Recruitment underway for study monitoring alcohol and drug recovery

The University of Wollongong (UOW) is leading a trial with SMART Recovery Australia for a phone app that helps people manage problematic behaviours.

Associate Professor Peter Kelly, Professor Frank Deane, and Dr Briony Larance from the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute and UOW’s School of Psychology, and Dr Alison Beck from the University of Newcastle and UOW’s School of Psychology, are leading the project in collaboration with SMART Recovery Australia.

The SMART Track app is being launched to accompany weekly group meetings of SMART Recovery.

SMART Recovery Australia supports people with problematic behaviours like drug and alcohol misuse, smoking, gambling and shopping. There are over 300 SMART Recovery groups delivered throughout Australia, reaching more than 2,000 people each week.

SMART Track forms part of a research project conducted by SMART Recovery Australia and the University of Wollongong, along with University of Newcastle, University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, Monash University, Harvard University and King’s College London.

The study will examine use of an online Routine Outcome Monitoring (ROM) tool that involves real-time feedback being provided to participants while attending SMART Recovery groups.

“Addiction is something that affects millions of Australians including family and friends of those with dependency every single year. We are really pleased to be working with SMART Recovery Australia to help develop a smart phone app,” Associate Professor Kelly said.

“We know that most Australians own a smart phone. This app was designed to complement the SMART Recovery groups by providing people with a way to keep track of their cravings and impulses. It provides real-time feedback that we hope is really helpful for people looking to manage their addictive behaviours.”

Digital and customer experience agency GHO designed the SMART Track app.

Speaking about the process of developing the app, GHO executive creative director Ryan Chao said: “This was a really rewarding project for us to be involved on. We worked closely with the SMART Recovery Australia and the research team and applied a design thinking approach to get feedback directly from the people accessing the SMART Recovery groups.”

SMART Recovery Australia’s executive director Ryan McGlaughlin said SMART Recovery was a practical and solution-focused program designed to give those struggling with addictive behaviours a toolbox of coping strategies they can use daily to achieve their goals.

“A core aspect of our SMART Recovery program is to empower people to take back control of their problematic behaviour,” Mr McGlaughlin said.

SMART Recovery group members are being recruited for the non-randomised trial of the SMART Track app. Following completion of the study, the research team is hoping to integrate the SMART Track app with all SMART Recovery groups across Australia.

SMART Recovery group members who are interested in finding out more about the study can visit this website: https://smartrecoveryaustralia.com.au/smart-track-app/

The NSW Ministry of Health under the NSW Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Early Intervention Innovation Grant Scheme provided funding for this research.

Media contacts

Louise Negline, Communications Coordinator, IHMRI

T: 02 4221 4702 | M: 0417 044 867 | E: louisenegline@ihmri.org.au

Ben Long, Media and Public Relations Coordinator, UOW

T: 02 4221 3887 | M: 0429 294 251 | E: ben_long@uow.edu.au

Top photo: Associate Professor Peter Kelly. Photo by Paul Jones.

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