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APSAD Conference app is now available to download

2 Weeks to go to kick off for this year's APSAD Conference. Download the conference app to start planning sessions and put together your own schedule!

for further details regarding the APSAD Conference visit the the conference website 



2015 APSAD Conference Abstract Supplement is now available

Only 4 weeks to go until the APSAD Conference kicks off start planning your sessions! The free Abstract supplement in now online and ready to view.

Haven't registered yet? It is not too late visit the conference

Click here to download the Conference abstract supplement




DAR Front Cover



Late Breakers submission now CLOSED

Submissions for late-breaker abstracts  at the 2015 APSAD Conference have now closed.

Presentation time for papers will be 5 minutes to present including questions/discussions. Deadline for submission was Friday 28 August.

For further information visit our Conference website






Drug and Alcohol Review

Clinician's Corner - 

Synthetic cannabinoid withdrawal: A new demand on detoxification services

Between July 2013 and May 2014 the New Zealand Government legalised the sale of 40 synthetic cannabinoids via 156 licensed retail outlets. McFarlane and Christie report on 47 synthetic cannabis presentations at a medical detoxification service in Auckland during this period. This represented 4% of presentations (cf. 1.4% for natural cannabis).

Synthetic cannabis products are marketed as smoke-able herbal mixtures that contain inert vegetable matter infused with various psychoactive chemicals that mimic the effects of natural cannabis. McFarlane and Christie found that patients reporting smoking about five grams of synthetic cannabis per day, and smoked a variety of brands.

Around half of the patients (25 of 47) required medically supervised withdrawal. The most common withdrawal symptoms were agitation, irritability, anxiety and mood swings. Almost half reported nausea and vomiting.

Withdrawal symptoms were managed using diazepam initially (5–25 mg/day) and if this was unsuccessful, quetiapine (with doses ranging from 25 to 475 mg/day, for a mean of 8 days). Both patients and staff reported that quetiapine was more effective than diazepam at alleviating agitation, irritability and anxiety.

The observations of McFarlane and Christie suggest that synthetic cannabis use can bring about a withdrawal syndrome that may place additional demands on medically supervised withdrawal services. They point out that, at present, there is no clear evidence base for a pharmacological treatment of cannabis withdrawal.

To read more visit the full paper on the Wiley Online library.
A complimentary PDF of the article is available to APSAD members by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

†Macfarlane V, Christie G. Synthetic cannabinoid withdrawal: A new demand on detoxification services. Drug and Alcohol Review 2015;34:147-53.  

APSAD Conference Call for Abstract is OPEN


APSAD is calling for abstracts for the following presentations types; Oral |Poster | Workshop | Symposium | and our new presentation"Food for Thought" (brief Oral Presentation). 
The call for Abstracts closes on Friday 29 May for further information please visit the APSAD Conference website 


Clinician Corner January 2015 Update

A recent study by Tung et al raises concerns about a local increase in the incidence of infective endocarditis among people who inject drugs. 

Tung et al. examined recorded cases of endocarditis from a regional hospital in Australia between 2003-2006 and 2009-2013. They found that although the overall incidence of infective endocarditis decreased in the population, the incidence of infective endocarditis related to injecting drug use increased from 0.5 to 0.8 cases per 100,000 person years.

This trend stands in contrast to overall declines in injecting drug use and related cases of infective endocarditis both in Australia and elsewhere. It may reflect a local increase in the injection of drugs or it may reflect an increase in the risk of infective endocarditis among people who inject drugs.

Factors that can increase the risk of infective endocarditis include the injection of talc and other insoluble agents that are contained in pharmaceutical preparations, vasospasm and skin lesions that can occur with stimulant use, and the use of saliva as a drug dilatant. These risk factors may have be exacerbated by a local shift away from injecting heroin to injecting other drugs, such as pharmaceutical opioids, performance enhancing drugs and methamphetamine.

This recent local trend highlights the need to be vigilant for signs of infective endocarditis among people who inject drugs, and to continue to educate people who inject drugs about ways to reduce the risks for infective endocarditis (e.g., using filters, alcohol swabs and sterile dilatants), even in the context of overall declines in injecting drug use and related cases of infective endocarditis.

To read more visit the full paper on Early View.
A complimentary PDF of the article is available to APSAD members by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tung MKY, Light M, Giri R, Lane S, Appelbe A, Harvey C, Athan E. Evolving epidemiology of injecting drug use-associated infective endocarditis: A regional centre experience. Drug and Alcohol Review 2014  

Keynote Presentation now on YouTube

Keynote presentations from the 2014 APSAD Conference are now available to view on our YouTube channel!

This is a great resource if you missed the opportunity of attending the conference.

Presentations include:

  • Sarah Larney - Harm production and harm reduction in prisons and post release.
  • Glenys Dore - Involuntary Drug and Alcohol Treatment New South Wales Style.
  • Simon Adamson -  Controlled Drinking the Science and the Art.
  • Judith Prochaska - Tobacco Use Treatment Updates for Behavioural Health Populations
  • Kathleen Brady - Stress and Addictions Neurobiologic Interface
Additional keynote presentations from the 2014 Conference will be added to our YouTube channel within the coming weeks.
Don't forgot APSAD Member's can log into the "Member's Area" on our website to view the presentation slides for concurrent sessions from previous APSAD Conferences.


Visit us on YouTube 



Australian National Council on Drugs to be renamed

Australian National Council on Drugs will be renamed as the Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drugs (ANACAD) which recognises the advisory Council’s focus on alcohol as well as drugs.
“ANACAD’s key role will be to provide advice to the Government on a range of national drug and alcohol issues, including advice on emerging issues and new substances, to ensure the Government is well placed to respond.
Read the Media Release for further details


APSAD Naloxone Webinar presented by Nicholas Lintzeris


This webinar will give you the information, the confidence and the tools to start prescribing now.
Background to extended distribution of naloxone including historical, international and national context, as well as legal/prescribing issues. 
Naloxone is a well-known and long used medication to reverse effects of opiates in the event of overdose. Yet Australia lags in making this life saving drug more widely available. While scheduling change may be one longer term option, we must not let this further delay extended availability.


About our presenter
A/Prof Nicholas Lintzeris is the Director Drug & Alcohol Services, SESLHD (Sydney, Australia) and Chief Addiction Medicine Specialist for NSW Health. He is a Foundation Fellow of the Chapter of Addiction Medicine, was awarded his PhD in 2002 from the Australian National University, and completed a NHMRC Post-doctoral Fellowship at the Institute of Psychiatry and South London Maudsley NHS Trust (2002-6).
Nicholas Lintzeris has worked in the field of Addiction Medicine for over 20 years in Melbourne, Sydney and London in clinical, research and policy roles. A key focus has been the treatment of opioid dependence, contributing to National Clinical Guidelines, systematic reviews and leading several randomised controlled trials of opioid pharmacotherapies, including methadone, buprenorphine, diamorphine and LAAM.
Since returning to Australia in 2006, a particular focus of his work has been the development of treatment and policy responses to the misuse of pharmaceutical opioids, an increasing problem in Australia over this time.
He has published over 80 peer review journal papers and book chapters, and is a chief investigator in several longitudinal cohort studies of pharmaceutical opioid users.

Click on the link to view the webinar Naloxone - why YOU should be prescribing before Christmas


New e-Learning module on hepatitis C available

The Australasian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM) has launched an eLearning resource titled Diagnosing and Managing HCV in Drug and Alcohol practice”.

The resource comprises a series of 3 smaller modules each built around a case scenario typically found in the drug and alcohol setting. The first case introduces testing and diagnosis, the second case involves assessing the need for treatment whilst managing comorbidities and the third case focuses on identifying advanced liver disease, treatment pathways, monitoring and treatment outcomes. A number of Fellows of the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine have contributed to the development of these modules.

The eLearning can be accessed in the link: and is also accessible through the RACP’s MyResources gateway.

Please click on “access as a guest” to launch the 3 modules