2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

image - Logo

The 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium will be held on Tuesday, 3 October and Wednesday, 4 October 2017 at the John Niland Scientia Conference and Events Centre at UNSW Sydney.

Register for day one and two, 3 and 4 October 2017.
Register for day one, 3 October 2017.
Register for day two, 4 October 2017.

Please select Delegate in the Attendee Type dropdown when registering online. Please note: NDARC staff and students must include ID when registering.


Download the program (PDF)

Tuesday, 3 October 2017
8.30-9.00am Registration

Acknowledgement of Country



Professor Michael Farrell


Opening Address
Professor Anthony Kelleher, Acting Dean of Medicine


Game Changers: The early years of drug and alcohol research and how they set the scene for today’s work

Introduction: Professor Ian Webster
Treatment: Professor Richard Mattick
Prevention: Professor Maree Teesson
Policy and systems research: Professor Alison Ritter
Global burden and global reviews: Professor Louisa Degenhardt

10.10-10.30am Q&A
10.30-11.10am Morning tea and poster viewing
Session One: Current Harms Harms and Treatment
Chair: Mr Chris Killick-Moran

Keynote: Take-home naloxone to prevent heroin/opioid overdose deaths: a UK-Australia collaboration

Professor Sir John Strang


National Opioid Medications Abuse Deterrence (NOMAD) study: The impacts of a potentially tamper-resistant oxycodone formulation on opioid use and harms in Australia Dr Briony Larance


Treating over the counter codeine dependence Dr Suzanne Nielsen


Methamphetamine-related death in Australia, 2009-2015 Professor Shane Darke


Stroke and methamphetamine use in young adults: A review Dr Julia Lappin

12.50-1.40pm Lunch and poster viewing

Session Two: Prevention and Early Intervention
Chair: Dr Nicola Newton


Keynote: The future of prevention

Professor Patricia Conrod


The link between anxiety and alcohol use over the transition from adolescence to adulthood: Implications for early intervention Dr Lexine Stapinski


Partnerships in the community: Interventions to reduce alcohol and other drug-related use and harms Dr Emily Stockings


Improving outcomes for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal adolescents at high-risk of poor social, economic and health outcomes: Results from an evaluation embedded into the delivery of routine services Ms Alice Knight

3.10-3.30pm Afternoon tea and poster viewing
3.30-4.30pm Breakout Sessions

Breakout One: Issues in cannabis use and treatment
Chair: Professor Beau Kilmer

Understanding the relationship of cannabis use on pain in people prescribed opioids for chronic non-cancer pain Dr Gabrielle Campbell

Male and female trends in recent cannabis use and attitudes towards cannabis legalisation 2001-2013 Dr Wendy Swift

Medicinal cannabinoids Professor Michael Farrell

Breakout Two: Drug Trends: contemporary issues and policy
Chair: Professor Alison Ritter

Peer administered naloxone in Australia: Past, present and future Professor Simon Lenton

Differences in methamphetamine use among people who inject drugs and people who regularly use stimulants: The need to include both groups in policy responses Ms Amanda Roxburgh

Drug driving: What the drug trends program is telling us? Associate Professor Raimondo Bruno

Breakout Three: Smoking
Chair: Dr Colin Mendelsohn

Cytisine versus varenicline for smoking cessation: A study protocol for a single-blind randomised controlled non-inferiority clinical trial Dr Ryan Courtney

System change interventions for smoking cessation Mr Dennis Thomas

Barriers to cessation among disadvantaged smokers and their experiences with accessing treatment and the role of technology-based quit support Ms Veronica Boland

A randomised controlled study of the Health Intervention “SNAP” in Northern Territory prisons– where smoking is banned – to prevent relapse to smoking after release from prison Professor Kate Dolan

Breakout Four: Innovations in treatment and prevention
Chair: Associate Professor Robert Ali

Study of oral lisdexamfetamine in adults with methamphetamine dependence Dr Nadine Ezard

The efficacy of behavioural activation treatment for co-occurring depression and substance use disorder: The Activate Study Dr Joanne Ross

Cracks in the Ice: An evidence-based initiative for the Australian community about crystal methamphetamine (ice) Dr Louise Birrell

Preventing alcohol and cannabis harms in adolescence: An integrated online program for parents Ms Dana Leidl


Discussion and closing remarks

Professor Michael Farrell

5.30-7.30pm NDARC 30th anniversary evening reception




Wednesday, 4 October 2017
8.30-9.00am Registration


Professor Michael Farrell

Session One: Drug Trends
Chair: Professor Simon Lenton

Keynote: What can Australia learn from recent drug trends in Europe

Mr Paul Griffiths


Drug trends 2017: looking back to think forward Ms Amanda Roxburgh

Changing patterns of new and emerging psychoactive substances in Australia Ms Rachel Sutherland

Trends in illicit tablets – an analytical perspective Joanne Gerstner-Stevens

10.30-11.00am  Morning tea
Session Two: Alcohol and Young People
Chair: Mr David Laffan

Keynote: Recreational drug use amongst risky drinking teenagers: The Young Australians Alcohol Reporting System (YAARS).

Professor Steve Allsop

11.30-12.00pm Parental supply of alcohol and adolescent drinking, harms, and alcohol use disorder symptoms: Prospective cohort study Professor Richard Mattick

Building the Future: Three-minute thesis presentations

Chair: Professor Anne Roche
Substance harm and prisons: Rebecca Bosworth
Aboriginal residential rehabs: Alice Munro and Doug James
Maternal substance abuse: Lisa Hilder
New approaches for low SES smokers: Veronica Boland
Innovative bullying prevention approaches: Erin Kelly
Co-morbidity/young people: Katrina Prior
Drug trafficking: Matt O’Reilly

12.30-1.25pm LUNCH
Session Three: Cannabis Regulation
Chair: Professor Wayne Hall
1.25-1.30 Announcement of poster winners

Keynote: Cannabis legalisation

Professor Beau Kilmer


Cannabis legalisation in Canada: The challenges in a federated country. Dr Marian Shanahan

Session Four: The Future of Drug Policy
Introduction: Ms Annie Madden


Drug policy and democracy: Achieving inclusive and thoughtful policy participation Professor Alison Ritter


Panel discussion and closing remarks
Chair: Michael Farrell
Panel: John Strang, Patricia Conrod, Paul Griffiths, Beau Kilmer, Marian Shanahan, Alison Ritter



Registration for the NDARC Annual Symposium is now open. 

Please select Delegate in the Attendee Type dropdown when registering online. Please note: NDARC staff and students must include ID when registering.

  Earlybird cost (on or before 4 September 2017) Cost (after 4 September 2017)  Registration link
Day one and two $400 $500 Register now
Day one  $250 $300 Register now
Day two $250 $300 Register now



Keynote speakers:

image - 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Professor Sir John Strang is Head of the Addictions Department and is also Leader of the Addictions CAG (Clinical Academic Group) of Kings Health Partners AHSC (Academic Health Science Centre).  He also has extensive experience as a Lead Clinician in charge of a wide range of treatments in community and residential settings and has been a Consultant Psychiatrist in addictions treatment for over 30 years. Professor Sir Strang also provides the overall leadership for the Addictions CAG (Clinical Academic Group) within King's Health Partners, and forms one of the core areas of the Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC).  This brings together university partners King's College London with the NHS from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, King's College Hospital, and Guy's and St Thomas's.  The Addictions CAG, along with other mental health CAGs, is distinctive within King’s Health Partners for crossing the divide between physical and mental health. Professor Sir Strang has chaired and/or served on key committees or guidelines groups for the Department of Health, for NICE (the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence) and for the World Health Organisation (WHO).  This provides opportunity to bring relevant evidence from new scientific studies and systematic reviews to the policy-making work of these committees.

image - 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Professor Patricia Conrod is a clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychiatry at the Universite de Montreal, based at the CHU Sainte-Justine Mother and Child Hospital Centre in Montreal. She is an FRSQ Senior Research Fellow and holds a Senior Research Chair at UdM in Social and Community Pediatrics.  Her research focuses on cognitive, personality and biological risk factors for the development and maintenance of drug abuse and the factors that mediate the co-occurrence of addictive behaviours with other mental disorders. She has significantly contributed to the IMAGEN longitudinal study, the ALICE-RAP Consortium and co-leads the ENIGMA-Addiction working group, a project pooling addiction neuroimaging and genetics studies around the world for  meta- and mega-analysis. Her research findings have led to the development of new approaches to substance abuse treatment and prevention that target personality risk factors and the different underlying motivational determinants of drug use.  She has also developed the Preventure Program, which was recently identified in the U.S. Surgeon General's report on Addiction and in the joint report by UNESCO, WHO and UNODC as an evidence-based solution for drug prevention.

image - 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Paul Griffiths has worked in the drugs field for over 25 years. Prior to 1999, he worked as a researcher based at the National Addiction Centre in London. From 2000, his activities have focused on the international monitoring of drug use, working first for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in Vienna, (UNODC), and subsequently, for the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). Paul joined the EMCDDA in 2003, as head of the epidemiology unit and was appointed Scientific Director in 2010. Recent activities include: serving as part of the UK government’s expert panel on NPS (2014); chairing an international expert review of the Irish National Drug Strategy (2015); and acting as co-chair of the programme committee for the Lisbon Addictions Conference (ongoing). He currently holds an honorary position as a Visiting Senior Lecturer in the Department of Addictions, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London.

image - 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Steve Allsop has been involved in policy, prevention and treatment, research and practice, and professional development for health, police, education, and community organisations for over 35 years. He has managed prevention, policy and treatment services. Until September 2016 he was Director of the National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) at Curtin University. He has previously worked as the A/Executive Director, Drug and Alcohol Office, Western Australia and the Director of the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction, Flinders University of South Australia. His contribution to the field has been recognised with induction into the WA Alcohol and Other Drug Awards Honour Roll, the APSAD senior scientist award in 2015 and the National Alcohol and Other Drugs Honour Roll in 2017.

image - 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Beau Kilmer, PhD is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, where he codirects the RAND Drug Policy Research Center. He is also professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His research lies at the intersection of public health and public safety, with a special emphasis on crime control, substance use, illicit markets, and public policy. Some of his current projects include assessing the consequences of alternative drug policies and measuring the effect of 24/7 Sobriety programs on drunk driving, domestic violence, and mortality. Kilmer's articles have appeared in leading journals such as Journal of the American Statistical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and his commentaries have been published by CNN, Los Angeles TimesNew York TimesUSA Today, Wall Street Journal, and other outlets. In 2016, the second edition of his co-authored book on marijuana legalization was published by Oxford University Press.

NDARC presenters:

image - 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Dr Briony Larance is an NHMRC Australian Public Health Early Career Fellowship recipient and has worked at NDARC since 2004. Her research interests include opioid dependence, opioid substitution therapy and pharmaceutical opioids. Her research focuses on understanding the trajectories and health consequences of pharmaceutical opioid use among diverse populations, including chronic pain patients and people who are opioid dependent and/or inject drugs. She has been involved in epidemiological and clinical studies utilising a range of methods, including randomised-controlled trials, post-marketing surveillance studies, analyses of linked administrative data and cohort studies.

image - 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Dr Suzanne Nielsen joined NDARC in 2014 as an NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow. Her current work is focussed on identifying and responding to prescription and over-the-counter drug related problems. She is involved in a number of prospective cohort studies examining the complex trajectories of problematic prescription and over-the-counter drug use and in the POINT study looking at outcomes for people prescribed opioids for non-cancer chronic pain. Suzanne has 15 years clinical experience as a pharmacist in substance dependence treatment settings having worked in both specialist treatment and community based alcohol and drug settings.

image - 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Professor Shane Darke has worked in the field of illicit drug research at NDARC since 1988. His area of research is the harm associated with illicit drug use, with a particular focus on mortality. He has published widely in the area of illicit drug use, including work on opioid overdose, psychostimulant overdose, psychopathology, suicide, trauma, treatment outcome and toxicology, and was among the 250 most cited sociology researchers in the world between 2000-2008, according to Thompson Reuters' Highly Cited Research. He was a senior investigator for the Australian Treatment Outcome Study, the first longitudinal study of outcome for the treatment of heroin dependence among different treatment modalities to be conducted in Australia. He is currently supervising projects on methamphetamine toxicity, methamphetamine and violence, and the toxicology of suicide victims. Professor Darke's research interests include: Heroin overdose, psychopathology and drug dependence, suicide and drug use, and drug-related trauma.

image - 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Dr Julia Lappin is a Senior Lecturer at NDARC and in the Department of Psychiatry at UNSW. Julia's research has employed epidemiology and neuroimaging to investigate psychotic illness, particularly the early course of psychosis, and clinical and functional outcomes over time. She has continued involvement in the AESOP10 study, a large sample of individuals followed for 10 years after first treatment for psychotic illness. She has a strong interest in improving outcomes for individuals with psychosis, through optimising treatments and services, not only for psychosis itself but also for common comorbid difficulties, including poor physical health, and alcohol and/or substance misuse.

image - 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Dr Lexine Stapinski is a Senior Research Fellow and Clinical Psychologist at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. She is a member of the Academic Leadership Group, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use (CREMS). Her research focusses on understanding how alcohol and substance use disorders develop, and how we can intervene early on to reduce their impact and prevent escalation. She leads the Positive Choices project, which aims to improve dissemination of drug prevention resources to teachers, parents and students across Australia. Her work has been recognised by the TheMHS Early Career Research Innovation award, the Australian Rotary Health Knowledge Dissemination Award, and a research fellowship from the Society of Mental Health Research. She is the recipient of a 2017 NHMRC TRIP (Translating Research into Practice) Fellowship. 

image - 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Dr Emily Stockings (BPsycHons, PhD) is an NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow, based at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC). She has a primary focus on the predictors, prevention and treatment of mental and substance use disorders in young people. She additionally works on a range of projects with national and international collaborators, including randomised controlled trials of smoking cessation interventions, cost-effectiveness analyses, longitudinal cohort studies, and estimations of the prevalence and burden of mental and substance use disorders. Emily conducts a number of systematic reviews and meta-analyses and is a Cochrane Collaboration author. 

image - 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Ms Alice Knight joined NDARC in 2012 and is now working with Associate Professor Anthony Shakeshaft on Indigenous Projects with a particular focus on how community development initiatives influence Aboriginal health.

image - 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Dr Lucy Burns has been Senior Lecturer within the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre since 2008. Dr Burns holds a PhD (1999-2003), from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales where she researched the epidemiology of comorbidity between alcohol use disorders, anxiety and depression. She also holds a Master of Public Health (1992-1996), School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Sydney University and completed a Graduate Certificate in Health Policy (2007-2008) through the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Sydney University.  Dr Burns also has expertise in advanced statistical and research methods using linked data; and has interests in drug use amongst marginalised groups including women who are pregnant and people who are homeless.  Dr Burns is Manager of the Drug Trends Program including the EDRS, IDRS and NIDIP.

Joanne Gerstner-Stevens is a Forensic Officer within the Victoria Police Forensic Services Department.  

image - 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Richard P. Mattick is the Professor of Drug and Alcohol Studies in the National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, Sydney within the Faculty of Medicine. He has authored over 100 scientific articles and books on the assessment, nature and treatment of emotional, cognitive and psychological and neuropsychological problems. His major current research interests are in clinical trials for management of opioid dependence, psychostimulant substitution therapy, treatment of young drug dependent people, and the effects on cognitive functioning of exposure to psychostimulants and opioids.

image - 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Dr Marian Shanahan has completed her PhD project examining the costs and benefits of various cannabis policies. This work involved the completion of a substantial cost benefit analysis and included a contingent valuation study and a discrete choice experiment. This is a world first study. Dr Shanahan is an experienced health economist who has applied health economics principles to a diverse range of disease and structural issues in the health sector. This includes analysing large linked data sets, assessing hospital efficiency and the introduction of new technologies. Dr Shanahan is currently a member of the Drug Policy Modelling Program (DPMP) team. Current interests include assessing the costs and benefits of policies for heroin, cannabis and other illicit drugs; using discrete choice experiments to explore societal preferences for drugs policies;  and assessing the costs and outcomes of police diversion programs for cannabis.

image - 2017 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Professor Alison Ritter is a leading drug policy researcher and Director of the Drug Policy Modelling Program (DPMP) at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at the University of New South Wales. She is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow (2012 to 2016) leading a collaborative, multi-disciplinary program of research on drug policy. The goal of the work is to advance drug policy through improving the evidence-base, translating research and studying policy processes.