Dr David Alexander Leonard Newcombe

BA, BA (Hons), PhD


Dr David Newcombe is Senior lecturer in Alcohol and Drug Studies and has over fifteen year's experience working in the addiction sector in New Zealand and Australia.  He completed his undergraduate degree in psychology and neuroscience at Flinders University and doctoral studies in psychopharmacology at Adelaide University in South Australia. Previously he worked at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Research in the Treatment of Drug and Alcohol Problems at University of Adelaide where he was involved with many large multinational multi site studes (including the validation of the Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST)).  In addition to his teaching responsibilities he is an Associate Director of the Centre for Addiction Research at University of Auckland.

His current research interests include; Evaluating screening and brief interventions for problematic drug use in different contexts; the use of pharmacotherapy for treating addiction disorders; the cognitive effects of drugs of abuse through the lifespan; and the impact of co- existing problems (including prescription medication use) on well-being.

Research | Current

Research interests

  • Screening and brief interventions for problematic alcohol and drug use
  • Clinical pharmacology of pharmacotherapies used for the treatment of dependence
  • Cognitive effects of drugs of abuse
  • The impact of co- existing problems (including prescription medication use) on well-being.

Teaching | Current

I  coordinate the following courses:

POPLRAC 765: Co-existing Disorders - Theory and Principles

POPLHLTH 738: Biology of Addiction

POPLHLTH 773: Pharmacotherapeutic Responses to Addiction

POPLPRAC 708: Assessment and Intervention with Addiction

POPLHLTH 212: Biobehavioural Aspects of Drug Use 


Postgraduate supervision

Currently supervising post graduate students undertaking the following research:

  • Development, reliability and validity of a questionnaire to screen for problematic internet use
  • Pharmacokinetics and dose response characteristics of cytisine for smoking cessation
  • Evaluation of outcomes at a Drug Treatment Unit (Masters)
  • Evaluation of a  computerised CBT Programme in AOD Services (Masters)



2017.  US National Institute for Drug Abuse, Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Award (DISCA)

2016. Supreme Winner - National Workforce Innovation Award 2014 (Matua Raki).

1998. Australian Post Graduate Research Award for doctoral studies



Head of Section, Scoial and Community Health, Social and Community Health 

Academic Director, Alcohol and Drug Studies Programmes Academic 

Associate Director, Centre for Addiction Research http://www.fmhs.auckland.ac.nz/cfar

Areas of expertise

Screening and brief intervention for risky drug use

The cognitive effects of drugs of abuse

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Member, Australian Professional Society of Alcohol and Other Drugs

Chair, Training Providers Network

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Kool, B., Buller, S., Kuriyan, R., Jones-Todd, C. M., Newcombe, D., & Jones, P. (2018). Alcohol and injury among attendees at a busy inner city New Zealand emergency department. Injury, 49 (4), 798-805. 10.1016/j.injury.2018.02.028
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bridget Kool, Peter Jones
  • Lintzeris, N., Monds, L., Rivas, C., Leung, S., Dunlop, A., Newcombe, D. A., ... Montebello, M. (2018). Transferring patients from methadone to buprenorphine: The feasibility and evaluation of practice guidelines. Journal of Addiction Medicine10.1097/ADM.0000000000000396
  • Saxton, P., Newcombe, D., Ahmed, A., Dickson, N., & Hughes, A. (2018). Illicit drug use among New Zealand gay and bisexual men: Prevalence and association with sexual health behaviours. Drug and Alcohol Review, 37 (2), 180-187. 10.1111/dar.12536
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Peter Saxton
  • Humeniuk, R., Newcombe, D. A. L., Dennington, V., & Ali, R. (2018). A randomised controlled trial of a brief intervention for illicit drug use linked to ASSIST screening in a primary healthcare setting: Results from the Australian component of the World Health Organization Phase III ASSIST studies. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 24 (2), 149-154. 10.1071/PY17056
  • Sheridan, J., Adams, P., Bullen, C., & Newcombe, D. (2018). An evaluation of a harm reduction Summer School for undergraduate health professional students. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 25 (2), 118-129. 10.1080/09687637.2016.1262824
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Janie Sheridan, Chris Bullen, Peter Adams
  • Huggard, P., Law, J., & Newcombe, D. (2017). A systematic review exploring the presence of vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and secondary traumatic stress in alcohol and other drug clinicians. Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies, 21 (2), 65-72.
  • Patston, L. L., Travers, K. A., & Newcombe, D. A. (2017). The acceptability and feasibility of screening for alcohol and drug misuse in a hospital emergency department. Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment, 16 (3), 111-120. 10.1097/ADT.0000000000000108
  • Newcombe, D. A., Somogyi, A. A., Bochner, F., & White, J. M. (2017). Impaired psychomotor function and plasma methadone and Levo-Alpha-Acetylmethadol (LAAM) oncentrations in Opioid-Substitution patients. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 25 (3), 223-233. 10.1037/pha0000114
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/34057


Contact details

Primary office location

TAMAKI BUILDING 730 - Bldg 730
Level 3, Room 342
New Zealand

Web links