SABAA: Substance use, Alcohol and Behavioural addictions in Autism

SABAA is an SSA funded project bringing together experts to explore the links between autism, addictive behaviour and substance use disorders.

There are over 700,000 autistic people* in the UK, a recent systematic review suggested that the rates of substance use among autistic people could be as high as 36%. Very little is known about the overlap between autistic people and their mental health and addiction needs.

The project aims:

  1. To convene a Priority Setting Partnership to identify and prioritise the evidence uncertainties surrounding substance use disorders (SUD), and behavioural addictions in autistic people
  2. Reach consensus on a final list of research and policy priorities in this area and to publicise them widely
  3. To produce a toolkit template to facilitate priority setting for researchers and policy makers in other areas of addiction (e.g. recovery worker competencies), using a consistent methodology


*We have chosen to use first-person language but understand there is no universally accepted way to describe autism

More information

SABAA project and the overlap between autism and addiction: Julia Sinclair talks to the SSA

Behavioural addictions are still relatively new in terms of their definitions as disorders…at the moment, very little is known about where that overlaps about some of the behavioural traits of autistic people SABAA is an SSA funded project looking at the overlap between autism and addiction. The project aims to identify research gaps and priorities

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The SABAA survey

Read more about the project and access the survey here