Nothing about us without us - ShARRP

Nothing about us without us - ShARRP - 23/03/2021

The Sheffield Addiction Recovery Research Panel (ShARRP) is a group of individuals with personal experience of substance use as well as carers, partners or family of those who have been affected by addiction. Panel members volunteer their time to meet on a bi-monthly basis to consider and review current and future research within the drug and alcohol sector, aiming to ensure the voices of those with first-hand experience are central to any work conducted.

The phrase ‘nothing about us without us’ has been used to explain that it is morally and ethically right that those who are affected by research have a right to influence both what is researched and how this is done. The main purpose of the ShARRP is to empower those with relevant first hand experience to shape how drug and alcohol related research is undertaken. Involving people with this first hand experience can help researchers make sure that the design of their research is relevant, that it is participant friendly and ethically sound. Panel members contribute additional expertise and give valuable, novel insights.

Initially set up by Andy Irving when he was working at the University of Sheffield, ShARRP is now facilitated by their research lead, Beth Collinson and panel host, Sarah Wilmott. Beth explained how the pandemic has meant the panel has been opened up to a broader range of researchers across the UKas a result of meetings currently being virtualThe switch has also supported some panel members, as they have been able to contribute to meetings without having to travel from home.

Beth explained that the panel is always looking for new members to join them. Current panel members have commented that being involved with ShARRP has given them a new focus in recovery, and a different way to contribute and give back to the community. The panel welcomes new potential members attending a meeting to get a sense for the work they do.

Alongside addiction and recovery research, the panel also looks more broadly at health and social inequalities, and have recently contributed to research around smoking, gambling and suicide prevention, adding value and creative and innovative ideas to research in these fields.

Recently, the panel has been involved in an evaluation of the Scottish Minimum Pricing policy introduction in Scotland, providing important insights into the following areas: the study design; how participants could be sensitively approached and recruited; how literature for participants could be presented to promote inclusivity; as well as many other aspects of the study. The panel has also been involved in the Take home naloxone intervention trial, also known as the TIME study - looking at the provision of take-home naloxone kits for opiate users at risk of overdose. This has involved discussions on how best to research this highly sensitive area to ensure that the study places the participants and those it represents, at the centre of the research study. 

If you are interested in finding out more about the work of ShARRP, visit:; find them on Twitter @ShARRPresearch; or contact Beth Collinson:


Alison Wise for Help us Help, March 2021