Dr Amie Hayley is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Human Psychopharmacology at Swinburne University of Technology. Her work examines the neural, biological and clinical factors which underlie harm associated with psychoactive substance usage, and aims to identify mechanisms by which these changes translate to dangerous human behaviour.

Through her experimental work at the Drugs and Driving Research Unit (DDRU), Dr Hayley has developed a novel conceptual and practical framework to support the use of ocular metrics to index driving impairment when someone is acutely impaired by methamphetamine. Over the next four years, Dr Hayley will define how long-term use of these substances affect driving to optimise the development of technologies designed to detect and monitor driver state in real-time.

Research

Australia has one of the highest rates of methamphetamine use in the world, and the highest global prevalence of methamphetamine addiction. Methamphetamine use continues represent a sizable proportion of total health and disease burden, and its use remains overrepresented in road trauma statistics. Despite national initiatives to reduce the impact of drug-impaired driving (e.g. roadside drug testing), amphetamine is now the most commonly detected drug among drivers who are injured or killed due to road trauma.

Dr Hayley has developed novel methods to assess ocular changes relevant to safety and evaluated their suitability for identifying and monitoring performance deficits associated with methamphetamine misuse. Her research has thus far quantified the scope and impact of dangerous driving practices associated with methamphetamine use, and has identified eye-tracking technology as a novel means to monitor and index driver impairment when someone is acutely impaired by this drug. However, no framework has yet established how driving ability is impacted where patterns of methamphetamine use are chronic, complex and dynamic due to longstanding use and addiction.

With the support of the Al & Val Rosenstrauss Fellowship, Dr Hayley will conduct a two-phase multi-centre collaborative research project to comprehensively examine how chronic methamphetamine use affects skills and performance relevant to road safety, and will examine longer-term changes in these driving-related outcomes as patients with a methamphetamine use disorder move through detoxification and periods of extended abstinence. This work will significantly advance our understanding of how novel ocular-based technologies can detect and monitor driver impairment during different phases of methamphetamine use. Furthermore, it will directly contribute to the co-development of novel Driver State Monitoring Systems (DSMS) to detect methamphetamine-affected drivers in real-time. This will improve the safety of vulnerable drug user groups and will have a wider positive impact on all Australian road users.

 

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