John B. Saunders is Professor and Consultant Physician in Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine, with appointments at the University of Queensland and University of Sydney, and with the Wesley and St. John of God hospital groups in Australia.

He graduated in pharmacology and medicine from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. He undertook specialist training in internal medicine, gastroenterology and liver disease, and addiction medicine in the UK. After a period as an academic medical specialist in the UK, he took up an appointment at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the University of Sydney in 1984.

He was appointed Professor of Alcohol and Drug Studies at the University of Queensland in 1996 and was a service director for Queensland Health until 2005. His career as a clinician, service director, researcher and academic in the internal medicine and addictive disorders now extends back 40 years.

He has extensive clinical experience in hospital and community settings, and his research encompasses screening and early diagnosis, brief interventions, susceptibility to alcohol- and drug-related disorders, alcohol- and drug-related medical disorders, treatment of alcohol, opioid and psychostimulant dependence, and medical education in addiction studies.


He has worked with the World Health Organization since the early 1980s and was responsible for developing the AUDIT questionnaire. He has been a member of the ICD-10 and ICD 11 substance and addictive disorders workgroups. He was Co-Chair of the DSM-5 Substance Use Disorders Workgroup from 2003 to 2008. He has been a member of many state and federal Australian Government committees, including the Australian National Council on Drugs (2001-2007), reporting to the Prime Minister of Australia.


He is Founding and Emeritus Editor-in-Chief of the Drug and Alcohol Review, and Section Editor for Addictive Disorders for Current Opinion in Psychiatry. He has published six books, including “Addiction Medicine” and over 360 research papers, articles, reviews and book chapters in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. In 2005 he was recognised as a highly cited scientist, and now has cumulative citations of over 32,000 and an h index of 65.