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Director, Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drug Research Unit, SAMRC, South African Medical Research Council

Charles Parry is a substance abuse epidemiologist/policy analyst. Since 2001 he has served as the Director of the Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drug Research
Unit of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and was Acting Vice President for Intramural Research at the SAMRC between 2012 and 2014.
Trained in South Africa and the USA in clinical/community psychology and mathematical statistics he has published over 290 indexed journal articles and coauthored two books: Alcohol Policy & Public Health in South Africa and Alcohol and the Developing World: A public Health Perspective. His current research centres on alcohol and drug epidemiology, burden of disease and policy (including alcohol policy indicators); alcohol use and HIV/TB treatment; and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of Substance Abuse: Treatment, Prevention & Policy; Substance Abuse & Rehabilitation; the African Journal of Drug & Alcohol Studies, Substance Abuse & Rehabilitation, the International Journal of Alcohol & Drug Research, and International Journal of Drug Science, Policy & Law. He has advised provincial/national government on a variety of issues related to alcohol and drug policy. Since 2006 he has been a member of the World Health Organization’s Expert Panel on Drug Dependence and Alcohol Problems, and in 2010 was appointed to the board of the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance (GAPA). Between 2009 and 2016 he was a member of the Global Science Group, European Commission Research on Addiction in Contemporary European Society initiative. Since 2015 he has also served on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the UNODC World Drug Report, and in 2020 joined the International Advisory Board for the Shaping Public Health Policies to Reduce Inequalities & Harm Consortium (SPECTRUM). He holds a National Research Foundation B1 rating (Internationally Acclaimed Researcher – Level 1). He is a Member of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa.


  • –present
    Extraordinary Professor in Psychiatry, Stellenbosch University


SAMRC Gold Medal recipient 2017