Category Archives: Professional News

NDARC PhD Scholarship Applications Open

Applications are now open for the NDARC PhD Scholarship starting in Semester 1, 2016

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) is offering at least one PhD scholarship to carry out innovative research on drug or alcohol related issues including, but not limited to, prevention activities or clinical interventions for substance use and disorders, epidemiology, health economics and drug policy research.

Please refer to for more details and information on how to apply.

Applications close on Wednesday 18 November.


Heroin dependence treatment information: new resource

New NDARC resource provides heroin dependence treatment information

Researchers at NDARC have developed a new information kit that provides a step by step guide to the evidence for medically assisted treatment for heroin dependence as well as answering commonly asked questions.

Heroin or opioid dependence can be treated with medication and psychosocial support, also known as medication-assisted treatment of opioid dependence (MATOD). The most common medicines used for MATOD in Australia are methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone.

This Information Kit includes two booklets. The first booklet answers some of the most frequently asked questions about MATOD and addresses common misunderstandings, while the second booklet provides a review of evidence of MATOD.

The booklets can be downloaded from the NDARC website at the links below:

MATOD – Your questions answered:

MATOD – A review of the evidence

2015 National Cannabis Conference – Regos Close Tomorrow

2015 National Cannabis Conference



You are invited to attend the 2015 National Cannabis Conference in Melbourne on 7 to 9 October.

The conference includes a one-day workshop, and two days of international and local speakers such as:

  • Professor Marilyn Huestis (Chief, Chemistry and Drug Metabolism, NIDA)
  • Professor Kevin Sabet (former adviser to three US presidential administrators)
  • Professor Jose Crippa (CBD expert)
  • Professor Nadia Solowij
  • Professor Olaf Drummer
  • Dr Matthew Large
  • Professor Murat Yucel
  • Professor David Penington
  • Mr Bob Hopkins (founder of Nimbin’s Hemp Embassy)
  • Professor Jan Copeland


The event will include the latest research on emerging areas, and papers on various perspectives of cannabis legalisation policy.


Registration closes strictly at COB on Friday 2 October, so book now to secure your place. 


To view the full program, click here.
To see speaker profiles, click here.

UNHRC reccomends decriminalisation of possesion and use of all drugs

The excellent summary below is via Paul D:

The Human Rights Council recently requested that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights prepare a study, in consultation with States, United Nations agencies and other relevant stakeholders, to be presented to the Council at its thirtieth session, on the impact of the world drug problem on the enjoyment of human rights, including recommendations on respect for, and the protection and promotion of, universal human rights.

In the resulting report, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has recommended the decriminalisation of possession and use of all drugs, and noted that the “War on Drugs” model increases the incidence of drug-related harm, represses the human rights of marginalised groups throughout the world, and forms a significant barrier to the goals of equal access to health care and the right to health.

The report will inform UNHRC’s contribution to the upcoming UN general Assembly Special Session on drug (UNGASS).

The call for decriminalisation is just one of a number of key recommendations which are aimed to protect the right to health and the rights of children, women, prisoners, indigenous populations and other marginalised groups.

“In its resolution 69/201, the General Assembly reaffirmed that the world drug problem must be countered in full conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and with full respect for all human rights. By its resolution 51/12, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs called for the promotion of human rights in implementing international drug control treaties, and the International Narcotics Control Board has stated that human rights must be taken into account when interpreting international drug control treaties. The Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health has argued that when the international drug control regime and international human rights law conflict, human rights obligations should prevail (see A/65/255, para. 10)”…

 …“28.   WHO has recommended decriminalizing drug use, including injecting drug use, as doing so could play a critical role in the implementation of its recommendations on health sector interventions, including harm reduction and the treatment and care of people who use drugs.  UNAIDS too has recommended decriminalizing drug use as a means to reduce the number of HIV infections and to treat AIDS.

  1. The Special Rapporteur has identified many ways in which criminalizing drug use and possession impedes the achievement of the right to health. He has called for the decriminalization of drug use and possession as an important step towards fulfilling the right to health. He has noted that decriminalizing drug use cannot be equated with legalizing it. Decriminalization means that drug use and possession remain legally prohibited but that criminal penalties, if they are applied at all, are minor and of a non-custodial nature. Legalization, by contrast, involves no prohibition of the relevant conduct (see A/65/255, para. 62).
  1. The Special Rapporteur has noted as positive the decriminalization experience in Portugal (see A/65/255, para. 64). In 2001, all drugs for personal use were decriminalized and drug use was characterized as an administrative offence. This was combined with an increased public health and social response to assist drug users. Portugal has not witnessed a material increase in drug use; in fact, indicators for certain groups show a decrease. Positive effects have included the destigmatization of drug users and the unburdening of the criminal justice system.  The International Narcotics Control Board has indicated that the move to decriminalize drug use in Portugal was consistent with the 1988 Convention.  In total, 22 States have adopted decriminalization measures of one kind or another, although not always on the grounds of promoting public health.  The Special Rapporteur has indicated that decriminalization should be accompanied by an expansion in drug treatment programmes and drug education (see A/65/255, para. 67). On 26 June 2015, on the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the Secretary-General stated that consideration should be given to alternatives to criminalization and incarceration of people who use drugs and that there should be an increased focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care, as well as on economic, social and cultural strategies. Decriminalization has been called for by a number of civil society organizations on the grounds that criminalization poses a major obstacle to public health responses to drug users and their right to health…” 

Follow the link, and then scroll down to A/HRC/30/65 to download the entire report;

Petition to Keep Sex Work Decriminalised

This is an important petition supporting the current best practise laws that we have in NSW.

If you have any questions or need further reading, please don’t hesitate to email Elena Jeffreys

20th Annual Remembrance Ceremony

Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform (FFDLR) will be holding the 20th Annual Remembrance Ceremony ‘for those who lose their life to illicit drugs’ on Monday 26 October 2015.

Speakers include:

  • Kate Carnell AO, CEO Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (as Chief Minister of the ACT in 1996 Ms Carnell unveiled the plaque at the first ceremony)
  • Rev Graham Long AM, Pastor, The Wayside Chapel
  • Tony Trimingham OAM, CEO Family Drug Support

Time: 12:30 – 1:30pm
Venue: Weston Park, Yarralumla

For more information: See the flyer at, or email

International FASD Awareness Day

[Via the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education]:

Today is International FASD Awareness Day. Please consider showing your support for this day. One way would be to simply share this email. Other was are outlined below.

What is International FASD Awareness Day?

International FASD Awareness Day is observed every year on 9 September, with bells rung at 9:09am in time zones from Australia to Alaska in recognition of the nine months of a pregnancy. The day aims to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy and the outcomes for individuals and families who are living with FASD.

This year the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) is joining Australian, and international, efforts by asking people to raise awareness on social media and commit to being alcohol free for the day. We’re also asking you to support health professionals who are pledging to speak to all women about alcohol to prevent FASD.

 How to show your support

The Australian FASD network are asking you to show your support by pledging not to consume alcoholic beverages on Wednesday 9 September.

You can download and share one of the attached images – or print them out and take a photograph of yourself with this message – then share your post on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, whatever platform you choose) along with the hashtags #FASD and #FASDAwarenessDay.

For example: “#Alcohol free to prevent #FASD. I’m supporting international #FASDAwarenessDay”.

 NOFASD Australia

As the national peak organisation representing the interests of individuals and families living with FASD, NOFASD Australia will be very active on International FASD Awareness Day. Vicki Russell, Chief Executive Officer will be at the first Strategy meeting of the Community Drug Action team in Narrabri and Adelle Rist, National Educator will be in Narrandera with the team there.

NOFASD’s Ambassador, Emeritus Professor John Boulton describes FASD as the condition “hidden in plain sight”. Let’s make sure FASD is in clear sight.

Help NOFASD support individuals, parents and families living with FASD by raising public awareness in Australia. You can support NOFASD Australia’s work by donating, following@NoFASDAustralia on Twitter, liking NOFASD Australia on Facebook or by joining their network of supporters and encourage others to do the same.

 If you’re a health professional

You can promote FARE’s Women Want to Know campaign which encourages health professionals to speak to women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy about alcohol consumption.

A range of information and resources for health professionals are available at or you can undertake online training through Royal Australian and New Zealand College of ObstetriciansRoyal College of General Practitioners and Australian College of Midwives.

You can also go international and take The Arc of the United States’ pledge today to talk to women about alcohol consumption:

 Not on social media?

You can still take part by speaking to your friends, family and network about this important issue, and including information about International FASD Awareness Day in emails and newsletters that you’re sending out that day or week.

 What is FASD?

FASD is an umbrella term for a range of disabilities resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure. FASD is the most common preventable cause of non-genetic, developmental disability in Australia. Children born with FASD have a range of learning, behavioural and developmental disabilities that affect them for the rest of their lives. To learn more about FASD and FARE’s policy position visit

Call For Nominations: Cheryl Burman Award

Hi everyone

In NSW, we would like to encourage you to nominate an individual or a group that has/have done something outstanding in the fight against viral hepatitis.

All information available on our website…

Who can be nominated?

The HNSW Cheryl Burman Award is given to a person or group who have done outstanding work in NSW in the fight against viral hepatitis. This could be in the advancement of prevention, support, information provision, management or treatment for people living with viral hepatitis.

How do you nominate someone?

Read the Cheryl Burman Award Process & Guidelines and complete the Cheryl Burman Award Nomination Form. You can download both these forms at the bottom of this page. For further information, or to have the Award Process & Guidelines and a Nomination form posted to you, please use the link above, email Katia Chehade:  or call her on 02 9332 1853.

The closing date for nominations for this award is Friday 19 October 2015.

When will the award be presented?

The 2015 award will be presented at our Audrey Lamb Community Forum, alongside our AGM on Thursday 26 November 2015.

About Cheryl Burman

The award pays tribute to Cheryl Burman, a key individual who provided exceptional leadership in the NSW viral hepatitis response. Cheryl served on the Board of the Hepatitis C Council of NSW from 1993 to 2000, and as our President from 1995 to 1999. Cheryl made significant contributions to the governance and leadership of our organisation for almost seven years, and continued to support Hepatitis NSW. Sadly, Cheryl died on 9 August 2011 after her very long struggle with hepatitis C. We are pleased to name this Award in Cheryl’s memory and honour.

2015 National Cannabis Conference

You are invited to attend the 2015 National Cannabis Conference in Melbourne on 7 to 9 October.


The conference includes a one-day workshop, and two days of international and local speakers such as:

  • Professor Marilyn Huestis (Chief, Chemistry and Drug Metabolism, NIDA)
  • Professor Kevin Sabet (former adviser to three US presidential administrators)
  • Professor Jose Crippa (CBD expert)
  • Professor Nadia Solowij
  • Professor Olaf Drummer
  • Dr Matthew Large
  • Professor Murat Yucel
  • Professor David Penington
  • Mr Bob Hopkins (founder of Nimbin’s Hemp Embassy)
  • Professor Jan Copeland

The event will include the latest research on emerging areas, and papers on various perspectives of cannabis legalisation policy.

Early bird is closing THIS SUNDAY, and spaces are limited, so book now to secure your place. 


To view the full program, click here.
To see speaker profiles, click here.

Sydney MSIC Safer Injecting Workshop

Sydney MSIC Safer Injecting Workshop

Are you looking to enhance your skills in relation to working with people who inject drugs?

Do you want to be able to offer the best Harm minimisation advice? Then book yourself

onto the Safer Injecting Workshop run by the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre


30th November 2015 (9am  4.30pm)

Cost: $200

Lunch and light refreshments provided.


This workshop is aimed at workers or volunteers currently working with people who inject

drugs and who have some level of training and/or experience. The workshop provides a

sound foundation to consolidate existing knowledge for those wishing to expand their skills

in providing safer injecting advice. This workshop is a full day course and aims to offer

participants an 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

Sydney MSIC trainers are in a unique position to offer you interactive and specialised

training in the field of injecting drug use. Our training packages provide you with knowledge,

skills and confidence to empower you to work effectively with people who use drugs.

Training packages are interactive, engaging and give workers the chance to ask the

questions they’ve always wanted to ask but were too afraid to…….


All participants can elect to attend an early morning tour of the service prior to the

training start time. This tour commences at 8.30am. Please indicate if you wish to attend

this at time of booking.


For a registration form to book a place on this course, please email:


NB: The closing date for applications is two

weeks prior to the course date