The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs

News & Media



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.

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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.

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

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

Visit the DACRIN website to learn more about research occurring in NSW DACRIN member organisations and/or to find out how to become involved.


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


Practitioner views on assessment of drug and alcohol problems (online survey)

 The UQ Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research (CYSAR) is conducting a short survey on Australian health practitioner perspectives on using standardised assessments for drug and alcohol problems, funded by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). The survey will take only 10-15 mins for the chance to win a $200 Coles-Myer gift card.
Any health professional who has worked with individuals experiencing a drug or alcohol problem is eligible (even comorbid AOD problems). 
Further details of the study can be found at the link: 

Media Release - Professionals strongly oppose Welfare Reform Bill & drug testing trial

Professionals from the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) strongly oppose the Federal Government’s Welfare Reform Bill and drug testing ‘trial’ for welfare recipients.

APSAD continues to strongly oppose the Federal Government’s Welfare Reform Bill and its planned drug testing ‘trial’ for welfare recipients.

President of APSAD Dr Tony Gill, said the ‘trial’ will harm the health of people who use drugs, and waste a great deal of money that could be far better spent on providing voluntary treatment.

“APSAD is the Asia Pacific's leading multidisciplinary organisation for professionals involved in the alcohol and other drug field. APSAD membership includes researchers, counsellors, psychologists, and doctors such as addiction medicine specialists, general practitioners, and psychiatrists,” said Dr Gill, who is APSAD President and has worked as a medical specialist in the alcohol and other drugs field for more than 25 years.

“As professionals who work with people with drug and alcohol-related problems, we are very clear that the drug testing ‘trial’ as currently planned is unworkable for numerous reasons.

  • The ‘trial’ is not supported by any scientific evidence, medical groups have not been consulted and have had no input into it, and it is widely opposed by relevant experts
  • Similar attempts have been found to be costly and/or unworkable in New Zealand, Canada, the USA and UK
  • Drug testing does not tell you in someone has a problem
  • By far the biggestharms from drug and alcohol use in Australia result from alchohol use, and it is not included
  • The ‘trial’ may result in people with significant health problems having reduced, or  in some cases no, access to income
  • The ‘trial’ will further widen the Gap of Health status for First Nations peoples
  • A ‘trial’ cannot be relevant to many parts of the nation as there are many areas, including rural and regional ones, with very few drug and alcohol services as well as  poor access to pathology services
  • Already there are not enough drug and alcohol services available in Australia to provide access to treatment for people who need them. Many people who currently want treatment face long waiting periods. This will be made worse by automatically referring in a whole lot of people who don’t need specialist treatment under the proposed ‘trial’
  • Some APSAD members believe the trial is unethical and may decide to refuse to participate.

“Problematic drug use should be treated as a health problem, not a reason for increasing stigma and reducing access to welfare,” Dr Gill said.

 “The causes of drug problems in individuals are complex. Effective treatment for people with drug problems and support for their families is the right approach, not increasing stigma towards people who use drugs. 

“The Federal Government’s planned ‘trial’ of drug testing for people receiving welfare payments is a bad idea.

“It makes no sense to spend so much money unnecessarily on something that doesn’t work, when we know that treatment services are already chronically underfunded.

“This scheme would either rely on cheap tests that are inaccurate, in order to save money, or spend exorbitant costs on high quality yet still inconclusive testing.

“Furthermore, there is no evidence that it will actually assist people to get back to work,” he said.


For comment or further information, contact Dr Tony Gill through APSAD 02 9252 2281.

Download the media release.


APSAD and Drug and Alcohol Review will be launching a new award at the APSAD Conference

APSAD and Drug and Alcohol Review (the Society’s official journal) will be launching a new award at the APSAD Conference Early Career Researchers (ECR)  Networking Breakfast on Tuesday 6 November. 

The award will be for the most cited paper published in 2015-16 by an ECR in Drug and Alcohol Review. The award is recognition only, providing a measure of esteem that can be used for ECR career development - a great addition to your CV!

Eligible papers will be those that are:

  • Published in an issue of Drug and Alcohol Review in 2015-2016 (Volumes 34 & 35);
  • First-authored by a current APSAD member, who met APSAD ECR criteria at the time of
  • publication*;
  • An original report, brief report, or comprehensive review (i.e. not letters/commentaries).

*Not more than 5 years post last postgraduate degree and have been working in the field as a researcher or scientist for less than 10 years, career disruptions excluded.

The winner of this award will be determined through the APSAD membership database, so to be in the running, make sure your APSAD membership is current. If you are unsure of your membership status please contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you think you might be eligible for this award but are not a member, it’s not too late to join!

You can apply for membership here – please be sure to list the year your PhD was completed (conferred) on the application form. If you supervise or work with ECRs, please share these details with them so they can make sure their APSAD Membership is current. For further information on APSAD Membership and the ECR Group.  



Media Releases