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Addictions Department Staff

Dr James Bell

Consultant in Addiction Medicine




JamesBellDr James Bell is a Consultant Physician for SLaM’s Addiction Services, and works in the Party Drugs Clinic, Specialist Drug Clinic and Supervised Injecting Clinic. He is involved in managing complex cases and developing novel treatments.

Other roles

He established the Party Drugs Clinic and pioneered outpatient management for withdrawal from GBL. Dr Bell contributed to the Orange Guidelines 2007 and has written reports for the World Health Organization on the treatment of opioid dependence. He is a Visiting Senior Lecturer at the National Addiction Centre


Dr Bell graduated in Arts and in Medicine at Sydney University and completed a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He qualified as a Consultant Physician with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and was a Foundation Fellow of the Chapter of Addiction Medicine. Before relocating to the UK to take up a post at the Trust, he was the Director of the Drug and Alcohol Program for the South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service.

In 1999, Dr Bell was awarded the Dole-Nyswander Award by the American Association for the Treatment of Opiate Dependence. In 2005, he received the Senior Scientist Award from the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and Drugs. He led the formation of the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine and was its president in 2008.


Current research interests are focused on reducing relapse in alcohol dependence and in people who have become dependent on party drugs. In previous research he has been involved in investigating how the delivery of treatment influences outcomes. He has undertaken clinical trials on the treatment of alcohol dependence, opioid dependence and the management of comorbid depression in drug-dependent people. He has also published a large number of observational studies that analyse the influence of treatment factors on outcomes.


Bell J, Seres V, Bowran P, et al (1988) The use of serum methadone levels in patients on methadone maintenance. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 43; 6: 623-630

Bell J, The E, Patel A, et al (1988) The identification of at-risk drinking in a teaching hospital. Medical Journal of Australia, 149; 351-355

Bell J, Cumming R (1989) Drinking habits in Sydney’s western suburbs. Australian Drug & Alcohol Review, 8; 1: 9-14

Dwyer D, Bell J, Batey R, et al (1989) Low prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus infection in methadone programme attenders and pregnant intravenous drug users in the western metropolitan region of Sydney. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Medicine, 19; 407-408.

Bell J, Fernandes D, Batey R (1990) Heroin users seeking methadone treatment. Medical Journal of Australia, 152; 361-364

Bell J, Bowran P, Lewis J, Batey R (1990) Serum methadone levels in maintenance patients who persist in illicit drug use. British Journal of Addiction, 85; 12: 1599-1602

Bell J, Batey R, Crewe E, Cunningham A, Farrell G, Byth K (1990) Hepatitis C in intravenous drug users. Medical Journal of Australia, 153; 274-276

Caplehorn J, Bell J (1991) Methadone dosage and retention in maintenance treatment. Medical Journal of Australia, 154; 195-199

Bell J (1991) Pain and addiction. Drug and Alcohol Review 1991, 10; 247-252

Bell J (1991) The prevalence of at-risk drinking in general hospitals. Clinical Biochemist Monograph No. 5, 31-33

Bell J, Wyndham L, (eds). Screening for drug abuse - a community challenge. Clinical Biochemist Monograph No. 5, 1991.

Bell J, Batey R (1992) Medicine and the addictions. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Medicine, 22; 202-203

Bell J, DiGiusto E, Byth K (1992) Who should receive methadone maintenance? British Journal of Addiction, 87; 689-694

Bell J, Hall W, Byth K (1992). Changes in criminal activity after entering methadone maintenance. British Journal of Addiction, 87; 251-258

Bell J (1992) Treatment dependence: preliminary description of yet another syndrome. British Journal of Addiction, 87; 1049-1054

Caplehorn J, Bell J, Kleinbaum A, Gebski V (1993) Methadone dose and heroin use during maintenance treatment. Addiction, 88; 119-124

Hall W, Bell J, Carless J (1993) Crime and drug use among applicants for methadone maintenance. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 31; 123-129

Robertson M, Bell J (1993) Are rapid benzodiazepine detoxifications unsafe? (letter to the editor) Medical Journal of Australia, 158; 578-579

Bell J, Caplehorn J, McNeil D (1994) The effect of intake procedures on performance in methadone maintenance. Addiction, 463-472

Bell J, Chan J, Kuk A (1995) Investigating the effect of treatment philosophy on outcome of methadone maintenance. Addiction, 90; 823-830

Bell J (1995) Lessons from a training programme for methadone prescribers. Medical Journal of Australia, 162; 143-144

Howard K, Bell J, & Christie M (1995) Measuring drug use in methadone maintenance programmes. Drug and Alcohol Review, 14; 27-34 Bell, J (1995) Codependency (letter) Drug and Alcohol Review, 14; 240-241

Bell J, Ward J, Mattick RP, Hay A, Chan J, and Hall W (1995) An evaluation of private methadone clinics. National Drug Strategy Research Report No 4, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra

Bell J (1996) Alternatives to non-clinical regulation; training doctors to prescribe methadone. Addiction Research, 3; 4: 315-322

Bell J (1996) Why do people use drugs? in, Wilkinson, C., and Saunders, B. (eds) Perspectives On Addiction. William Montgomery Press, Perth

Ward J, Bell J, Mattick P, and Hall W (1996) Methadone maintenance therapy for opioid dependence; a guide to appropriate use. CNS Drugs, 6: 6; 440-449

Bell, J (1997) Australian trends in opioid prescribing for chronic, non-cancer pain, 1986-1996. Medical Journal of Australia 167; 26-29

Bell J, Mattick RP, Chan J, Hay A, Hall W (1997) Methadone maintenance and drug related crime. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 9; 15-25

Chan JSK, Kuk AYC & Bell J (1997) A likelihood approach to analysing longitudinal bivariate binary data. Biometrical Journal 39 (4), 409-421

Chan JSK, Kuk AYC, Bell J, & McGilchrist C (1998) The analysis of methadone clinic data using marginal and conditional logistic models with mixture or random effects. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Statistics, 40 (1): 1-10

Cadman M & Bell J (1998) Doctors detected self-administering opioids in New South Wales, 1985-1994; characteristics and outcomes. Medical Journal of Australia 169; 419-421

Mattick RP, Bell J, Daws LC, White JM, O’Brien S, & Harris S (1998) Review of the effectiveness of antagonists in managing opioid dependence. NDARC Monograph #34, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Sydney

Bell J, Young M, Masterman S, Morris A, Mattick RP, & Bammer G (1999) A pilot study of naltrexone-accelerated detoxification in opioid dependence. Medical Journal of Australia, 171; 26-30

Bell J & Zador D (2000) A risk-benefit analysis of methadone maintenance treatment. Drug Safety 22 (3); 179-190

Bell J (2000) Quality improvement for methadone maintenance treatment. Substance Use and Misuse 35; 1735-1756

Glasgow NJ, Taylor J, Bell J, Young M, & Bammer G (2001) Accelerated withdrawal from methadone maintenance therapy using naltrexone and minimal sedation: a case series analysis. Drug and Alcohol Review, 20 (2) 213-222

Bell J, Dru A, Fischer B, Levit S, & Sarfraz, MA (2002) Substitution therapy for heroin addiction Substance Use and Misuse 37 (8-10); 1145-1174

Dean AJ, Bell J, Mascord DJ, Parker G, & Christie MJ. (2002) A randomised, controlled trial of fluoxetine in methadone maintenance patients with depressive symptoms. Journal of Affective Disorders, 72; 85-90

Lintzeris N, Bell J, Bammer G, Jolly D, & Rushworth L (2002) A randomised, controlled trial of buprenorphine in the management of short-term ambulatory heroin withdrawal. Addiction, 97; 1395-1404

Breen CL, Harris SJ, Lintzeris N, Mattick RP, Hawken L, Bell J, Ritter AJ, Lenne M, & Mendoza E (2003) Cessation of methadone maintenance treatment using buprenorphine: transfer from methadone to buprenorphine and subsequent buprenorphine reductions. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 71; 49-55

Gibson AE, Doran CM, Bell JR, Ryan A, & Lintzeris M (2003) A comparison of buprenorphine treatment in specialist and primary care settings: a randomised trial. Medical Journal of Australia179; 38-42

Doran CM, Shanahan M, Mattick RP, Ali R, White J, Bell J (2003). Buprenorphine versus methadone maintenance: a cost-effectiveness analysis Drug and Alcohol Dependence 71; 3: 295-302

Rea F, Bell J, Young M, & Mattick R (2004). A randomised, placebo-controlled trial of different dose levels of naltrexone for the treatment of opioid dependence Drug and Alcohol Dependence 75; 79-88

Doran CM, Shanahan M, Bell J, et al. (2004) A cost-effectiveness analysis of buprenorphine-assisted heroin withdrawal DRUG AND ALCOHOL REVIEW 23; 2: 171-175

Bell J, Byron G, Gibson A, & Morris A (2004) A pilot study of buprenorphine-naloxone combination tablet (Suboxone) in treatment of opioid dependence. Drug and Alcohol Review 23; 311-317

Dean AJ, Bell JR, Christie M, & Mattick RP (2004) Depressive symptoms during buprenorphine versus methadone maintenance: Findings from a randomized, controlled trial in opioid dependence. European Psychiatry 19; 510-513

Bell J, Burrell T, Indig D, & Gilmour S (2006) Cycling in and out of treatment; participation in methadone treatment in NSW, 1990-2002 Drug and Alcohol Dependence 81; 55-61

Bell J & Burrell T (2006) Retention and attendance with Supervised Buprenorphine Treatment; a case note review Drug and Alcohol Review 25; 161-165

Bell J & Mutch C (2006) Treatment retention in adolescent patients treated with methadone or buprenorphine for opioid dependence; a file review Drug and Alcohol Review 25; 167-171

Bell J & Dunlop A (2006) Managing opioid dependence in pregnant women. In, NSW Dept of Health Managing opioid dependence in pregnant women Background papers to the National clinical guidelines for the management of drug use during pregnancy, birth, and the early development years of the newborn. NSW Dept of Health, Sydney

Morley K, Teesson M, Reid S, Sannibale C, Thomson C, Phung Nghi, Weltman M, Bell J, Richardson K, Haber P (2006) Naltrexone versus acamprosate in the treatment of alcohol dependence; a multi-centre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial Addiction 101 (10); 1451-1462

Ryan G, Lyon P, Kumar K, Bell J, Barnet S, Shaw T (2007) Online CME: An effective alternative to face-to-face delivery. Medical Teacher 29(8):e251-7, Oct.

Bell J, Shanahan M, Mutch C, Rea F, Ryan A, Batey R, Dunlop A, Winstock A (2007) A randomised trial of effectiveness and cost effectiveness of observed versus unobserved administration of buprenorphine-naloxone for heroin dependence Addiction 102; 1899-1907

Bell J & Harvey-Dodds L (2008) Pregnancy and injecting drug use BMJ 336; 1303-1305

Burns, L Randall DA, Hall WD, Law MG, Butler AG, Bell JR, Degenhardt L (2008) Opioid agonist pharmacotherapy in New South Wales from 1985 to 2006: Patient characteristics and patterns and predictors of treatment retention. Drug and Alcohol Dependence

Bell J, Trinh L, Butler B, Randall D, Rubin G (2009) Comparing retention in treatment and mortality in people after initial entry to methadone and buprenorphine treatment Addiction104; 1193-1200

Bell J, Butler B, Lawrance A, Batey R, Salmelainen P (2009) Comparing overdose mortality associated with methadone and buprenorphine treatment Drug and Alcohol Dependence 104; 1-2:73-77

Jason White, James Bell, John B. Saunders, Paul Williamson, Maria Makowskac, Aaron Farquharson, Katherine L. Beebe (2009) Open-label Dose-Finding Trial of Buprenorphine Implants (Probuphine)® for Treatment of Heroin Dependence Drug and Alcohol Dependence 103; 37-43

Bell, J., Shearer, J., Ryan, A., Graham, R., Korompay, K., Rizzo, S., Sindhusake, D., & Somogyi, AA (2009) The acceptability, safety and tolerability of methadone/naloxone in a 50:1 ratio Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology 17:3; 146153

Degenhardt, L., Larance, B., Bell, J., Winstock, A., Lintzeris, N., Ali, R., Scheuer, N., & Mattick, R. (2009). Injection of OST in Australia following the introduction of a mixed partial agonist-antagonist opioid medication Med J Aust 191 (3): 161-165

Mammen K and Bell J (2009) The clinical efficacy and abuse potential of combination buprenorphine–naloxone in the treatment of opioid dependence Expert Opinion in Pharmacotherapy 2009, Vol. 10, No. 15, Pages 2537-2544

Shearer, J., Mammen, K., & Bell, J. (2010) The acceptability of combined methadone-naloxone treatment: consumer and provider views on the potential utility of methadone-naloxone Drug and Alcohol Review 29; 138-143

Bell J (2010) The global diversion of pharmaceutical drugs. Opiate treatment and the diversion of pharmaceutical opiates: a clinician’s perspective. Addiction (in press)

Bell J & Collins R Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) dependence and withdrawal Addiction (in press)



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