Symposium on Pain – Canberra

Could be an interesting number of sessions:

Australia’s dependence on pain medications addressed by Pain Symposium

The growing reliance by Australians on pain medication will be one of the difficult topics addressed by a group of experts in Canberra in the coming month. A Symposium on Pain has been organised to address both the causes of pain and the ways in which medical and allied health professionals can work with those suffering from both acute and chronic pain.

Symposium organiser, Associate Professor Lynne Magor-Blatch agrees with the concerns raised by Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital alcohol and drug service director, Dr Alex Wodak, who this week stated that Australian reliance on pain medications was placing many patients at risk of overdose.

“Certainly within the alcohol and other drugs field we are seeing increased numbers of presentations to services by people who have become addicted to powerful medications such as oxycodone’, A/Prof Magor-Blatch stated.

The Symposium on Pain, which will take place at the University of Canberra on Tuesday 2 August, will bring together practitioners, researchers and policy makers to discuss the issues associated with acute and chronic pain, and discuss both the causes and treatments for sufferers.

“Pain is a common complaint, with many underlying causes. This Symposium will include discussion of the Government’s developing strategy on the use of pharmaceutical drugs, it will include presentations by doctors and pain specialists, and provide the opportunity to hear from psychologists, physiotherapists and others working in the field”.

Experts addressing the Symposium include Professor Ann Roche from the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction; Dr Penny Briscoe, who is the Director of the Pain Management Unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, speaking on the role of the multidisciplinary team, and especially the promotion of allied health – psychology and physiotherapy – to address chronic pain; Emeritus Professor Ian Webster, who will talk about pain and suicide; and Dr Andrew Watson, from The Canberra Hospital Pain Management Unit.

A/Prof Magor-Blatch added, “We are tremendously fortunate to have speakers of such calibre addressing the Symposium, and this will be expanded by a number of speakers from the University’s Health Faculty, who will provide examples of evidence-based practice in working with pain sufferers”.

The opening address will be provided Dr Peggy Brown, Director-General ACT Health and the Symposium opened by Professor Stephen Parker, Vice Chancellor of the University of Canberra.

For further information on the Symposium, contact A/Prof Lynne Magor-Blatch at the Centre for Applied Psychology by email at