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Dr. Bobby Smyth

Clinical Associate Professor (Public Health & Primary Care)


  Addiction   Addiction and substance abuse   Addictions   ADOLESCENT   ADOLESCENT DRUG-USE   Adolescent Psychology   AETIOLOGY   Childhood and mental health   Development, prevention and treatment of mental disease or disorder   Educational disadvantage in children   Emotional, behavioural and cognitive disorders   Health attitudes and behaviour   Health outcomes   HEPATITIS C   INJECTION-DRUG USERS   Mental health and intellectual disability   Neurophysiology   Psychiatry   Psychometrics   Public health
Details Date
Chairperson of the General Population Survey (GPS) Research Advisory Group for the HRB. The GPS measures the prevalence of use of alcohol and other drugs using a general population sample from across Ireland. 2018-2021
Board Member of Alcohol Action Ireland Nov 2011 to date
Member of the Alcohol Health Alliance. The AHA is a multi-agency group who advocate for a public health led response to alcohol policy. 2016 to 2021
Member of Planet Youth Oversight Group for North Dublin 2020-
Chairperson of the Treatment & Prevention Subcommittee of the National Advisory Committee on Drugs & Alcohol Aug 2013 to Oct 2015
Member of the Editorial Board of the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine 2018 to date
Completed an external expert review of the Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Services (ADAWS) which was based at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane, Australia. October 2016
Member of the Advisory Board of International Academy on the Science and Impact of Cannabis 2021-
Evaluation of research grants for HRB funding 2013
Expert Advisory Group on alcohol, Public Health England 2014 - 2015
Addiction Faculty of the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland 2014 to 2021
Special Interest Group on Youth & Student Mental Health (College of Psychiatrists of Ireland) 2013 to 2021
Alcohol Policy Group of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) 2011 to 2018
National Advisory Committee on Drugs & Alcohol Aug 2013 to Oct 2015
Member of the Early Warning & Emerging trends Subcommittee of the National Advisory Committee on Drugs 2005 to 2011
Addiction Subgroup of the Expert Group on Mental Health (which drafted " A Vision for Change", Ireland's mental health strategy) Jan to Dec 2005
Adolescent Subgroup - HSE National Consent Advisory Group Dec 2011 to April 2013
National Addiction Training Program 2012 to 2015
Journal review for Addiction, Alcohol and Alcoholism, PLoS One, BMJ Open Ophthalmology, Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Substance Abuse, BMC Public Health, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, Public Health Journal of Affective Disorders, Journal of Drug Issues, Journal of Addictive Diseases, Pediatric Drugs, Expert Review of Anti Infective Therapy, Mental Health and Substance Use, Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 2004 to date
Adviser to Aiseiri Aislinn in Kilkenny, the sole residential adolescent addiction treatment service in Ireland Sept 2011 to date
Details Date From Date To
College of Psychiatrists of Ireland 2010
Royal College of Psychiatrists 1997
Society for the Study of Addiction 1997
Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2004
Association for Child Psychology and Psychiatry 1998
Millar SR, Mongan D, O'Dwyer C, Long J, Smyth BP, Perry IJ, Galvin B., Correlates of patterns of cannabis use, abuse and dependence: evidence from two national surveys in Ireland., European journal of public health, 2021, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Smyth BP., Head shops and new psychoactive substances: a public health perspective., Irish journal of psychological medicine, 2021, p1-8 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Smyth, Bobby P., Cannon, Mary, Cannabis Legalization and Adolescent Cannabis Use: Explanation of Paradoxical Findings, Journal of Adolescent Health, 2021, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Smyth, Bobby P, Christie, Grant IG, Opposition to cannabis legalization on public health grounds, The Lancet Regional Health - Western Pacific, 9, 2021, p100142 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
McCarron P., Smyth B., Carroll G., Glynn M., Barry J., Whiston L., Keenan E., Darker C., Truszkowska E., Patterns of new psychoactive substance use among opioid-dependent patients attending for opioid substitution treatment, HEROIN ADDICTION AND RELATED CLINICAL PROBLEMS, 23, 2021, Notes: [in press. Available ahead of print at], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Seán R. Millar, Deirdre Mongan, Bobby P. Smyth, Ivan J. Perry, Brian Galvin , Relationships between age at first substance use and persistence of cannabis use and cannabis use disorder, BMC Public Health, 2021, Notes: [in press, accepted May 2021], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Smyth Bobby P, Daly Antoinette, Elmusharaf Khalifa, McDonald Conor, Clarke Mary, Craig Sarah, Cullen Walter, Legislation targeting head shops selling new psychoactive substances and changes in drug-related psychiatric admissions: A national database study , Early intervention in psychiatry , 14, (1), 2020, p53 - 60, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Smyth, Bobby P, O"Farrell, Anne, Cullen, Walter, Drug-related medical hospital admissions during and after a period of head shop expansion, European Journal of Public Health, 2020, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Comiskey, C, James, P, Smyth, B, Journeying with fear: Young people's experiences of cannabis use, crime and violence before treatment entry, Journal of Child and Adolesc ent Psychiatric Nursing., 2020, p1 - 6, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
Smyth BP, McCarney G., Treatment of Adolescent Heroin Dependence: The End of an Era., Irish medical journal, 113, (1), 2020, p2 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL

Page 1 of 10
Smyth BP, Cannon M., Cannabis and public health-a need to reclaim the narrative., Ir J Med Sci, 2021, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
James P, Kearns T, Campbell A & Smyth BP, Adolescents & Substance Use: The Handbook for professionals working with Young People, Oxford, Radcliffe Publishing Ltd, 2013, Book, PUBLISHED
Barry S, Cannon M, Lawlor L, Smyth BP, What everyone should know about cannabis, Dublin, JOINT COMMITTEE ON ARTS, SPORT, TOURISM, COMMUNITY, RURAL & GAELTACHTAFFAIRS, GOVERNMENT PUBLICATION, June, 2006, Notes: [Outlines evidence of the known and probable harms related to cannabis use.], Report, PUBLISHED
Berney T, Black S, Checinski K, Crome I, Feinmann C, Gowers S, Hobbs M, Marsden A, Mahmood T, Smith E, Smyth R, Walden C, The mental health of students in Higher Education, London, Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2003, Notes: [Outlined prevalence of mental health problems among third level students, identified risk factors and advised on models of best practice for both prevention and treatment.], Report, PUBLISHED


Award Date
Margaret Davenport Prize (Royal College of Psychiatrists) 2000
Registrar's Prize ( Royal Acadamy of Medicine in Ireland) 1997
Mental health category of the HSE Open Access awards for 2018 5 Dec 2018
The overarching theme uniting almost all of my research output to date has been a focus on substance use and related harms. Prior to 2005, the focus was on adult heroin use, drug injecting & related risks. In the past 15 years, I have focused increasingly upon younger age ranges. I have been looking at other substances, especially alcohol, new psychoactive substances (NPS) and cannabis. I conducted a number of studies examining treatment outcome. This has included an in depth analysis of the outcome of heroin dependent adolescents who have availed of treatment involving opioid agonist medications. This research is important internationally as this young patient group are very high risk but have historically been very small in number, the research evidence base being consequently sparse. My research has added important evidence regarding the impacts and limitations of this treatment. I was invited to an international conference in Poland to deliver a plenary lecture to discuss this work in 2019. The arrival and departure of head shops, which sold NPS, in Ireland in 2010 provided an opportunity for a natural experiment of our policies. I completed a number of studies examining the harms related to NPS. These studies provide evidence supporting a positive public health impact arising from the Irish legislative response, as NPS related addiction declined in young people and drug related psychiatric and medical admissions also diminished upon closure of head shops. This clashes somewhat with the current vogue for liberalising drug policy and has important international policy implications. A key focus of my research in recent years has been on cannabis. This corpus of work has involved a diverse collaborations and varied research methodologies. This includes highly cited papers on neurobiological correlates of adolescent cannabis use, qualitative studies characterising the experience of adolescent cannabis dependence and examination of treatment outcomes. In the past two years, I have been collaborating with researchers from the Health Research Board conducting secondary analysis of a number of HRB datasets. This has generated three publications in international journals & this work continues. In addition to new empirical research on cannabis, I have published commentary regarding policy in international scientific journals. Following invitation by the editorial team in the BMJ, I led a team to debate the decriminalization of cannabis with a particular focus on youth mental health. I have been invited to deliver a plenary lecture at Nordic Summit on Cannabis in 2021 and will be co-hosting a symposium on cannabis at the International Congress of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. I was invited onto the advisory board of the International Academy on the Science and Impact of Cannabis. More locally, this research has been useful in characterising the nature and extent of cannabis related problems in Ireland and has hopefully contributed to government policy decisions to gradually expand the network of adolescent addiction treatment services in Ireland. In addition to the aforementioned ongoing collaboration with the HRB, I have recently commenced research studies with the National Suicide Research Foundation, conducting secondary analysis if their databases on self-harm.