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Economics of addiction and mental health 

This theme has a specific focus on developing economic methodology and modelling in the areas of health economics research in mental health and addiction. 

Researchers working within this theme have completed many economic evaluations of interventions for the treatment of addiction and mental health problems. These have included smoking cessation interventions, treatments for depression, alcohol problems, and long term modelling of healthcare costs associated with the treatment of smoking related disease. The team have also undertaken evaluations outside the field of mental health and addiction, including diabetes, asthma, pregnancy and weight loss.

This theme leads the economic dimension of research both within MHARG and also with an extensive network of external collaborators. The University of York was a member institution of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS), the leading consortium of tobacco and alcohol researchers in the UK. The team supported the economic evaluation within a number of NIHR funded trials, including: SCIMITAR+, Start2QuitCASPER, and CASPER Plus.

Enquiries from potential collaborators in the addiction and mental health field who require economic expertise such as economic evaluations or modelling should contact Steve Parrott in the first instance.


Helping people cope with temptations to smoke to reduce relapse: A factorial randomised controlled trial

ADVANCE : Advancing theory and treatment approaches for males in substance misuse treatment who perpetrate intimate partner violence

This new five-year research programme will test whether a group therapy that addresses intimate partner violence (IPV) and substance use concurrently reduces IPV carried out by men attending substance use treatment sessions, and whether this leads to a resulting improvement in depressive symptoms among their current and ex-partners

Link to project page

The TEC Study : a randomised controlled non-inferiority trial to examine the efficacy of e-cigarettes compared with standard pharmacotherapy, when used within the UK Stop Smoking Service

We will be undertaking the cost-effectiveness analysis for the randomised controlled trial of e-cigarettes over and above standard pharmacotherapy when used within the UK Stop Smoking Service.

Link to project.

Improving the effectiveness and reach of NHS support for smoking cessation in pregnancy

This programme aims to increase the uptake and effectiveness of NHS Stop Smoking Services for pregnant women (SSSP) by determining when and how NHS cessation support is best offered in pregnancy, refining and testing 'self-help' cessation methods which are attractive to and, therefore, likely to be used by the vast majority of mothers who do not currently access SSSP and investigating how 'self-help' support is best delivered by the NHS.

Funded by: National Institute For Health Research (NIHR).

Project page

Smoking: new approaches to cessation service delivery, prevention of passive smoke exposure in children, and healthcare cost estimation

This study will assess new methods to increase cessation and reduce harm in three settings: the home, community, and hospital. It will provide new estimates of the health costs of smoking and consequently the cost-effectiveness of greater investment in smoking prevention.

Project page

CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber: Mental Health and Comorbidity Theme

The Mental Health and Comorbidity theme is one of the nine themes in CLAHRC YH and will be exploring the interface between mental and physical ill-health. More info.

Tobacco cessation within TB programmes: A ‘real world’ solution for countries with dual burden of disease

The aim of the TB and Tobacco project is to reduce the burden of tobacco-related lung diseases. The approach proposed in this project is to integrate inexpensive tobacco cessation strategies of proven efficacy into TB control programmes. 

Link to project.

CASPER PLUS: Collaborative care in screen positive elders with major depressive disorders.

The CASPER Plus Trial examined Collaborative Care for older people who meet the criteria for a formal diagnosis of depression. We are currently carrying out an extended follow-up with participants from the CASPER Plus Trial. 

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

Project page

Children Learning About Second-hand Smoke (CLASS II): A pilot cluster randomised controlled trial

The pilot trial will be conducted in Dhaka Division, Bangladesh. We will recruit a total of 12 primary schools and 360, year 5 (10-12 years old) children. The information obtained from the pilot study will help us to carefully plan for the large study and help us to test our assumptions. These include the number of schools and children to be recruited, feasibility and acceptability of the specified measurements and resource requirement for scaling up the intervention. 

Link to project.


In this study we will conduct a randomised controlled trial looking at the clinical and cost effectiveness of a “bespoke smoking cessation” intervention for people with severe mental ill health such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Link to project page.

Completed projects

UKCTAS: UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies

The UKCTAS is a network of 13 universities and is a leading international centre of tobacco and alcohol research and policy excellence with an extensive research programme and facilitating policy development by informing policy makers of the latest scientific research on tobacco and alcohol use.

Link to project.

Start2Quit: Randomised trial to increase the uptake of smoking cessation services using personal targeted risk information and taster sessions

A randomised controlled trial of proactive personally tailored invitations to attend a taster session with encouragement and active referral to the NHS services, compared with standard generic advertising of the service.

Project page

Y-SBNT: Family and Social Network Intervention for Young People who Misuse Alcohol and Drugs

Researchers from the Department of Health Sciences in collaboration with colleagues from the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham aim to adapt an evidence-based family and social network intervention for substance-related problems to the youth context.  

Project page

Development and evaluation of a novel intervention providing insight into the tobacco industry to prevent the uptake of smoking in school-aged children

The overall purpose of this research is to assess whether a multi-component intervention involving educational resources for use in schools, alongside family components, is effective and cost-effective in preventing the uptake of smoking in school-aged children.

Link to project.

A randomised trial of nicotine patch preloading for smoking cessation - the Preloading Trial

An open label, pragmatic, randomised controlled trial of nicotine patch preloading for smoking cessation.

Project page

PROTECT: Preventing blood borne virus infection in people who inject drugs in the UK

A mixed methods project with six complementary phases which aims to: i) develop an evidence based psychosocial intervention to reduce transmission risks among people who inject drugs at risk of acquiring or transmitting blood borne viruses and; ii) conduct a feasibility randomised controlled trial of the intervention.

Link to project page.

Clinical and cost-effectiveness of temporarily quadrupling the dose of inhaled steroid to prevent asthma exacerbations

A randomised controlled trial to determine the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a self-management plan which includes temporarily quadrupling the dose of inhaled steroid to prevent asthma exacerbations.

Link to project.

CLAHRC ARiAS: Addiction Research in Acute Settings

The overall aim of the ARiAS research programme is to investigate methods of improving the physical and mental health of people with alcohol and/or illicit drug problems who are identified within an acute hospital setting.

Project page

MCLASS: Muslim Communities Learning About Second-Hand Smoke

Muslim Communities Learning About Second-hand Smoke (MCLASS) is a cluster, randomised, controlled pilot trial of 'Smoke Free Homes' delivered in Islamic religious settings (mosques hosting communal prayers, study circles for women and Qur'an classes for children) with embedded preliminary health economic and qualitative analyses.

project page

CASPER: Collaborative care and active surveillance for screen-positive elders with sub-clinical depression: a pilot study and definitive and randomised evaluation

The CASPER trial examined a treatment called Collaborative Care for older people with subthreshold (low severity) depression. We are currently carrying out an extended follow-up with participants from the CASPER Trial.

Funded by: National Institute for Health Research HTA.

CASPER site.

AESOPS: the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of opportunistic screening and stepped care interventions for older harzardous alcohol users in primary care

This research study is looking at the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of opportunistic screening and stepped care interventions for older hazardous alcohol users in primary care.

Funded by: NIHR HTA‌

project page

ACT AD: Assertive Community Treatment in alcohol dependence

ACTAD is a randomised control trial to determine the effectiveness of ACT for the treatment of alcohol dependence compared with standard treatment.

Project page

NIQUAD : Nationally Integrated Quantitative Understanding of Addiction Harms

NIQUAD aims to shed new light on the scale of substance use and substance-specific harms, and examine the natural history, intervention effects and impact in reducing or magnifying such harms.

Project page

UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies

UKCTCS is a strategic partnership of nine UK universities in England and Scotland (Nottingham, Bath, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Stirling, Queen Mary, UCL, York and Bristol) involving leading tobacco control researchers from a range of disciplines.

Project page

Alcohol Measures for Public Health Research Alliance (AMPHORA)

Image of the EU flag.
To be used with projects with EU funding.

AMPHORA aims to create a European Alcohol Policy Research Alliance of internationally renowned alcohol policy researchers which will undertake new empirical research to strengthen the overall European research base of the impact of public health measures and interventions, including taxes, pricing, availability, access, advertisement, drinking environments, and early diagnosis and treatment of disease in multiple settings, geographical regions, gender and age groups to guide integrated policy making to reduce the harm done by alcohol.

Funded by: The European Commission

Project page

ODHIN: Optimizing delivery of health care interventions

SNAP - Smoking, Nicotine and Pregnancy

The SNAP trial investigates whether Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) helps pregnant women to give up smoking, whether it is cost-effective and if it has any effect on the subsequent behaviour and development of their children over the next two years.

Project page

Smoking cessation for people with severe mental illness: a pilot study and definitive randomised evaluation of a bespoke service (SCIMITAR)

This study will develop a 'bespoke smoking cessation' service targeted to meet the needs of those with serious mental health problems such as schizophrenia, and will test the clinical and cost effectiveness of this approach in a randomised controlled trial.

Project page