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Drug and alcohol use among young people. What can parents and schools do to prevent the harms?

Drug and alcohol use among young people. What can parents and schools do to prevent the harms? 

Webinar | Tuesday 19th May, 2015: 2PM AEST

presented by Dr Nicola Newton and Dr Lexine Stapinski

Every year, one in four Australian teenagers puts themselves at risk of harm through drug and alcohol use. Research at CREMS shows that these harms can be reduced by school-based prevention programs. 

This webinar presents the latest research findings on drug and alcohol use among Australian teenagers. You will learn about the research evidence showing which strategies effectively prevent harm from drug and alcohol use. By attending this webinar, you will also gain access to practical tools and resources that are proven to reduce harm. If you're a teacher, parent, principal, counsellor or any other professional working with young people, this webinar will be valuable for you. 

Registration for this webinar is essential, as places are limited. To register for this webinar, click here


A free workshop for experienced AOD clinicians

JANE MORTON presents

Working with clients who have high levels of emotional and interpersonal disturbance Thursday 18 June 9.30am-4.30pm at 142 Gertrude St, Fitzroy.

This one-day workshop explores the Making Waves model of practice developed at Turning Point to address the needs of AOD clients with whose treatment provides additional challenges because of issues such as self-harm, intense emotionality and/or difficult interpersonal relationships. The approach is based on the Wise Choices treatment package, an adaptation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, developed by Spectrum personality disorder service, to meet the needs of clients with symptoms of borderline personality disorder. This approach has now been trialled in a range of settings (mental health, drug and alcohol, community health and forensic) and with a range of ages (adolescents and adults). It is an approach that is relatively easy to learn and which is useful across a wide range of mental health issues as well as AOD treatment.

The training is suitable for clinicians with five or more years of experience who would like to explore how to use acceptance, mindfulness and values-based action approaches with a wide range of clients, including those with severe emotional and interpersonal difficulties. It is suitable for clinicians who are new to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as well as those with previous training or experience with ACT. We would especially encourage those in supervisory roles to attend.

Attendees will learn:

  • How to identify heart-felt life directions which can energise treatment
  • Simple mindfulness and acceptance techniques for dealing with difficult thoughts and feelings
  • Exercises to help clients notice choice points and make wiser choices
  • How understanding the function and context of drug and alcohol use, self-harm and other self-damaging choices can guide treatment

Jane Morton is a clinical psychologist with over thirty years’ experience in treating clients with severe interpersonal and emotional difficulties in public sector settings. She was lead author of the consultants’ report which led to the establishment of Spectrum – the personality disorder service for Victoria, and lead author of a report which formed the basis of Take Two, a therapeutic service for children and young people in out of home care. She was training manager at Spectrum for over ten years and has provided consultation and training to Turning Point and Eastern Drug and Alcohol Service staff during the trial of the Wise Choices treatment approach for the Making Waves Project. 


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve your place

making waves


PhD Scholarship opportunity – Risk Based Licensing and alcohol-related harm in Australia

A PhD Scholarship is available as part of an ARC-funded study evaluating risk-based schemes for the sale of alcohol at on-licensed premises in Australia. The Scholarship will be administered by The University of Newcastle’s School of Medicine & Public Health.
The scholar will work under the primary supervision of Prof Kypros Kypri ( ). The scholarship is on a full-time basis for 3 years in Newcastle’s PhD program and includes two semesters of part-time course work in epidemiology and biostatistics in addition to a thesis, preparing the candidate for a public health research career. The successful candidate will undertake research into the effects of changes in liquor licensing on rates of assault and other disorder in Australian cities.
This national project is led by A/Professor Peter Miller, of Deakin University, and Professor Tanya Chikritzhs, of the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University. There will be opportunities for the candidate to spend time at Deakin and Curtin as part of their training in the epidemiology of alcohol-related harm and evaluation of policy responses.
Suitable candidates will have at least a 1st class Honours Degree (or equivalent) in a behavioural science, social science, public health, or statistics, and a desire and aptitude for training in quantitative research methods in relation to health or social problems.
Study Subject: Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Public Health
To be undertaken at: University of Newcastle, HMRI Building
Open for applications from 20 April 2015 until 15 June 2015.
Payment Information
The value of this scholarship is $25406 per annum. This award is to be used for living expenses. This scholarship is paid fortnightly for a period of 3 years.
Research Information
It is required that your study starts no earlier than 1 Jul 2015 and no later than 31 Aug 2015.
This scholarship is for study in Australia for those who have achieved Honours 1 or equivalent or hold a Masters Degree with Credit or Distinction. Only citizens of Australia or permanent residents of Australia can apply.
Application Details
To apply for this scholarship you must apply directly to the main contact (below). Terms and conditions are subject to change.
Main Contact
Professor Kypros Kypri
School of Medicine & Public Health
University of Newcastle, Australia
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
+ 61 2 4042 0536


The National Methamphetamine Symposium: Making Research Work in Practice

Are you struggling with how to respond to meth users?

Interested in the latest research on meth use, treatment and policy, and how you can apply it to your work?

 NCETA’s The National Methamphetamine Symposium: Making Research Work in Practice is being held in Melbourne on 12 May 2015.

 How To Register

The cost of attending the Symposium is: $195-00 (incl GST). This includes a resource package, morning and afternoon tea and lunch.

Registering for The National Methamphetamine Symposium: Making Research Work in Practice involves two steps:

  1. Complete the online registration form at
  2. Pay your registration fees. The preferred method of payment is using the Flinders University’s online IPAY system. Please click on and go to the payment options section.

 Registrations will only be complete after payment has been received and processed. NCETA will send an email confirming your full registration once payment is received.The closing date for registrations is Friday 8 May 2015.  PLACES ARE LIMITEDPlease contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone: (08) 201 7535 if you require further assistance and/or have any questions about the registration and payment process.


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 


Position Vacant - Clinical Services Manager here at the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre

This is an incredible opportunity for senior nurse managers with initiative and enthusiasm to work at a cutting edge harm reduction service. Anyone working in a local health district or for NSW Health can transfer entitlements across.

Applications closes on 8 March 

For further information download the Position Description 


Survey for service providers working with adolescents with co-occurring PTSD and substance use

Researchers at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales are currently undertaking a research project examining the perspectives of service providers on working with adolescents with co-occurring posttraumatic stress disorder and substance use. Little is known about the perspectives of service providers in Australia in treating adolescents with these co-occurring problems. They hope that this survey will assist in improving the experiences of service providers working in this very important area.

Please see the attached advertisement for more information. To complete the survey please click on the hyperlink below or copy and paste it into a new browser window:

Download for further information 



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  

Position Vacant

Staff Specialist/Senior Staff Specialist  Head of Department Drug Health for 5 years (extendable) - Closing Date is the 6 February 

An exciting opportunity exists for the right candidate to provide clinical and medical leadership to Drug Health Services within South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD).This position will provide leadership for clinical addiction medicine services, leadership in public health initiatives, guide evidenced based practice and develop partnerships with other healthcare providers to enhance service delivery to the population of  SWSLHD.

The Medical Director will work in partnership with the General Manager Drug Health, Senior Managers and staff to ensure a unified approach to the clinical governance, leadership and direction of Drug Health Services.
Click Here for further information  |  Download Position Description