The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs

News & Media

Call for Papers

DAR Front CoverAre you conducting research on novel synthetic opioids?

If so, we would love to hear from you!

Drug and Alcohol Review are calling for expressions of interest (EOI) for papers to be included in a Special Issue on “Understanding the emergence and impact of novel synthetic opioids and how to reduce associated harms”.  Our aim is that this Special Issue will provide empirical evidence on the following for novel synthetic opioids (e.g., fentanyl analogues, nitazenes): emergence of substances; market characteristics; patterns of use and broader contexts and drivers of use; harms from use; and individual and population-level strategies to reduce harms.
The EOIs are expected to be no more than 1-2 pages and are due by 5 August 2024, with outcomes advised within four weeks. If your EOI is accepted, papers will need to be submitted by 25 November 2024, and will undergo the usual peer review process.
Click here for more information.

Correction - June APSAD newsletter

Correction: In the version of the below article sent with the June APSAD newsletter, IDRS was incorrectly spelt out as the Intellectual Disability Rights Service instead of the Illicit Drug Reporting System. We apologise for this error and the corrected article is included below.


Western Australia Representative Update

Hello from the state with a never-ending summer, where we have only just seen the start of some wind, rain and storms that never come. I look at the weather map each day, then shiver in comradery with many of you as I step out into the winter sun.

A significant change is coming for the alcohol and other drug (AOD) sector in WA.

As of 1 July 2024, a new Office of Alcohol and Other Drugs will be established. The Office will sit inside the Mental Health Commission and be responsible for influencing future policy and strategy to strengthen action on AOD issues across Western Australia.

The establishment of the Office was a result of the 2022 Independent Review of the WA Health System Governance, which found AOD governance needed improvement. It recommended dedicated leadership, stronger accountability and better collaboration on planning, funding and performance, transparency and impactful leadership. In response, a package of reforms was announced that included establishing a working group to consider optimum governance arrangements for AOD into the future and to respond to calls and concerns from the sector to lift the prominence and profile of the AOD sector within the Mental Health Commission.

The Cook Government is also clear in their commitment to decreasing the harm associated with alcohol and other drugs, and to elevate the focus on AOD within the health and mental health systems.

Great segway, as I am excited to be sitting on the steering committee for the Development of the National Practice Standards, an initiative that aims to support AOD services and practitioners in providing evidence-based support to clients with co-occurring mental health conditions, driven by the fabulous Dr Christina Marel and the Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use. I have assisted in identifying WA steering committee candidates and it is exciting to see so many key WA AOD agencies leading the charge, who conscientiously implement WA state practice standards and developing AOD strategies and frameworks, aiming to provide clients with a one doorway access, clear supported referral pathways and recognition that mental wellbeing needs to encompass all aspects of the person.

My ‘baby’ of take-home naloxone is never far, so I am really pleased to see the latest Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System and Illicit Drug Reporting System reports showing that Western Australians who use heroin and other drugs have increased awareness of naloxone availability and have been trained to use it (I may have trained the odd few over the last 10 years). The percent reporting ever using naloxone to resuscitate someone who had overdosed significantly increased to 44%, with 24% of participants having done so in the past year.


WA update

Staying with naloxone, the 2023 Council of Ambulance Authorities Awards for Excellence awarded the National Excellence in Clinical Practice award to St John Ambulance WA (SJAWA) for the groundbreaking first, and only of its kind in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere, ‘Leave behind naloxone’ Project. A joint initiative between the Mental Health Commission and SJAWA, to provide a clinical model of patient centred care and safety net for vulnerable people who use opioids and refuse transport to hospital, which saw the State Operations Centre adapt its call taking processes, clinical guidance and internal systems protocols and implement the ability to ‘leave behind naloxone’. This initiative has reduced opioid related harms and deaths in WA and has seen other positive outcomes including reduced need for police attendance at overdose; a reduction in ambulance transportation to emergency departments (ED) at peak times, which aides a return of ambulances to respond to the community; positive relationship building between SJAWA and people at risk of overdose and community resilience building.

We have the annual WA Addiction Symposium in October 2024, where I will be presenting on the topical landscape of novel and counterfeit benzodiazepines, the second highest drug class being detected at Australian drug checking services. With novel opioids also increasing in detections, it will be an important harm reduction conversation for doctors, pain specialists and pharmacists to consider with patients.

The Emerging Drugs Network Australia (EDNA) is very pleased to announce that it will be contributing data to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). EDNA is a national toxicosurveillance and reporting system of illicit and emerging drugs involved in ED presentations. The key benefit is its capacity to improve detection, monitoring and tactical responses to emerging drug-related threats in the community via rapid laboratory confirmed toxicology data. Dr Jess Soderstrom – Royal Perth Hospital Head Toxicologist and ED physician, notes that since EDNA commenced in Western Australia in April 2020, it has detected a total of 476 novel psychoactive substances across 306 ED presentations, including 46 different types of novel benzodiazepines, designer stimulants and psychedelics, synthetic cannabinoids and more recently, novel opioid detections involved in ED presentations and deaths across multiple states.

The EDNA national network, together with expanded and additional state-based toxicosurviellance systems (EDNA-Victoria and the New South Wales Prescription, Recreational and Illicit Substance Evaluation program), have commenced contribution of novel psychoactive substance detections from ED presentations across six Australian states to the UNODC SMART Forensics. SMART Forensics provides science-based responses to drug-related challenges by identifying and communicating emerging global drug-related threats to relevant stakeholders worldwide through its early warning system. This is the first time Australia has developed the scientific and collaborative capacity to contribute this type of information to the UNODC’s global surveillance network.

I look forward to seeing you all at the APSAD Symposium in Melbourne, I will bring my umbrella!


Grace Oh

Western Australia APSAD Council Representative
Australian Drug Education & Consultancy, Perth, Australia




APSAD Awards banner 2


To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the APSAD Awards we are excited to announce the new Lived and Living Experience Award. 

The Lived and Living Experience Award recognises an individual that has made an important contribution to clinical practice, research, training, prevention, or policy in their role as someone with lived experience working or volunteering in the area of substance use or harm reduction services.

Details for the Lived and Living Experience Award:

  • APSAD Membership is not a prerequisite, nor is it of any advantage or disadvantage during the nomination process.
  • The nominator must be a current APSAD member. Any member can nominate across multiple Award categories.
  • Nominations close 29 July 2024.
  • The recipients for all APSAD Awards are announced at the official Awards Ceremony held during the 2024 APSAD Conference on Ngunnawal Country (Canberra) 30 Oct -2 Nov.

Position Vacant: Clinical Nurse Consultant - Drug & Alcohol Brief Intervention Team

darling downs healthPosition Title: Clinical Nurse Consultant – Drug and Alcohol Brief Intervention Team (DABIT)

Location: Alcohol and Other Drugs Service, Mental Health Division, Toowoomba, Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service

Remuneration: Permanent full time, $132,562 - $143,924 per annum (superannuation and leave loading benefits), Nurse Grade 7

We are looking for an experienced Clinical Nurse Consultant to provide specialist addition treatment as part of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Service in Toowoomba.

About the Role

We are incentivising health workers to move to Darling Downs Health, to take up a job in regional and remote Queensland. To find out if you are eligible, click here, payments commence 1 July 2023.

You will provide specialist addiction consultation, treatment and advice to facilitate positive health outcomes for recipients of health services. You will work collaboratively and collegially within and across clinical teams to ensure all relevant stakeholders are involved in the individual’s care. You will act as a role model, positively engaging, motivating and mentoring team members in the provision of holistic care.

Enquiries: Dan Spencer, 0402 369 096

Job Ad Reference: DD2405563177

Application Details:

Closing Date: Monday 10 June 2024


APSAD Melbourne Symposium Travel Scholarships

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Scholarships for regional Victorian members to attend the Melbourne Symposium

Applicatons have now closed.

The deadline for scholarship applications is Monday 1st July 2024.

We are pleased to be able to offer travel scholarship opportunities to attend the 2024 APSAD Melbourne Symposium Commercial Determinants of Health: Public Health and the Marketing and Sales of Alcohol, other Drugs, and Gambling on Friday 26th July. We have a number of scholarships for rural and remote members in Victoria.

Before applying, please ensure you have read the application guidelines below or download.


  • Facilitate attendance from regional areas.
  • Frontline and Community workers
  • Enrolled PhD, student, Early Career Researcher, Mid-Career Researcher.
  • Scholarships are intended for those who demonstrate a need for financial assistance.


  • Scholarships are restricted to current APSAD members.
  • Applicants must reside in Victoria.
  • $500 per scholarship recipient will be provided.
  • Successful scholarship recipients will be required to organise their own travel and accommodation.
  • Successful scholarship recipients may be asked to write a short paragraph about what they gained from attending and learned at the symposium for inclusion in the Member e-News following the symposium.


  • Briefly explain why you are applying for a travel scholarship (max 300 words)
  • Will your organisation will fund your attendance if you do not receive a scholarship?
  • How you fulfil the Scholarship Support requirements (max 300 words).

Melbourne Symposium 2024


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Commercial determinants of health: Public health and the marketing and sales of alcohol, other drugs, and gambling

calendar icon Friday 26 July 2024
clock icon 0830 - 1700

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Room 920, Melbourne Law School  + Online

location icon 185 Pelham St, Carlton Victoria


Melb24 Humanitix event page QR

Head to Humanitix or scan

APSAD’s 2024 one-day Symposium is concerned with the commercial determinants of health and the regulation of legal markets in the different commodities with which APSAD is concerned – alcohol, nicotine and other drugs and gambling.  These commodities are all attractive, but on the other hand, the source of health and welfare problems, and so need to be controlled, limiting their marketing and sale in the interests of public health and welfare.  Each commodity area has its own regulatory systems, and research and regulation can benefit from looking across the four areas. 

 The Symposium will thus consider issues in the marketing and availability of each area in turn: alcohol, gambling, cannabis, prescription medicines and tobacco/vaping. It will have a dedicated session exploring the role of technology in the regulation and research of these commodities, as well as a session on perspectives of Aboriginal peoples about the marketing and sale of these commodities. The final session of the day will be a panel on what can be learned across commodity areas for future research and regulation agendas.

Scholarships available for APSAD members

We are pleased to be able to offer scholarships for rural and remote members in Victoria to attend the 2024 APSAD Melbourne Symposium.

→ More information and the application form - applications have now closed.


Download the Symposium Program


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NSW OTAC Scholarships for GPs & Nurse Practitioners

Supporting Future OAT Prescribers in New South Wales

The OTAC Scholarship assists general practitioners and nurse practitioners in New South Wales to gain accreditation for opioid pharmacotherapy prescribing in the treatment of opioid dependence. It also recognises and encourages professionals to complete their professional development in opioid dependence treatment and contribute to enhancing the accessibility of opioid dependence treatment services, especially for people living in NSW regional areas.

The Scholarship strives in a small way, to provide additional resourcing for medical professionals working in regional and remote areas of NSW; while metropolitan applicants are welcome to apply, their applications will be individually assessed, preference is given to regional and rural applicants.

This new, pilot initiative is funded by the NSW Ministry of Health and administered by the University of Sydney.

APPLY NOW 2023-2024 OTAC Scholarships

The application period for the April – June 2024 quarter is now.

Submissions for applications are open until Wednesday 29th of February 2024.

Application Period Applications for the second 2023-2024 OTAC Scholarship round will be accepted until 11:59pm AEDT on Wednesday 29th of May 2024
Judging of Applications 12th – 20th of June 2024
Outcome of Applications From 21st of June 2024

2024 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

NDARC Symp24 banner reduced size2024 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

NDARC is delighted to announce we are partnering with the Wesley Mission for this year’s Annual Research Symposium.

The 2024 NDARC Annual Research Symposium will be held at Wesley Mission’s Conference Centre on Friday, 20 September. Situated in the heart of Sydney CBD, Wesley Mission is renowned for helping those struggling with addiction, mental health, homelessness, and financial and domestic challenges. As our mission is to see a world without alcohol and drug-related harm, we are proud to partner with such an incredible organisation as we showcase the foremost research in the alcohol and other drugs sector and related fields.

This venue is perfect for our one-day face-to-face event, with easy-to-access transport and accommodation options nearby. We will soon announce our dynamic program, including international and national keynote speakers, panel discussions, breakout sessions, and a networking event. Please stay tuned for more updates.

calendar icon  Friday, 20 September

building icon  Wesley Mission’s Conference Centre


Drug Policy Modelling Program Sympsium 2024

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Join us for the Drug Policy Modelling Program Symposium 2024 

The symposium will open with the launch of our new report The Australian Drug Budget 2021-2022 detailing government investment across drug prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and law enforcement.

We will also have sessions exploring:

  • the benefits and challenges of drug law reform 
  • drug treatment and unmet demand for treatment 
  • representation and participation in policy processes 
  • small ‘snapshots’ of other alcohol and drug policy research. 

It promises to be an exciting, thought-provoking day to consider how we can make alcohol and other drug policy better. 

The full program will be available shortly. 

You can register for the full day (in-person 9.30am to 3.30pm) or only for the morning Australian Drug Budget session (in-person or virtual 9.30am to 10.30am).

calendar_icon.png  Tuesday 04 June 2024

clock_icon.png  9.30am–3.30pm

building_icon.png  Tyree Room, John Niland Scientia Building

location_icon.png  UNSW Sydney, Kensington campus

Register to join

About the Drug Policy Modelling Program

The aim of the DPMP is to create valuable new drug policy insights, ideas and interventions that will allow Australia and other nations to respond with alacrity and success. DPMP addresses drug policy using a comprehensive approach that includes consideration of law enforcement, prevention, treatment, and harm reduction, and we take a multidisciplinary approach.

DPMP conducts rigorous research that provides independent, balanced, non-partisan policy analysis. The areas of work include developing the evidence-base for policy; developing, implementing, and evaluating dynamic policy-relevant models of drug issues; and studying policy-making processes.

Visit us →


Position Vacant: Clinical Nurse, Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service

Darling Downs Health logoPosition Title: Clinical Nurse

Location: Alcohol and Other Drugs Services, Mental Health Division, Cherbourg, Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service

Remuneration: Permanent full time, $104,816 - $112,236 per annum, (NG6 (1))

We have an opportunity for a Clinical Nurse – Alcohol and Other Drugs Service to join our multidisciplinary team in Cherbourg. Working within our Alcohol and Other Drugs Service, you will deliver comprehensive nursing care to recipients in the local community. Approaching clients with integrity you will develop effective partnerships to ensure a high quality of service delivery. You will also have a commitment to continuous quality and service improvement and provide guidance and support to less experienced team members. If you enjoy working in a rural area, please apply!

Enquiries: Collette Ramsay, (07) 4162 0487

Job Ad Reference: DD2403554658

Application Details:

Closing Date: Thursday, 2 May 2024



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