2013 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

Image: 2013 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

The 2013 NDARC Symposium was held on 4 September. Thanks to all who attended and provided feedback about the day. 

Links to the program and abstracts for the 2013 symposium remain available below. We have also uploaded selected papers and posters from the day.

For any additional queries, please contact ndarc.symposium@unsw.edu.au


Global burden of disease attributable to illicit drug use and dependence: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 : this paper formed the basis for Prof Louisa Degenhardt's keynote presentation. 

A randomised controlled trial of sublingual buprenorphine–naloxone film versus tablets in the management of opioid dependence: this paper formed the basis of Dr Nicholas Lintzeris' presentation in session three. 

Engagement with the criminal justice system among opioid-dependent people: a retrospective cohort study: this paper formed the basis of Dr Lucy Burns' presentation in session four. 



A cross-validation trial of the internet-based Climate Schools: Alcohol & Cannabis course

A developmentally-focused approach to understanding the violent careers of injecting drug users

A global systematic review of hepatitis C virus in prisons and other closed settings

Associations between personality traits and alcohol misuse: A longitudinal study on an Australian adolescent population

Cannabis and sleep - a literature review

Comparison of adolescent alcohol use at baseline and first follow-up: Results from the Drinking and Teens Project

Development of the DEAL project: A brief online intervention for depression and problematic alcohol use in young people

Examining the trajectory of anxiety, depression and alcohol use in early adolescence

Health related issues among people who inject drugs in Australia: Findings from the 2012 Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS)

Rumination and substance use: Findings from an Australian longitudinal study of heroin users

Secondary effects of a universal internet-based program to prevent alcohol and cannabis use among Australian adolescents: Reducing truancy, moral disengagement and psychological distress

The burden of drug and alcohol presentations on hospital based services

The Climate Schools Combined (CSC) Study: Internet-based prevention for anxiety, depression and substance use in young Australians

The Climate Schools Interactive (CSI) study: Protocol of a cluster randomised controlled trial of the internet-based 'Climate Schools: Ecstasy & Emerging Drugs Module'


Registration is now closed. 



Acknowledgment of country

image - NDARC Annual Research SymposiumCarmen Parker is the Director for Aboriginal Health in NSW. Carmen is a proud descendent of the Darumbal Clan. She has been a Registered Nurse, Registered Midwife and a Womens’ Health Nurse Practitioner.  She also has held a number of policy roles in Government including in the areas of Aboriginal health, Aboriginal law and justice and Aboriginal child protection.  In these various roles she has been a clinician, researcher, educator, a policy/planning officer and held middle and senior management roles. Carmen has a Masters of Arts in Indigenous Social Policy and will graduate in October 2013 with a Masters in Public Administration.



Dr David AllsopDr David Allsop joined the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC) at NDARC in 2009 to coordinate a study into the withdrawal effects associated with quitting cannabis. This study resulted in the production of the world's first psychometrically evaluated cannabis withdrawal scale for use in clinical and research settings. He is currently working on a NHMRC-funded project examining the safety and efficacy of a novel cannabinoid based pharmacotherapy for managing cannabis withdrawal symptoms. Dr Allsop has many years of quantitative research experience, and has lectured on experimental design and statistical analysis as well as on various aspects of animal behaviour. He is particularly interested in understanding human behaviour from an evolutionary perspective.

image - NDARC Annual Research SymposiumDr Lucy Burns has been a Senior Lecturer within NDARC since 2008. Dr Burns holds a PhD (1999-2003) from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW where she researched the epidemiology of comorbidity between alcohol use disorders, anxiety and depression. She also holds a Master of Public Health (1992-1996) and a Graduate Certificate in Health Policy (2007-2008), both obtained at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Sydney University. Dr Burns 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.

Dr Natacha CarragherDr Natacha Carragher joined NDARC in November 2008 and is employed as a Research Fellow. Her research interests include the epidemiology of mood disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder, discriminating between substance-induced and independent major depressive disorder, and the application of latent variable modelling techniques to epidemiological data. She is also interested in alcohol pricing and taxation policies as pathways to redress to alcohol-related harm in the Australian community.

image - NDARC Annual Research SymposiumProfessor Louisa Degenhardt first commenced work at NDARC in 1998 and has worked across a wide range of projects examining the epidemiology of illicit drug use, comorbid mental health problems, and illicit drug surveillance. From 2001-2008 she established and expanded national illicit drug surveillance and strategic early warning systems across Australia, and was appointed a Professor of Epidemiology in 2007. Professor Degenhardt is involved in ongoing national and international projects, working for example with WHO and UNAIDS on the epidemiology of illicit drug use and associated health risks across the globe. She was the lead academic on the Secretariat for the Reference Group to the United Nations on Injecting Drug Use and HIV (2007-2010), and is currently involved in the international Global Burden of Disease project, responsible for making estimates of the burden of disease for illicit drug dependence, and illicit drug use as a risk factor for other health outcomes.

Dr Alys HavardDr Alys Havard is a conjoint of NDARC. Her primary research interest is the epidemiology of health service use associated with tobacco, alcohol and/or other drug use. Her PhD, completed at NDARC in 2010, measured the burden from alcohol use on emergency departments in rural areas of Australia, and identified, implemented and evaluated a strategy for reducing this burden. She is currently a research fellow at the Centre for Health Research at the University of Western Sydney where she is leading an NHMRC funded project investigating the use, effectiveness and safety of smoking cessation medications prior to and during pregnancy, with a specific focus on disadvantaged populations.

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Clinical A/Professor Nicholas Lintzeris (BMedSci, MBBS, FAChAM, PhD) is an experienced and prominent Addiction Medicine specialist with clinical, research and policy expertise. He is the Director of Drug and Alcohol Services, South East Sydney Local Health District, and Chief Addiction Medicine Specialist at the Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Office, NSW Health. Since 2008 he has also held the position of Clinical Associate Professor at the Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Sydney. He has previously held positions at Liverpool and Fairfield Hospitals, and at the Institute of Psychiatry and the South London & Maudsley NHS Trust in London.

Dr Michael LivingstonDr Michael Livingston joined NDARC in 2013 as an NHMRC-funded post-doctoral researcher and is working on a series of studies examining the role of alcohol in socio-economic health inequalities. Dr Livingston's research interests cover the epidemiology of alcohol use and alcohol-related harm, the impact of alcohol policy on behaviour and the links between substance use and health inequalities. Dr Livingston's PhD research examined the impact of changes to liquor licensing regulation in Victoria on a range of outcomes, and has had substantial policy impacts. Dr Livingston maintains a connection with the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research at Turning Point, where he is an investigator on the International Alcohol Control Study.

Timothy McSweeneyTimothy McSweeney is a doctoral student with the Drug Policy Modelling Program at NDARC. His thesis involves a comparative assessment of the processes and impacts of pre-sentence diversion schemes targeting drug-misusing arrestees, using two case studies of approaches currently being delivered in Australia and England. He has over 13 years' experience of conducting and managing social science research with local, regional, national and international dimensions, using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. His research activities to date have focused largely on substance misuse, its treatment and the role played by criminal justice interventions in tackling these and related issues. Much of this work has been undertaken with the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, at Birkbeck, University of London.

Associate Professor Anthony Shakeshaft

Associate Professor Anthony Shakeshaft's principal research interests are community-wide interventions, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing alcohol and other drug use problems. Recent projects include leading the largest community-action alcohol trial ever under-taken internationally, examining the cost-effectiveness of screening and brief intervention in a number of settings, including an RCT to evaluate a novel method of delivering brief intervention through emergency departments, and evaluating a family-based intervention for Aboriginal Australians in rural NSW. In 2012 A/Professor Shakeshaft was appointed a member of the Council of the National Health and Medical Research Council.  

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Dr Edmund Silins has been involved in a variety of projects since joining NDARC in 2005. These projects have included the revision of needle and syringe program resource materials, an evaluation of a residential drug and alcohol detoxification service and the development of materials on ecstasy and related drugs. He has a particular interest in cannabis and psychostimulant research which addresses health issues relevant to young users. His PhD examined mental health outcomes of cannabis users.

Associate Professor Tim SladeAssociate Professor Tim Slade's research interests include the classification of psychiatric disorders, particularly the broad question regarding the categorical versus dimensional status of psychiatric disorders; novel and innovative latent variable statistical methods for examining the continuity of psychopathology (e.g. taxometric analysis, factor analysis, latent class analysis and factor mixture modeling); and the epidemiology of alcohol use and alcohol use disorders in young adults. A/Professor Slade is a member of the Australasian Society for Psychiatric Research.

image - NDARC Annual Research SymposiumDr Wendy Swift is one of the longest serving staff members at NDARC. A registered psychologist (NSW), Dr Swift's research interests include the natural history and consequences of cannabis use and dependence, cannabis potency and the Australian cannabis market, and the development of interventions to prevent or treat cannabis related problems. Wendy is a reviewer for international peer-reviewed journals including leading addiction journals Addiction and Drug and Alcohol Dependence, a reviewer for NHMRC, ARC and similar international granting bodies,  and a member of working Party for Development of First Australian Clinical Guidelines for Management of Cannabis Use Disorders.
Joe Van BuskirkJoe Van Buskrik joined NDARC as a Research Assistant in  August 2011. Joe is currently the NSW Coordinator for the Ecstasy and related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) and also runs the Internet Monitoring arm of the Drug Trends Project looking at online availability of illicit and emerging substances. Van Buskirk completed a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) in 2010 and his previous research areas have focussed on Learning Theory and Cognitive Neuroscience. 
Session chairs: 

Professor Amanda Baker, NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, Priority Research Centre for Brain and Mental Health Research, University of Newcastle.

Professor Paul Haber, Area Medical Director, Drug Health Services, Sydney and South West Sydney Local Health Districts; Consultant, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney.

Karen Price, Acting Director, Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Programs, NSW Health.

Dr Don Weatherburn, Director, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Dept. of Attorney General and Justice.