Dr Sarah Wadd

Director of the Substance Misuse and Ageing Research Team (SMART) at the Tilda Goldberg Centre for Social Work and Social Care

Sarah Wadd

Sarah started work at the Tilda Goldberg Centre in 2010 and identified substance misuse and ageing as an issue which was significantly under-researched and of growing concern.

n 2012, she set up the Substance Misuse and Ageing Research Team (SMART), a collaborative working group consisting of researchers from a variety of disciplines including addictions, public health, social work and social care and importantly, people with personal experience of alcohol and drug problems.

SMART has grown into a team of five and has attracted more than £1.2m of research funding.

Research Interests

  • Alcohol and drug use (including addictive medicines)
  • Ageing
  • Public engagement

Academic Qualifications

  • Masters Public Health - University of Glasgow, 2001-2003
  • PhD Virology - University of Glasgow, 1995-2000
  • BSc (Hons) Biochemistry 2(i) - University of North London, 1992-1995

Esteem Indicators

  • Academic advisor to a high level policy group for older adults and substance misuse which includes MP’s, representatives from the drinks industry and national statutory and voluntary sector organisations. The group provides advice to both the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ageing (2015-2020)
  • Editorial Board Journal of Dual Diagnosis in Older Adults (2020-)
  • Member Addictive Behaviour Co-Production Research Network (2017-)
  • Member European Substance Use and Addictive Behaviour Research Group (2015-)
  • Member British Society Gerontology’s Special Interest Group Substance Use In Older Adults (2020-)
  • Member Society for the Study of Addiction (2011-)
  • Collaboration Care Quality Commission improving practice in relation to alcohol use in care homes (2020-)
  • Collaboration We Are With You, Addiction NI, Royal Voluntary Service, Developing A Caring Wales reducing alcohol harm in older adults (2015-)

Current Projects

  • Addressing the needs of older adults receiving alcohol treatment during the Covid-19 pandemic (National Lottery Community Fund)
  • Promoting good practice in relation to alcohol use in care homes for older people (National Institute For Health Research School For Social Care Research)
  • Evaluation of the Drink Wise, Age Well Programme (National Lottery Community Fund)

Book Chapters

  • Wadd, S (2017). The Older Adult. In: Cooper, D Ethics in Mental Health Substance Use. London: Routledge.
  • Wadd S and Rao T (2018). Substance Misue in Older Adults. In: Davis P, Patton R and Jackson, S in Addiction Psychology and Treatment. Chichester: Wiley.
  • Wadd S and Galvani. Challenges in Identifying and Intervening With Alcohol Problems in Older People in Substance Use in Social Work Education and Training: Preparing and Supporting Practice. H. Loughran and W. Livingston, Routledge.
  • Galvani S and Wadd S. Drug and Alcohol Practice. Social Work with Adults. M. Davis. Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan. 2011.

Articles in Peer Reviewed Journals

  • Seddon J L, Wadd S, Wells, E, L. Elliott, I. Madoc-Jones, & J. Breslin. Drink wise, age well; reducing alcohol related harm among people over 50: A study protocol. BMC Public Health. 2019; 19(1), 1-6
  • Wadd, S, Dutton, M. Accessibility and suitability of residential alcohol treatment for older adults: a mixed method study. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy. 2018; 13: 49
  • Randall J, Wadd S, Edwards K, Thake A. Alcohol Screening in People With Cognitive Impairment: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Dual Diagnosis. 2015; 11(1): 65-74
  • Thake A, Wadd S, Edwards K, Randall J. Identifying and responding to alcohol misuse in memory clinics: current practice, barriers and facilitators. Advances in Dual Diagnosis. 2015; 8(2): 65-77
  • Wadd S and Galvani S. Working with older people with alcohol problems: Insight from specialist substance misuse professionals and their service users. Social Work Education: The International Journal. 2014; 33(5): 656-669
  • Wadd S and Papadopoulos C. Drinking behaviour and alcohol-related harm amongst older adults: Analysis of existing UK datasets. BMC Research Notes. 2014; 7(1): 741
  • Wadd S and Forrester D. Alcohol Problems in Old Age. Generations Review.
  • Palmateer N, Anderson N, Wadd S, Hutchinson S, Taylor A, Goldberg D. Exploring associations between perceived HCV status and injecting risk behaviours among recent initiates to injecting drug use in Glasgow. Subst Use Misuse.2008;43(3-4):375-88.
  • Wadd S, Taylor A, Hutchinson SJ, Ahmed S, Goldberg D. High risk injecting behaviour in hostel accommodation for the homeless in Glasgow 2001-2: a study combining quantitative and qualitative methodology. Journal of Substance Use. 2006; 11(5): 333-341.
  • Roy KM, Hutchinson SJ, Wadd S, Taylor A, Cameron SO, Burns S, Molyneaux P, McIntyre PG, Goldberg DJ. Hepatitis C virus infection among injecting drug users in Scotland: a review of prevalence and incidence data and the methods used to generate them. Epidemiol Infect. 2007 Apr;135(3):433-42. Epub 2006 Aug 8.
  • Hutchinson SJ, Roy KM, Wadd S, Bird SM, Taylor A, Anderson E, Shaw L, Codere G, Goldberg DJ. Hepatitis C virus infection in Scotland: epidemiological review and public health challenges. Scott Med J. 2006 May;51(2):8-15. Review.
  • Judd A, Hutchinson S, Wadd S, Hickman M, Taylor A, Jones S, Parry JV, Cameron S, Rhodes T, Ahmed S, Bird S, Fox R, Renton A, Stimson GV, Goldberg D. Prevalence of, and risk factors for, hepatitis C virus infection among recent initiates to injecting in London and Glasgow: cross sectional analysis. J Viral Hepat. 2005 Nov;12(6):655-62.
  • Taylor A, Hutchinson S, Lingappa J, Wadd S, Ahmed S, Gruer L, Taylor TH Jr, Roy K, Gilchrist G, McGuigan C, Penrice G, Goldberg D. Severe illness and death among injecting drug users in Scotland: a case-control study. Epidemiol Infect. 2005 Apr;133(2):193-204.
  • Hutchinson SJ, Wadd S, Taylor A, Bird SM, Mitchell A, Morrison DS, Ahmed S, Goldberg DJ. Sudden rise in uptake of hepatitis B vaccination among injecting drug users associated with a universal vaccine programme in prisons. Vaccine.2004 Nov 25;23(2):210-4.

Research Reports

  • Wadd, S, Holley-Moore, G, Riaz, A. and Jones, R. (2017) Calling Time: Addressing ageism and age discrimination in alcohol policy, practice and research.
  • McCann M, Wadd S. (2017) Wet’ care homes for older people with refractory alcohol problems: A qualitative study.
  • Wadd S, Dutton, M. (2017) Accessibility and suitability of residential alcohol treatment for older adults
  • Wadd S and Galvani S. Drug Problems in Later Life. 2014
  • Galvani S, Livingston W, Morgan H, Wadd S. Alcohol, Other Drugs and Sight Loss: A Scoping Study. 2014
  • Galvani S, Manders, G with Wadd S and Chaudrhy S. Developing a Community Alcohol Support Package: An Exploration with a Punjabi Sikh Community
  • Wadd S, Randall J, Thake A, Edwards K, Galvani S, McCabe L, Coleman A. Alcohol Misuse and Cognitive Impairment in Older People. 2013
  • Sullivan M, Gilhooly M, Victor C, Wadd S, Ellender N. Use as Abuse: A Feasibility Study of Alcohol-Related Elder Abuse. 2013
  • Wadd S, Lapworth K, Sullivan M, Forrester D, Galvani S. Working with older drinkers, Tilda Goldberg Centre for Social Work and Social Care. 2011.
  • Wadd S, Galvani S, Glynn G. Report on the Camden Alcoholic Support Association Family Service Model Evaluation. Tilda Goldberg Centre for Social Work and Social Care. 2010


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