About Us

Welcome to the Behavioural Pharmacology Laboratory (also known as the Drug Abuse Lab). We are located at Victoria University of Wellington under the leadership of Professor Susan Schenk.

We are interested in studying the factors that contribute to the initiation, maintenance and relapse to drug abuse. Most of our work has measured the effects of MDMA. The questions of interest are:

1. Are some individuals more susceptible to drug abuse than others? What are the factors that predispose some individuals to drug abuse? Are these factors genetic or environmental or both?

2. Is there a “switch” from drug use to drug abuse and, if so, what is the nature of the “switch”? Is there a way to reverse the process using drug therapies?

3. What are the factors that control relapse to drug abuse? Can the risk of relapse be decreased using drug therapies?

Please explore our website to learn about how our research is helping to answer some of these questions.