The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs

APSAD Conference

The annual APSAD Scientific Conference plays an imporant role in the life of the Society, providing a key avenue for APSAD to promote the use of best practice approaches in the prevention, early intervention and treatment of alcohol and other drug problems.

Since 1981, APSAD has been bringing together diverse perspectives in relation to research, policy, and practice from across the alcohol and other drugs sector to share, discuss, and present on evidence-based issues.

The first annual meeting of the Society was held at the Australian National University, Canberra, 31 July to 1 August 1981. The intention was to be primarily a medically-oriented organisation established to meet the needs of medical scientists and practitioners, and endeavour to attract a broad medical membership from individuals who had a scientific or professional interest in alcohol and drug related problems, their prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

The Society recognised early on, that scientists and practitioners from other disciplines would make important contributions to such a Society, bringing a major change in focus during the first 10 years of the Society’s existence, and accepting non-medical professionals as full members. This made the society a truly multidisciplinary organisation representing all professionals involved in the drug and alcohol field.

The APSAD Conference provides an opportunity for networking and ideas sharing in a friendly and informal atmosphere with a cross-section of alcohol and other drugs workers, including; practitioners, researchers, peer workers, people with lived experience, and policymakers. The conference also contributes to building capacity and capability in alcohol and other drugs by providing opportunities for engagement and learnings from early to mid career, and more experienced researchers and clinicians.

In 2021 the Society, the annual Conference, and the Drug and Alcohol Review all celebrated 40 years.

In 2024 the conference will be held on Ngunnawal Country (Canberra) on 30 October - 2 November, and for the first time in twenty years will run Wednesday to Saturday.

For more information visit the current conference webpage or visit the APSAD Conference website.

Join the Conference mailing list on to get regular updates sent directly to your inbox. 

The APSAD Conference program each year includes;

  • Keynote /Plenary speakers
  • James Rankin Oration
  • Four Concurrent streams
  • Poster session/s including Poster Tours hosted by keynote speakers
  • Poster Highlights session/s; poster presenters have one minute and one slide to promote their poster during a plenary session
  • Late Breaking sessions; including a Late Breaking prize judged by members of the Scientific Advisory Committee
  • Food for Thought; presentations on case studies, clinical perspectives, new programs or services, and consumer viewpoints

One of APSAD Council's important annual responsibilities is to select the James Rankin Orator. This annual oration is held as part of the APSAD Conference and honours a significant contributor to research, practice, and or policy in Australasian alcohol and drugs.

APSAD members receive a significant discount registration to the APSAD Scientific Conference. 

If your membership has lapsed or you wish to become a member of APSAD please visit our Membership page for further information.