The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs

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Webinar: The Utilisation, Effectiveness & Safety of Smoking Cessation Pharmacotherapies During Pregnancy: An Australian Population-Based Study

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POSTPONED: The Utilisation, Effectiveness and Safety of Smoking Cessation Pharmacotherapies During Pregnancy: An Australian Population-Based Study

Please note this webinar scheduled for the 31 March has now been postponed, the new date will be announced shortly. 

Presenter: Alys Havard, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Big Data Research in Health, University of New South Wales

This NHMRC-funded research used linked pharmaceutical claims and administrative health data for all women who gave birth in New South Wales and Western Australia between 2004 and 2012 to examine the extent to which prescription NRT patches, bupropion and varenicline are used during pregnancy. To examine the effectiveness of these medicines during pregnancy, the smoking cessation rates associated with varenicline relative to NRT patch use was measured. The risk and benefits associated with these medicines in pregnancy was assessed by comparing the rate of adverse birth outcomes among women who used prescription NRT patches, bupropion or varenicline with the rate among women who smoked but did not receive any of these medicines.


POSTPONED: APSAD 2020 Brisbane Conference


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APSAD is following the ongoing developments on COVID-19 closely, with our priority being the safety and wellbeing of members, delegates, stakeholders, and our community. We appreciate the additional strain being felt by the AOD sector at all levels and, given the ongoing developments, APSAD Council has made the decision to postpone the 40th APSAD Brisbane Conference that was scheduled for 15-18 November 2020 in Brisbane.

Following consultation and review, we have decided on a postponement for 12 months to 7-10 November 2021 in Brisbane at the same venue, the Sofitel Brisbane Central. It was felt that late 2021 will be an ideal time for the sector to meet and collaborate as it adjusts to, and reviews the longer-term impact of COVID-19 on healthcare providers and consumers.

Registered delegates will be contacted directly. We strongly encourage you to transfer your registration to the new dates, however, registrations will be refunded with no penalty. Requests must be received in writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We’re immensely grateful to everyone who has contributed to APSAD conferences in the past 40 years and welcome your involvement on many more to come.

Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to seeing you in Brisbane in 2021.



National Comorbidity Guidelines Train-the-Trainer Day: Registrations now open

Are you interested in being trained to deliver mental health training in your workplace?

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The University of Sydney's Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use is now taking registrations for our inaugural National Comorbidity Guidelines Train-the-Trainer day. 

The training is based on the Australian Government Department of Health-funded National Comorbidity Guidelines (Guidelines on the management of co-occurring alcohol and other drug and mental health conditions in alcohol and other drug treatment settings), and has been developed by researchers from the University of Sydney Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, in collaboration with 360edge.

Participants will become certified to deliver the National Comorbidity Guidelines Face-to-Face Training Program, and provide evidence-based training for alcohol and other drug workers to improve their capacity to manage co-occurring mental disorders. 

Key details

  • Where: The University of Sydney, Camperdown NSW 2050
  • When: 9am-5pm Thursday 14th May (AEDT)
  • Cost: Free
  • Who should attend: Training facilitators are required to have successfully completed tertiary training in a relevant field; have a comprehensive knowledge of comorbidity and/or experience working with people experiencing co-occurring mental and substance use disorders; be skilled in substance use and mental health interventions; possess sound training skills, and have the capacity to deliver workplace training.
  • Skills gained: Trainers will become registered trainers through the Matilda Centre, and subject to signing licensing agreements, licensed to deliver the National Comorbidity Guidelines Face-to-Face Training Program. Participants will receive a certificate of completion, which depending on their registration provider, may be used toward continuing professional development points (CPD). 

PLEASE NOTE: The inaugural class of trainers will be limited to 40 people.

Registrations will close 5pm Friday 17th April.


If the maximum number of applications are received, applicants will be placed on a waitlist and notified as soon as a place becomes available.

How does 'train the trainer' work?

Unlike traditional training, a 'train the trainer' approach is designed to engage experienced trainers, who can deliver the course material to others. By adopting a ‘train the trainer’ approach and harnessing the skills of existing trainers, a greater number of training sessions can be held across the country, ensuring the evidence-based training program is delivered to as many people as possible.

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Training partner: 360edge

The National Comorbidity Guidelines Train-the-Trainer day will be delivered by 360edge, Australia’s leading specialist consultants in AOD policy and practice. 360edge combines more than 25 years of academic research with hands-on clinical experience to provide training that is both evidence-based and practical to implement.

What's in the National Comorbidity Guidelines Face-to-Face Training Program?

comorbid guidelines bookContent from the face-to-face training is based on the Guidelines on the management of co-occurring alcohol and other drug and mental health conditions in alcohol and other drug treatment settings (2nd edition) developed by researchers from the University of Sydney's Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use. The evidence-based Comorbidity Guidelines are a widely used clinical resource, and were developed in consultation with a panel of experts, drawing on the experience and knowledge of clinicians, consumers, carers and researchers. 

The National Comorbidity Guidelines Face-to-Face Training Program is designed to be flexible. Trainers can choose to deliver any combination of the seven half-day modules below depending on the needs of the workplace receiving training.

  • Module 1: Understanding Comorbidity (Compulsory, Core)
  • Module 2: Screening and Assessment Compulsory (Compulsory, Core)
  • Module 3: Applying Motivational Enhancement, Cognitive, and Behavioural Approaches to Co-Occurring Disorders (Optional)
  • Module 4: Anxiety, Depression, and Bipolar Disorder (Optional)
  • Module 5: Personality Disorders (Optional)
  • Module 6: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Optional)
  • Module 7: Psychosis, Eating Disorders, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (Optional)





Hosted by A/Prof Renee Bittoun, Tobacco Treatment Specialist, Adjunct Associate Professor Medical School, University of Notre Dame Australia along with other experts in the field of smoking cessation. A/Prof Bittoun has been teaching this course for over 15 years, regularly updating the content and has many years of experience in clinical practice and professional training regarding smoking cessation.

Download the flyer

2020 Course Dates

  • 24 - 26 March
  • 22 - 24 June
  • 22 - 24 September

Register here:

Price: $1,700 + GST

Woolcock Institute of Medical Research
431 Glebe Point Road
Glebe NSW 2037


Webinar: What's new in the 2nd Ed. of Supporting Smoking Cessation: A Guide for Health Professionals?

ASCP bannerWhat is new in the second edition of Supporting Smoking Cessation: A Guide for Health Professionals?

12:00 (AEDT) 25th February 2020

Presenter: Professor Nicholas Zwar, Bond University and Chair of Expert Advisory Group for the publication

The second edition of this publication from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners was released on 28 January 2020 after a long process of review and discussion. The new edition has a number of substantive changes, including the incorporation of a brief intervention three step structure (Ask, Advise, Help) and a range of changes to recommendations for use of smoking cessation pharmacotherapies. The publication also includes recommendations around the role of nicotine containing e-cigarettes in assisting smoking cessation. These recommendations have attracted considerable attention.

The presentation will cover the process undertaken for producing the new edition, the key changes in recommendations and the literature review and rationale behind these recommendations.

Please click the link to join the webinar:

Catch up on many of the great webinars held throughout 2019 by clicking on the links below.


DACRIN’s ClinTrial Refer app

DACRIN logoCould your clients benefit from knowledge about and access to clinical trials in Addiction Medicine?

The NSW Drug and Alcohol Clinical Research and Improvement Network (DACRIN) is a collaborative network of NSW Local Health District and Health Network alcohol and other drug (AOD) services engaged in clinical research.  Funded by the NSW Ministry of Health, DACRIN is the first AOD clinical research network to be formally recognised with full membership of the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance.

DACRIN’s ClinTrial Refer app

ClinTrial Refer ( is a mobile app platform to help connect clients, clinicians and researchers across a range of clinical settings.

DACRIN recently released our ClinTrial Refer app. Designed for use by both clinicians and clients, and freely available in the app store, the app allows app users to search for clinical trials and other studies in Addiction Medicine (and many other disciplines), providing study details, locations and referral contacts.

The app enhances client access to emerging therapies through clinical trial participation, as well as to research participation and benefits more generally.

ClinTrial Refer is free to download from the app store, and easy to use in individual, clinic and multidisciplinary team settings. App users can:

  • Search, by discipline or location, for a clinical trial or other research studies in which clients may be interested.
  • Do a quick eligibility screen using the inclusion and exclusion criteria listed on the app.
  • Contact the research site via the details contained in the app.
  • Let the site help clients and clinicians understand the purpose and complexities of the study.

For more information about DACRIN’s ClinTrial Refer app, please contact DACRIN’s Statewide Coordinator, Libby Topp, on 02 8302 6519, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Seeking feedback on substance use & addictive behaviour disorder outcomes


What is this work about?
Understanding and measuring the outcomes that matter most to patients is essential for delivering value-based healthcare. To facilitate this, we have developed a proposal for a standard set of outcomes to assess following treatment for substance use and addictive behaviour disorders. Implementation of this standard set will better allow informed decision making, quality improvement, and reduced costs. We are now seeking feedback on this standard set from professionals in the field to improve this recommendation, which we hope will be a minimum global standard in clinical practice.

What are we asking?
We are seeking professionals to provide feedback on the proposed standard set of outcome measures via our 15-30 minute survey, by February 16, 2020. We are also seeking individuals to share this survey within their networks, either via forwarding this email, including information about the survey in any relevant newsletters, and/or retweeting it. We hope that this will be shared and completed as widely as possible, so every little bit helps.

Who can complete the survey?
We are seeking anyone with professional experience with substance use and/or addictive behaviour disorders (disorders related to alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, gambling, gaming, specifically). This includes researchers or educators, health or social care practitioners (e.g., clinicians, allied health professionals, social workers), government, policy or commissioning professionals, advocacy or charity professionals, commercial or industry representatives, and any other individuals with relevant professional experience. We are seeking professionals from any country.

Why are we seeking feedback?
We hope that this standard set will become a minimum global standard. This can only be achieved if the set is truly fit-for-purpose in all settings. Through our working group, we have drawn on a diverse range of experiences of 26 experts in order to develop the current proposal. Now we want to expand this and draw on as many diverse perspectives as possible to ensure that we are validly and reliably capturing the outcomes that matter to people who seek treatment across all of the different populations and settings around the world.

Who is conducting this work?
This work is led by the International Consortium of Health Outcome Measurement (ICHOM). The project team consists of the project managers, Sophie Chung and Luz Fialho (ICHOM), the chair, Prof Michael Farrell (National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre), and the research fellow, Dr Nicola Black (National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre). All major decisions in the project have been made via consensus from an international, multidisciplinary group of 26 experts from 11 countries: Dr Apinun Aramrattana (Chiang Mai University), Prof Sawitri Assanangkornchai (Prince of Songkla University), Prof Alex Blaszczynski (University of Sydney), Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones (Imperial College London), Adrian Brown (Central and North West London Trust), Dr Qiana Brown (Rutgers University), Dr Linda Cottler (University of Florida), Maury Elsasser*, Dr Marica Ferri (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction), Dr Maria Florence (University of the Western Cape), Dr Ralitza Gueorguieva (Yale School of Public Health), Ryan Hampton*, Dr Suzie Hudson (Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies), A/Prof Peter Kelly (University of Wollongong), Prof Nicholas Lintzeris (University of Sydney), Lyn Murphy*, Dr Abhijit Nadkarni (Sangath), Prof Joanne Neale (King’s College London), Prof Daniel Rosen (University of Pittsburgh), Dr Hans-Jürgen Rumpf (Universität zu Lübeck), Dr Brian Rush (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), Gabriel Segal* (Alcoholics Anonymous), Dr Gillian Shorter (Ulster University), Prof Marta Torrens (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Prof Wim van den Brink (University of Amsterdam), Chris Wait* (Build on Belief). *Working group members with lived experience.


International Family Drug Support Day 2020

FSD DAY LOGO 250International Family Drug Support Day 2020

Events are being held around the country to mark the International Family Drug Support Day in February 2020

When clinicians, politicians and media talk about drug and alcohol issues affecting our communities they often raise the importance of assisting, supporting and engaging more with families.

Unfortunately for many families, the reality is much different.

Behind every statistic of a drug-related overdose death, arrest or hospitalisation there is a family suffering the pain. All too often in a cloud of stigma and shame.

The 1st National Family Drug Support Day was held on the 24th February 2016 – the anniversary of the passing of Damien Trimingham from a drug-related overdose - will become an annual event to highlight the need for families to not only be recognised and heard but to be supported and encouraged to speak about their concerns and their needs.

The objectives of International Family Drug Support Day 2020 are:

  1. Reducing shame, stigma and discrimination for families
  2. Promoting support services for families and friends affected by drug use
  3. Promoting harm reduction strategies to keep people safe, including heroin prescription, pill testing and decriminalisation of the use of drugs

As well as highlighting:

  • The importance of volunteers in providing family support across Australia
  • Reducing fatal and non-fatal overdoses and other critical incidences as a result of drug use
  • Promoting greater support and resources for treatment services
  • How by giving people support and education can help families develop skills and strategies to deal with issues arising from drug use
  • Promoting greater support and resources for treatment services
  • Promoting a commitment to genuine drug policy reform

Events are being held in the following cities, please check our website or click on the Event Brite to register your interest;

Brisbane 20th February 10.30 am

Adelaide 24th February 10.30 am

Melbourne 24th February 10.30 am

Canberra 24th February 12 pm

Rockhampton 25th February 10 am

Sydney 25th February 6 pm

There may be more international events please check the website


Updated guide to drug interactions with smoking cessation

NSW Health have a range of resources and clinical decision support tools available on their website to support smoking cessation interventions in healthcare settings.  There are currently 10 tools listed on the website. Tool 7 Quick Guide to Drug Interactions with Smoking Cessation provides guidance about dose adjustments to medications when a person starts or stops smoking or changes how much they smoke.  It includes a list of medications that are affected by smoking and cessation, e.g. clozapine, insulin and warfarin and has recently been updated to include methadone. For more information, click on the above link.
To access other tools on the website, click on the following link: Tools for Health Professionals.


National AOD Workforce Survey

National AOD Workforce Survey

It’s been over 10 years since the last National AOD Workforce Survey.

The 2019 Survey being conducted by the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA, Flinders University) is now open.

If you work in the AOD sector or have AOD clients, tell us about your work, wellbeing and professional development needs.

Your input will help inform AOD workforce planning and related workforce development priorities and initiatives. By completing the survey, you also get the chance to win an iPad.

This 15-minute anonymous survey can be accessed at:

The survey is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.


Survey call out