Dr Hughes is a criminologist and Senior Research Fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. She works as part of the multi-disciplinary Drug Policy Modelling Program (DPMP) which seeks to improve Australian drug policy by identifying what works, translating research evidence and engaging directly with policy makers. Dr Hughes' prime focus is improving understanding of the effects of different legislative regimes and law enforcement approaches, and the role of law enforcement relative to other aspects of drug policy.
Projects include: the impacts of the Portuguese decriminalisation of illicit drug use; mapping out police and criminal justice diversionary policies throughout Australia; identifying optimum policing responses for responding to MDMA and determining legal thresholds for serious drug trafficking offences. Projects have often been undertaken in collaboration with Australian policy makers, including Queensland Health and Police, NSW Police and the ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety, or international organisations, including the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Other interests include analysing the policy processes by which drug policy reform occurs.
Broad Research Areas:
Crime policy, Drug law enforcement, Drug markets, Drug Related Harm
BA (Hons), BSc, PhD
Society Memberships & Professional Activities:
Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology; European Society of Criminology; UNSW Criminology and Criminal Justice Research Network ; International Society for the Study of Drug Policy; and Of Substance Editorial Reference Group.
Specific Research Keywords:
Drug policy; Drug laws; Policing and criminal justice responses; Drug trafficking and organised crime; Public policy; Crime policy