Category Archives: Professional News

International Family Drug Support Day

Family Drug Support will be hosting International Family Drug Support Day in Canberra on 24th February 2020 from 12pm to 2pm. Now in its 5th year this event is attracting more interest worldwide, as we focus on the need to support families impacted by drugs and alcohol.

Speakers will include the Minister for Health Hon. Greg Hunt MP, the Shadow Minister for Education and Training Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP, the former leader of the Greens Senator Dr Richard Di Natale, Federal MP for Mayo Ms Rebekha Sharkie MP, Senator Jacqui Lambie (Tasmania), as well as family members.

The event will be held in the Dame Dorothy Tangney Alcove, Parliament House, Capital Hill ACT 2600. Please go to


Using both motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioural therapy

A training opportunity:

Why do you need both MI and CBT? 

Motivational Interviewing (or Motivational Enhancement Therapy) and cognitive behaviour therapy (typically Relapse Prevention Therapy) are the two core skills in AOD therapeutic work.  It makes sense to combine a therapy that increases motivation with one that enhances emotional and behavioural skills. These are the two things that are often missing or underdeveloped in AOD clients.

But they come from very different theoretical frameworks.  MI comes from a humanistic tradition in the style of Carl Rogers.  It’s a directive client centred therapy.  Relapse prevention, on the other hand, is one of the behavioural and cognitive therapies.

So how do we integrate the two?  Most research using these two different theoretical frameworks uses MI in the first 1-3 sessions to increase motivation to change and then, sequentially, CBT to improve emotional and behavioural regulation.

This is an effective approach if someone has low motivation to change their drug use when they come into treatment, but what about people who are already motivated?  And motivations waxes and wanes over time, what happens when motivation drops in the middle of treatment?

The real art to AOD work is being able to seamlessly use the two approaches right through treatment.  We aren’t talking about the strategies and techniques here, although they can be useful.  What is needed is an understanding of how people change, an ability to listen for what MI calls ‘change talk’ and the ability to adapt and move between the two styles collaboratively providing direction and strategy (CBT) or using a more questioning style (MI) to assist the client to move forward to change.

360EDGE is offering two workshops in August to help you develop these skills and understand how and when to utilise them seamlessly throughout treatment from assessment to closure. 




21ST August

FORGET THE A-B-C’S.  Come to this fun interactive workshop and go behind the scenes to understand the mechanics of CBT for AOD.  Find out what makes CBT tick so you can tailor strategies and treatment to different client presentations.

This foundation workshop offers a practical introduction to core practice skills in AOD treatment.

This workshop is for practitioners new to CBT, new to AOD, or wanting to brush up on their core CBT skills (Beginner to intermediate level)

  • Understand the underlying drivers of change in CBT
  • Learn how to structure a session to get the best outcomes
  • Master the key strategies and when to use them

Book your place here


Integrating MI and CBT in AOD

22 August

Find out how to effectively blend the two core interventions in AOD treatment to achieve better client outcomes.  This practice based workshop shows you how and when to utilise MI and CBT seamlessly throughout treatment from assessment to closure.

This workshop is for those with some basic knowledge of CBT and MI wanting to refine their practice.  (Intermediate to advanced practitioners)

Book your place here


Cost (per workshop)
Earlybird $350 (by 7 August)
Standard: $450 (after 7 August)
Includes electronic handouts and resources and unlimited free follow-up support post training, and morning and afternoon teas and lunch

Contact us for special rates for groups of 5 or more

Rydges St Kilda
Contact us for special rates on accommodation

Canberra Service Launch

The Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy (CAHMA), The Connection and the Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) are hosting a major community event to open CAHMA and The Connection’s new premises in Belconnen and mark World Hepatitis Day in the nation’s capital.

The event will be attended by around 100 community members, including politicians, CEOs, funding bodies, community workers and service users and boasts an impressive line-up of speakers talking about the challenges of addressing viral hepatitis and the range of services available in the ACT.

In Australia in 2015 it was estimated that 209,000 people were living with chronic hepatitis C and 239,000 with chronic hepatitis B.  In the ACT approximately 3,600 people are living with hepatitis C and 4,000 with hepatitis B.  The burden of disease and mortality associated with hepatitis B and hepatitis C continues to increase, and preventable infections continue to occur.

Speakers will include:

  • Aunty Agnes Shea, Ngunnawal Elder – Welcome to Country
  • Dr Nadeem Siddiqui, Executive Director of Clinical Services, Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service
  • John Didlick, Executive Officer, Hepatitis ACT
  • Chris Gough, Manager, CAHMA and The Connection


DATE:            Thursday 27 July 2017

TIME:             11.30am-12.15pm (community BBQ to follow)

VENUE:         Margaret Timpson Park

Corner Chandler St and Benjamin Way, Belconnen (across from Belconnen Westfield)


Background to the organisations:

CAHMA is an integral part of the ACT’s alcohol and other drugs (AOD) sector and exists to promote the health and human rights of people who use, or have used, drugs.  CAHMA provides a range of services to reduce drug related harms to individuals, families and communities, including in the key areas of:

  • harm reduction information and education
  • overdose prevention and management
  • peer treatment support and advocacy
  • ensuring culturally appropriate service provision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The Connection – CAHMA’s dedicated program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – delivers a comprehensive, person-centred suite of services designed to reduce the disproportionate impact of blood-borne viruses (BBV), sexually transmissible infections (STI), and AOD issues on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the ACT and surrounding region.

AIVL is the ACT-based national organisation representing people who use/have used illicit drugs and is the peak body for the state and territory peer-based drug user organisations (including CAHMA).

Prevention Forum – Canberra

Prevention 1st is launching a report by health economist, Professor Alan Shiell, on how much Australia spends on health prevention and whether it is enough. Prevention 1st is a campaign that is calling on all Australian governments and political parties to commit to a strong preventive health agenda to tackle Australia’s greatest health challenge.
The report is being launched as part of a forum that will include leading public health experts talking about how they would spend prevention dollars if they had $100 million. It should be interesting!
You are invited to attend this forum. Details are:
When: Wednesday 14 June 2017
Where: Parliament House, Canberra
For more information, go to

Reducing the Prison Population in NSW: Policy Paper

Just Reinvest NSW is today releasing the first of its policy papers on key proposals to reduce the rising prison population in NSW, with a particular view to addressing the level of Aboriginal overrepresentation, which has risen by 40% over the last decade.

This first paper focuses on the need for smarter sentencing and parole law reform, and in some key areas aligns with the NSW Criminal Justice Reform package announcement.

The paper was developed following a roundtable discussion in November 2016, with representatives from the Law Society of NSW, the NSW Bar Association, the Law Council of Australia, the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT, Legal Aid NSW, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, the University of NSW, the University of Technology Sydney, the Public Defender’s office, and other prominent members of the NSW legal community. It will now be the subject of consultation with peak NSW Aboriginal organisations and other key organisations and agencies.

A Parliamentary Forum will be held in the coming months to formally launch the policy paper.

Full Media Release –

Policy Paper –

ATCA Budget Response

The Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA) joins other peak bodies and organisations in the alcohol and other drug (AOD) field calling on the Government to reconsider its decision regarding drug testing of welfare recipients, announced in this week’s budget.

Dr Lynne Magor-Blatch, Executive Officer of ATCA, said today, “The, “Don’t do drugs” response from the Prime Minister on Radio National on Wednesday, completely overlooks a number of vital issues.  Many people who have become caught up in substance use are working hard to change their lives, and many are in this position because of a whole range of issues, some of which have been out of their control.”

Dr Magor-Blatch stated that, “Approximately 200,000 people receive AOD treatment annually in Australia, however it is estimated that as many as 200,000 – 500,000 more are seeking treatment and are unable to access it. [1]

The Minister for Social Services Hon Christian Porter, when questioned recently on the ABC RN Drive show, agreed that this decision would affect approximately 11,000 people annually – and that people would be expected to “take all reasonable steps” to address their drug problem.  While he drew attention to the funds distributed through the Ice Taskforce and Primary Health Networks, he agreed that there may be a continuing shortage of residential rehabilitation beds.  The scheme will therefore rely on counselling – suited for people who are at the less complex end of the spectrum, and services already in operation.  There will be no new funding for AOD services – and particularly those that work with complex clients.”

Members of ATCA provide quality evidence-based treatment programs through residential therapeutic communities, day programs, detoxification services and outclient services.  However, while all ATCA members have received a guarantee of funding through to 2018, none have received indexation since 2013.  This means, in real terms, that services have been reduced and services are at a point where they can no longer meet existing demand.  This will be further impacted by drug testing welfare recipients who are unable to find a place in a treatment service.

Studies have clearly shown that for every $1 invested in AOD treatment, society gains $7 through reduced healthcare and legal costs – in fact ATCA has found that their services alone provide a savings to Governments of more than $146,000 per person per annum.

“However, despite this evidence, this week’s budget represents the “big stick” approach without the “carrot” which would help people to get the help they need”, Dr Magor-Blatch stated.

While the drug testing measure announced in the Budget   is purported to be accompanied by a suite of additional welfare reform measures aimed at coercing engagement with AOD treatment, including the “removal of exemptions due to drugs or alcohol abuse” and removal of eligibility for the Disability Support Pension, there is no increased  funding in the budget for drug treatment.

“ATCA is working with families and individuals, and we see first-hand the stress these families are under, and the complete sense of helplessness often experienced when a family member cannot access the treatment they need.  There is little point in identifying an AOD problem if there is no capacity to treat it.  Drug testing welfare recipients will prove to be a costly but pointless exercise in this context if there is nowhere for people to go for treatment.

Instead of drug testing, this funding would have achieved a far better outcome for individuals and families if it had been put into treatment services”.

[1] New Horizons: The review of alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia:$File/The-Review-of-alcohol-and-other-drug-treatment-services-in-Australia.pdf

Safer Injecting Workshop

Sydney MSIC Safer Injecting Workshop

If you’re currently working or volunteering to support people who inject drugs, and have some level of training and/or experience, this workshop is for you. This workshop is a full day course which aims to expand your skills in providing safer injecting advice, and build your understanding of:

  • Safer injecting practices including high risk injecting and related problems
  • Performance and image-enhancing drugs (steroids)
  • Drug filtration (particularly opioid tablets) for injection with a practical demonstration using wheel filters
  • An introduction to opioid overdose identification and management.

You will receive interactive and specialised training from our team of clinical experts, providing you with the knowledge, skills and confidence to enhance your work. There will be plenty of opportunities to ask the questions you’ve always wanted to ask, in a safe environment.

We’ve also added a new component on the administration of Narcan (Naloxone) in a community setting, and we’ll give you your own take-home kit containing two doses of Narcan. You will be able to recognise and effectively intervene in an opioid overdose – and maybe save a life.

Dates (each workshop is stand-alone):

  • Monday 1 May 2017 (applications close Monday 17 April)
  • Monday 9 October 2017 (applications close Monday 25 September)

Time: 9.00am-4.30pm

Cost: $200 (includes cost of take-home Narcan kit)

Lunch and light refreshments provided

You’re very welcome to attend an early morning tour of the service at 8.30am before the training starts – just let us know when you book.

For a booking form, please go to:

National Family Drug Support Day 2017

An update from the folks at Family Drug Support:

Family Drug Support (FDS) is pleased to announce that details on the 2017 National FDS Day are now available at:

National FDS Day Website

The 1st National Family Drug Support Day was held on the 24th February 2016 – the anniversary of the passing of my son Damien Trimingham from a drug related overdose – and has now 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.

In 2016 the focus of the National FDS Day was on how alcohol and other drug issues can affect any family.

2017 will be the 20th anniversary of FDS and the focus for the National Day will be on the need to focus on the person and not the drug. Too often the media and others focus so much on the drug, as we see with ‘ice’, and forget that drug use is actually about people, not a chemical concoction.

Accordingly, the three objectives of the National Family Drug Support Day remain:

  • Reducing stigma and discrimination for families and drug users
  • Promoting family drug support services for families and friends
  • Promoting harm reduction strategies for families and friends


PhD Scholarships 2017


The National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) invites expressions of interest from suitably qualified candidates for two PhD scholarships related to new ARC-funded sociological research projects in the area of alcohol and other drug use.

The research projects are qualitative in method, and address the following issues:

  1. Performance and image-enhancing drug (PIED) use:interview-based, observational and cognate methods will investigate how men who inject PIEDs give meaning to their use and how they understand the health aspects of PIED use. [One scholarship]
  2. Uptake of naloxone, the lifesaving medication for reversing opioid overdose:interview-based, observational and cognate methods will investigate experiences of naloxone administration and the reasons for Australia’s relative lack of progress in expanding use of this important medication. [One scholarship]

The projects are based in the Social Studies of Addiction Concepts (SSAC) Program, NDRI Melbourne. This program draws on cutting edge social theory including new materialism, science and technology studies and governmentality theory to generate original socially grounded perspectives on drug use and related issues. In doing so it uses a range of methods including policy analysis, interviews, field observation and cultural studies analysis.

Project collaborators include Monash University, Burnet Institute and King’s College, London.

The Scholarships

The two scholarships will each support the overall aims of the respective projects. Successful applicants will collaborate with the chief investigators to identify thesis projects able to contribute directly to the aims of the larger projects while also reflecting the interests and aspirations of the students.

Each scholarship carries an annual tax-free stipend of approximately $26,288 (quoted here at 2016 rate) per year for three years. Both scholarships start in early 2017 (exact timing negotiable), and are based at NDRI’s Melbourne offices, located on Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. PhD candidates may also have access to additional paid work.

The Institute

NDRI is a centre for excellence in alcohol and other drug research and receives core funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. It is one of the largest centres of alcohol and other drug research expertise in Australia, employing about 30 research staff in Perth and Melbourne across a range of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, epidemiology, psychology and public health. It has a strong national and international profile, and is involved in collaborative research in Australia and overseas.

The Application

The successful applicants will:

  •           be Australian or New Zealand citizens or Australian Permanent Residents;
  •           hold or expect to obtain First Class or Upper Second Honours or equivalent results and experience in sociology, gender studies, anthropology, or a related discipline (e.g. youth studies); and
  •           be able to undertake field research (interviews, observation) or other empirical research in diverse settings.

Experience of qualitative research in a relevant field will be highly regarded.

Expressions of interest containing a current CV, academic transcripts and statement of interest including brief description of: 1. research interests and relevant experience; 2. methods and approaches of interest (two pages maximum including references) should be emailed to Professor Suzanne Fraser at:

DUE DATE: Friday December 16, 2016.

Please consult Curtin University’s guidance on preparing PhD scholarship applications for information about structuring your CV and statement of interest.

For further information, contact Professor Suzanne Fraser at:

or go to

Applied Research in Crime and Justice Conference 2017

Applied Research in Crime and Justice Conference

On 15 & 16 February 2017 the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research and the Griffith Criminology Institute will host the annual Applied Research in Crime and Justice Conference in Sydney. The conference will showcase empirical, policy relevant research across all crime and justice domains.

Keynote speakers

Professor Stephen Raphael, Berkeley
on Sentencing and Public Safety

Elizabeth Drake, Washington State Institute of Public Policy
on Reducing Crime: ‘What works’ versus cost 

Professor Jerry Ratcliffe, Temple University
on The Future of Predictive Policing

Professors Rick Sarre, University of South Australia,
and Paul Mazzerole, Griffith University

on How to Improve Law, Order and Criminal Justice with $100 million.

Key information

When 15-16 February 2017
Where Darling Harbour, Sydney
Cost $720 each for individuals
$600 each for groups of 3 or more

Yours sincerely,

Dr Don Weatherburn
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research

Web :
Phone 02 8346 1100