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Impact and Publications


Staff from DARN have had substantial engagement with external partners for policy led research on drugs and alcohol issues, including examining the evidence base for interventions including substance misuse, mental health, alcohol prevention and the mechanisms for implementing evidence based practice and policy more generally.

Recent Publications


Higgins, K., Kelly, G., O’Neill, N., O’Hara, L. and Campbell, A. (2019) The Use of Prescription Medication in Prisons in Northern Ireland. Belfast: Queen’s University Belfast, Public Health Agency.

Higgins, K., O Neill, N., O Hara, L., Jordan J-A., Mc Cann, M., Clarke, M., O Neill, F. and Campbell, A. (with the funder) Variations and Determinants of Novel Psycho active substances (NPS) Implications for Policy and Practice NIHR: Public Health Research Programme.

Homman, L., Perra, O., Higgins, K. and O’Neill, F. (2019) ‘The longitudinal relationship of alcohol problems and depressive symptoms and the impact of externalising symptoms: findings from the Belfast Youth Developmental Study’. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, March, 2019.

McCann, M., Moore, L., Higgins, K. and Jordan, J-A. (forthcoming) ‘Longitudinal social network analysis of peer, family and school contextual influences on adolescent drinking frequency’. Journal of Adolescent Health


Davidson, G., Edge, R., Falls, D., Keenan, F., Kelly, B., McLaughlin, A., Montgomery, L., Mulvenna, C., Norris, B., Owens, A., Irvine, R. A. S. & Webb, P. (2018) Supported decision making - experiences, approaches and preferences. Belfast: Praxis Care, Mencap and Queen's University Belfast.

Higgins, K., Perra, O., O Neill, T., Mc Laughlin, A (in press) ‘The role of family and parent-child characteristics on offending trajectories from early adolescence to young adulthood’ Journal of Youth and Adolescence.(accepted may 2018)

Higgins, K., McLaughlin, A., Perra, O., McCartan, C., McCann, M., Percy, A., Jordan, J-A. (2018). The Belfast Youth Development Study (BYDS): a prospective cohort study of the initiation, persistence and desistance of substance use from adolescence to adulthood in Northern Ireland. PLoS ONE,

Higgins, K., Perra, O., Jordan, J-A, O’Neill, T., & McCann, M, (accepted) School bonding and ethos in trajectories of offending: Results from the Belfast Youth Development. British Journal of Education Psychology.

Jordan, J-A., Mc Cann, M., Katikireddi, V. and Higgins, K.  (2018) Harmonising alcohol consumption, sales and related outcomes data across the UK and Ireland: an insurmountable barrier to policy evaluation, Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, ISSN: 0968-7637 Online ISSN: 1465-3370.

Jordan, J-A., McCann, M., Moore, L., & Higgins, K. (under review) The formation of delinquent adolescent groups: the role of selection, deselection and influence processes. Quantitative Criminology.


Butler, M., McLaughlin, A., Hayes, D. & Percy, A. (2017) Using the voluntary sector to provide services to children and families with complex needs as an alternative to social work services- what are the benefits and risks? Queens University Belfast, Belfast. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.10227.43043.

Campbell, A. (2017) An Evaluation of the Drug and Alcohol Service User Network in Northern Ireland. Southern and South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust.

Maguire, a., Moriarty, j., O’Reilly, d. and McCann, M. (2017) Education as a predictor of antidepressant and anxiolytic medication use after bereavement: a population-based record linkage study, Quality of Life Research, 26: 1251.


Moriarty, J., McVicar, D., and Higgins, K. (2016) Cross-section and panel estimates of peer effects in early adolescent cannabis use: With a little help from my ‘friends once removed’. Social Science and Medicine.

McCann, M., Perra, O., McLaughlin, A., McCartan, C., and Higgins, K. (2016) Assessing elements of a family approach to reduce adolescent drinking frequency: parent–adolescent relationship, knowledge management and keeping secrets. Addiction, doi: 10.1111/add.13258.

McLaughlin, A., Campbell, A. & McColgan, M. (2016). Adolescent substance use in the context of the family: a qualitative study of young people’s views on parent-child attachments, parenting style and parental substance use. Substance Use & Misuse, doi: 10.1080/10826084.2016.1197941

McLaughlin, A., O’Neill, T., McCartan, C., Percy, A., McCann, M., Perra, O. & Higgins, K. (2016). Parental alcohol use and resilience in young people: A study of family, peer and school processes. Download the Executive Summary PDF.

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