (2013) ‘Substance use training experiences and needs: findings from a national survey of social care professionals in England’ Social Work Education, 32 (7), 888-905.
  • Hutchinson, A. and Galvani, S. (2013) ‘Working with substance use: Levels and predictors of positive therapeutic attitudes across social care practitioners in England.’ Drugs, Education, Prevention and Policy, 20 (4), 312-321.
  • Ralphs, R., Askew, R., Williams, L. and Ykhlef, A. (forthcoming) ‘The Mamba Challenge’: Managing NPS use and markets in custodial settings’ Special issue on ‘Emerging Drug Use Trends: Motivations and policy challenges’ for the International Journal for Drug Policy.
  • Wadd, S. and Galvani, S. (2014) ‘Challenges in identifying and intervening with alcohol problems in older people: a qualitative study.’ Social Work Education: The International Journal – Special Issue, 2014, 33 (5), 656-670
  • Webb, L. (2012) Tools for the job: why relying on risk assessment tools is still a risky business. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. 19 (2): 132-139.

Peer reviewed articles - NPS focus

  • A comparison of silica C and silica gel in HILIC mode: The effect of stationary phase surface area, EY Santali, D Edwards, OB Sutcliffe, S Bailes, MR Euerby, DG Watson, Chromatographia (2014), 77(13-14), 873-881.
  • An overview of recent developments in the analytical detection of new psychoactive substances (NPSs), JP Smith, OB Sutcliffe, CE Banks, Analyst (2015), 140 (15), 4932–4948.
  • Animal trypanosomosis: making quality control of trypanocidal drugs possible, OB Sutcliffe, GG Skellern, F Araya, A Cannavan, JJ Sasanya, B Dungu, F van Gool, S Munstermann, RC Mattioli, Revue Scientifique et Technique-Office International des Epizooties (2014), 33 (3), 813-830.
  • Chromatographic and spectroscopic analysis of the components present in the phenanthridinium trypanocidal agent isometamidium, JO Igoli, G Blackburn, AI Gray, OB Sutcliffe, DG Watson, MR Euerby, GG Skellern, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (2014), 407 (4), 1171-1180.
  • Detection and quantification of new psychoactive substances (NPSs) within the evolved “legal high” product, NRG-2, using high performance liquid chromatography-amperometric detection (HPLC-AD), KY Zuway, JP Smith, CW Foster, N Kapur, CE Banks, OB Sutcliffe, Analyst (2015), 140 (18), 6283-6294.
  • Development of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and other rapid screening methods for the analysis of 16 ‘legal high’ cathinone derivatives, N Nic Daeid, KA Savage, D Ramsay, C Holland, OB Sutcliffe, Science & Justice (2014), 54(1), 22-31.
  • Drug solid solutions – a method for tuning phase transformations, A Delori, P Maclure, RM Bhardwaj, A Johnston, AJ Florence, OB Sutcliffe, IDH Oswald, CrystEngComm (2014), 16(26), 5827-5831.
  • Elucidation of the Phase I and Phase II metabolic pathways of (±)-4′-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC) and (±)-4′-(trifluoromethyl)methcathinone (4-TFMMC) in rat liver hepatocytes using LC-MS and LC-MS2, OIG Khreit, MH Grant, T Zhang, C Henderson, DG Watson, OB Sutcliffe, Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis (2013), 72, 177-185.
  • Forensic electrochemistry applied to the sensing of New Psychoactive Substances: Electroanalytical sensing of synthetic cathinones and analytical validation in the quantification of seized street samples, JP Smith, JP Metters, OIG Khreit, OB Sutcliffe, CE Banks, Analytical Chemistry (2014), 86(19), 9985-9992.
  • Forensic electrochemistry: indirect electrochemical sensing of the components of the new psychoactive substance “Synthacaine”, LR Cumba, AV Kolliopoulos, JP Smith, PD Thompson, PR Evans, OB Sutcliffe, DR do Carmo, CE Banks, Analyst (2015), 140 (16), 5536-5545.
  • Forensic electrochemistry: simultaneous voltammetric detection of MDMA and its fatal counterpart “Dr Death” (PMA), LR Cumba, JP Smith, KY Zuway, OB Sutcliffe, DR do Carmo, CE Banks, Analytical Methods (2016), 8 (1), 142-152.
  • Forensic electrochemistry: the electroanalytical sensing of Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) using screen-printed graphite electrodes without recourse for electrode or sample pre-treatment, JP Smith, JP Metters, DK Kampouris, C Lledo-Fernandez, OB Sutcliffe, CE Banks, Analyst (2013), 138(20), 6185-6191.
  • Forensic electrochemistry: the electroanalytical sensing of synthetic cathinone-derivatives and their accompanying adulterants in “legal high” products, JP Smith, JP Metters, C Irving, OB Sutcliffe, CE Banks, Analyst (2014), 139(2), 389-400.
  • Metallic impurities in graphene screen-printed electrodes can influence their electrochemical properties, JP Smith, CW Foster, JP Metters, OB Sutcliffe, CE Banks, Electroanalysis (2014), 26 (11), 2429-2433.
  • Putting the squeeze on mephedrone hydrogen sulfate, N Satthaphut, OB Sutcliffe, IDH Oswald, Zeitschrift fuer Kristallographie – Crystalline Materials (2014), 229(2), 101-111.
  • Regal electrochemistry: sensing of the synthetic cathinone class of new psychoactive substances (NPSs), F Tan, JP Smith, OB Sutcliffe, CE Banks, Analytical Methods (2015), 7 (16), 6470–6474.
  • The Ecstasy and the agony; compression studies of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), LE Connor, A Delori, IB Hutchinson, N Nic Daeid, OB Sutcliffe, IDH Oswald, Acta Crystallographica Section B: Structural Science(2015), 71 (1), 3-9.

Our research and knowledge exchange

Current research issues

End of life care for people with alcohol and drug problems
funded by the Big Lottery Fund, PI – Sarah Galvani, with MMU colleagues Lucy Webb, Jo Ashby, Gemma Yarwood, Carol Haigh, Josie Tetley, Fiona Duncan and Lorna Templeton (Independent Research Consultant).
Evaluation of Aquarius’ Time of My Life Older People and Alcohol Service
co-funded by Aquarius and Alcohol Research UK, PI – Sarah Galvani with MMU colleagues Jo-Pei Tan, Sophie Smailes, Bev Smith, Stephen Jefferies, Kevin Albertson, and Denise Tanner (University of Birmingham)
Prevalence study of New Psychoactive Substance use in Manchester
funded by Manchester City Council Public Health Department, PI – Rob Ralphs with MMU colleagues Paul Gray and Anna Ykhlef
An exploration of the prevalence and nature of New Psychoactive Substance use and drug markets in a custodial setting
funded by MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange, PI Rob Ralphs and Oliver Sutcliffe with MMU colleagues Rebecca Askew and Anna Ykhlef
Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs: Motivations, Pathways and Implications for Public Health, Service Provision and Harm Reduction
funded by MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange, PI Rob Ralphs with MMU colleagues Mike Salinas, Craig Fletcher and William Floodgate (University of Manchester)
Development of rapid screening methods for New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)
funded by MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange, PI Oliver Sutcliffe with MMU colleagues Craig Banks and Ryan Mewis.
New Psychoactive Substances
New Analytical Challenges. PI Oliver Sutcliffe with MMU colleagues Craig Banks and Ryan Mewis in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde (Darren Edwards) and the University of Dundee (Niamh Nic Daeid)
Care leavers: Boom Project
Lucy Webb in association with Greater Manchester Voluntary Services Organisation and Greater Manchester Youth Network, Vulnerable and Disengaged Young People Fund, The Cabinet Office, HM Govt.
Voices from the Brink: Digital technology as outreach among disengaged substance misusers.
Webb and colleagues.
Back from the Brink: supporting disengaged drinkers toward recovery
PI Lucy Webb, MMU Research Institute for Health and Social Care
Trajectories of Recovery: Changing relationship with help seeking and receiving through the recovery process. Testimony from voices in Recovery
PI, Lucy Webb.

Knowledge Exchange




  • Welsh Translations of five Pocket Guides for Social Workers on Alcohol and other Drugs (details below). Funded by Isle of Anglesey County Council



  • Pocket Guide Series for Social Workers on Alcohol and other Drugs. Funded by Comic Relief/BASW
    1. ‘Pocket Guide for Social Workers on Young People and Alcohol.
    2. ‘Pocket Guide for Social Workers on Mental Health and Substance Use.
    3. ‘Pocket Guide for Social Workers on Older People and Alcohol.
    4. ‘Pocket Guide for Social Workers on Children, Families and Substance use
    5. ‘Pocket Guide for Social Workers on Alcohol and Other Drugs’ (2nd edition).

Available online from or hard copies from BASW.
Curriculum Guidance: Substance Use. The College of Social Work. Available online from:


We would like to highlight a range of collaborators who have contributed to its research or knowledge exchange. These are organisations who have worked in partnership with us to ensure our research and knowledge exchange remains current and relevant for policy and/or practice. We are grateful to them for their ongoing support.

  • Alcohol Liaison Service – Pinderfields General Hospital
  • Aquarius – Midlands-based Alcohol, Drugs and Gambling charity –
  • British Association of Social Workers –
  • Greater Manchester Youth Network –
  • The VoiceBox Inc. – social enterprise and CIC.

Get in touch

If you would like to know more about SUAB research group and its activities or talk to us about research collaboration please contact us on

Our Expertise