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Staff Profile

Dr Stephen Bright

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Adjunct Research Fellow
Faculty of Health Sciences
Office of the Pro Vice Chancellor Health Sciences
Off campus
607.Level 1
03 9556 5255

Brief Summary

Stephen is a clinically-trained psychologist, though identifies as an ethnopharmacologist (i.e, a person who studies the human relationship with drugs).

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Stephen has worked as a psychologist within the Mental Health & AOD field for the past 15 years. He is currently Senior Lecturer of Addiction at Edith Cowan University. Stephen is a strong advocate of harm reduction and an evidence-based approach to AOD legislation. He is also interested in the role of certain substances (entheogens) to facilitate spiritual experiences, and their role in psychotherapy.

His PhD related to the public perceptions and media portrayal of AOD use and the implications of this for drug-related harm, including the rapid emergence of new psychoactive substances. This has led to the development of a project that aims to make the Australian media more accountable when reporting on AOD issues: 

Stephen is a leading Australian voice on the role of drug policy on emerging drug trends such as synthetic cannabis and darkweb marketplaces. He is an Adjunct Research Fellow with Curtin's National Drug Research Institute 


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Memberships, Awards and Training


  • 2012: Awarded a Gold Medal in the Victorian Public Health Awards
  • 2011: Awarded best late breaking paper at the APSAD conference


  • Founding member and vice-president of PRISM, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to fund positive AOD research.
  • Elected member of the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA) board since 2015
  • Reference Group member of AOD Media Watch
  • Peninsula Health's Human Research Ethics Commitee since 2012

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Employment History

2016 - 2017: Senior Dual Diagnosis Clinician/Psychologist, Monash Health

2006 - 2017: Unit Coordinator for Addiction Studies, School of Psychology, Curtin University

2014 - 2016: Manager of Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Services, Peninsula Health

2012 - 2014: Senior Psychologist for Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Services, Peninsula Health

2011: Lecturer in Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) and Community Mental Health, Chisholm Institute

2010 - 2012: Psychologis/Proejct Officer for Older Wiser Lifestyles, Peninsula Health

2007 - 2010: Senior Psychologist, Converge International

2005 - 2008: Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Counsellor, North Metropolitan Community Drug Service Team    


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Research Interests

  • Alcohol and Other Drug policy.
  • New Psychoactive Substances.
  • Psychedelics.
  • Drugs and the media.
  • Pill testing.
  • Synthetic cannabis.
  • MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.
  • Harm reduction.
  • Stigma of drug use.
  • Older adults and alcohol.

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Journal Articles (Research)


Journal Articles (Research)

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Additional Information


Bright, S., & Williams, C. (2017). Evaluation of Australia’s first older adult-specific early intervention for reducing alcohol-related harm. Australian Health Review. [Early Online]

Bright, S., & Williams, C. (2017).Development of Australia's first older adult-specific early intervention for alcohol-related harm: Feasibility and proof of concept.”Australasian Journal on Ageing 36 (1): 52-55.

Bright, S. J., Williams, M. L. & Caldicott, D. (2017). Should addiction researchers be interested in psychedelic science? Drug & Alcohol Review, 36, 285-287.

Bright, S. J. & Caldicott, D. (2017). Weekly Dose: Ayahuasca, a cautionary tale for tourists eager to try this shamanic brew. The  Conversation. 

Bright, S. J. (2017). Alcohol leads to more violence than other drugs, but you’d never know from the headlines. The  Conversation.

Strauss, N., Bright, S. J., & Williams, M. L. (2016). Australia should be initiating a psychedelic research program: What are the barriers? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 50(11) 1036–1037.

Bright S. J. (2015). What’s happening to us when we get drunk? The  Conversation.

Bright S. J. (2015). Won't somebody think of the children? 5 reasons why drug panics are counterproductive. The Conversation.

Bright, S. J., Fink, A., Beck, J. C., Gabriel, J & Singh, D. (2015). Development of an Australian version of the Alcohol-Related Problems Survey: A comprehensive computerised screening tool for older adults. Australasian Journal on Ageing, 34, 33-37.

Bright S. J. & Roche, A. (2015). Older Australians' drinking on the rise and they don’t know the risks. The Conversation.

Hurnall, P., Loke, K-S, Ryan, K., Walsh, K., Jackson, L., & Bright, S. (2015). Older Adults: Dual Diagnosis Resource Guide. Victorian Dual Diagnosis Initiative: Melbourne, Victoria.

Nicholas, R., Roche, A., Lee, N., Bright, S., & Walsh, K. (2015). Preventing and reducing alcohol- and other drug-related harm among older people: A practical guide for health and welfare professionals. National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA). Flinders University: Adelaide, South Australia.

Bright, S. J., Kane, R., Bishop, B., & Marsh, A. (2014). Development of the Australian Dominant Drug Discourses Scale. Addiction Research & Theory. 22, 416 – 423.

Bright, S. J. (2013). New and Emerging Drugs. Melbourne, Australia: Australian Drug Foundation.

Bright, S. J. & Barratt, M. J. (2013). Explainer: What is NBOMe? The Conversation.

Bright, S.J. & Barratt, M.J. (2013, April). The Kronic chronicles. In A. Winstock (Ed.), Prevention in Action (pp. 4-5). Melbourne: Australian Drug Foundation.

Bright, S. J., & Williams, M. (2013). Shroom to grow: Australia’s missing psychedelic science. The Conversation.

Bright, S. J., Kane, R., Marsh, A., & Bishop, B. (2013). Psychometric Properties of the Locus of Control of Behaviour Scale (LCBS) administered to Australian’s seeking Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) treatment. Australian Psychologist, 48¸ 172-177.

Bright, S. J., Bishop, B., Kane, R., Marsh, A., Barratt, M. J. (2013). Kronic hysteria: Exploring the intersection between Australian synthetic cannabis legislation, the media, and drug-related harm. International Journal of Drug Policy, 24, 231-237.(Reprinted in Inciardi, J. A., & McElrath, K. (Eds.). (2014). The American Drug Scene: Readings in a global context (7th ed., pp. 57–68). New York: Oxford University Press.)

Caldicott, D. G. E., Bright, S. J., Barratt, M. J. (2013). NBOMe - A very different kettle of fish. Medical Journal of Australia, 199, 322-323.

Barratt, M. J. & Bright, S. J. (2012). Legal highs: what should we do about synthetic cannabis? The Conversation.

Bright, S. J., Walsh, K., & Singh, D. (2012). Guidelines for alcohol consumption for older Australians. Australasian Journal on Ageing,30, 239.

Bright, S. J., Singh, D., & Fink, A. (2011). International use of screening tools that measure “Standard Drinks”: Whose standard? Addiction, 106, 1022-1023.

Bright, S. J. (2010). Taking it to the masses: Reflections on presenting to the Australasian Society on Alcohol and Other Drugs (APSAD). Entheogenisis Australis, 2, 72-77.

Bright, S. J. (2009). Legal and Herbal Highs: Legal loopholes or harm minimisation? Entheogenisis Australis, 1, 19-24.

Bright, S. J., Marsh, A., Bishop, B., & Smith, L. M. (2008). What can we say about substance use? Dominant discourses and narratives emergent from Australian media. Addiction Research & Theory, 16, 135-148.

Bright, S. J., McKillop, D., & Ryder, D. (2008). Cigarette smoking among young adults: Integrating adolescent cognitive egocentrism with the transtheoretical model. Australian Journal of Psychology, 60, 18-25.

Bright, S. J. (2007). Spirituality in Psychology: The non-specifically-oriented or eclectic theologian-psychotherapist. Psychotherapy in Australia, 14(1), 66-71.

Bright, S. J., McKillop, D., & Ryder, D. (2007). Current understanding and future direction of the transtheoretical model: The role of adolescent cognitive egocentrism. Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist, 24(2), 25-43.

Invited Key Note Presentations (paid for by the hosting organisation)

Bright, S. (2016, September). Beyond Harm Reduction. Beyond Psychedelics, Prague, Czechoslovakia.

Bright, S. (2015, April). Screening Older People for AOD Problems: What is best practice? Grey Matters Conference, Adelaide.

Bright, S. J. (2013, December). New and Emerging Drugs: Epidemiology and management. Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies Emerging Psychoactive Substances Forum. Sydney, Australia.

Bright, S. J., Barratt, M. J. (2013, November). Understanding Synthetic Cannabis: Who uses it, why do they use it, what are the harms and what are the policy options? International Drug Policy Symposium. Auckland, New Zealand.

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