2016 NDARC Annual Research Symposium

image - Symposium Invitation 2016

The 2016 NDARC Annual Research Symposium will be held on 12 September 2016 at the John Niland Scientia Conference and Events Centre at UNSW in Sydney.

To register, click here


Click here to download the program (pdf).

8:30-9:00am Registration
9:00-9:05am Acknowledgement of Country


Professor Michael Farrell


Keynote Address

Professor Kate Conigrave, Addiction Medicine specialist

Session One: Substance use and social disadvantage

Community-based approaches to reducing alcohol-related harms among Indigenous Australians

Professor Anthony Shakeshaft


Smoking cessation and low socio-economic groups

Dr Ryan Courtney  


HIV, prisons and human rights

Professor Kate Dolan

10:45-11:15am MORNING TEA and poster viewing
Session Two: Prevention and Treatment

Evaluating novel approaches to prevention for adolescents

Professor Maree Teesson


An Evaluation of Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST) in prison on risk of mortality in period immediately after prison

Professor Michael Farrell


The impact of Reformulated Oxycontin® in Australia

Dr Briony Larance

12:00-12:30pm Five-minute poster presentations (for list, see Posters tab)
12:30-1:30pm LUNCH and poster viewing
Session Three: Current controversies
1.30- 1:45pm

Over-the-counter naloxone supply: Are community pharmacists ready?

Dr Suzanne Nielsen


Can police deter drug use and supply at music festivals?

Dr Caitlin Hughes


Drug checking to improve monitoring of new psychoactive substances in Australia

Dr Monica Barratt

2:15-3:15pm Breakout sessions
Breakout One: Issues in Adolescence

Cohort effects as predictors of transition between alcohol and cannabis use stages; Prevention, early intervention, harm reduction and treatment of substance use in young people; A longitudinal study of alcohol initiation and progression to risky drinking

Dr Luise Lago, Dr Emily Stockings, Alexandra Aiken

Breakout Two: Treatment for methamphetamine, cannabis, and comorbid anxiety

Methamphetamine psychosis and the clinical-research interface; Comparison of brief versus extended feedback in an online intervention for cannabis users RCT; Does Comorbid Social Anxiety Moderate Treatment Outcomes for Depressed Substance Users

Dr Julia Lappin, Professor Jan Copeland, Katrina Prior

Breakout Three: School-based prevention

Effectiveness of an online-based prevention program for ecstasy and new psychoactive substances: Two-year outcomes from a cluster randomised controlled trial; Positive Choices: Evaluation of a drug and alcohol prevention initiative for school communities; The Climate Schools Combined (CSC) Study: Internet-based prevention for anxiety, depression and substance use in young people

Dr Katrina Champion, Siobhan Lawler, Dr Cath Chapman

Breakout Four: Comorbidity Guidelines Workshop

A workshop on the recently revised Department of Health funded Guidelines on the management of co-occurring alcohol and other drug and mental health conditions in alcohol and other drug treatment settings

Dr Christina Marel, Associate Professor Katherine Mills

3:15-4:45pm AFTERNOON TEA
3:45- 4.30pm PANEL DISCUSSION: Findings from the 2016 Drug Trends 

Poster prize and People’s Choice winners announced


Closing Remarks

Professor Michael Farrell


Earlybird registration for the NDARC Annual Symposium is now open. To register, click here
   Closing Date   Cost 
 Earlybird Registration   Friday, 12 August 2016   $250 
 Regular Registration   Friday, 2 September 2016   $300 


Student rates are also available for full-time students. Please contact ndarc.symposium@unsw.edu.au for more details on registering as a student.




Professor Kate Conigrave is an Addiction Medicine specialist and a public health physician. She works with clients with alcohol and drug problems at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.  Kate is also a Professor at the University of Sydney, where she is involved in training of health professionals.  She has over 100 publications in refereed journals.  She is an editor of the book Addiction Medicine, and was one of the six editors of the Handbook for Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Work.  Kate has worked in partnership with Aboriginal community controlled agencies in NSW and other states, and with communities in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory over the past 15 years.

Session One

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumProfessor Anthony Shakeshaft’s principal research interests are in embedding the evaluation of interventions into the delivery of routine clinical health services and into the implementation of population-level interventions, with a particular interest in community-based approaches and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. His intervention trials have been conducted in partnership with a range of service providers, communities and academics to: examine the cost-effectiveness of alcohol brief interventions delivered in community-based counselling settings; the use of patient driven computers for screening and intervention in primary care (UK, Canada and Australia); improving the appropriateness of red blood cell transfusions in metropolitan hospitals; a national evaluation of pharmacotherapies for opioid dependence provided in drug and alcohol clinics; and increasing the provision of screening and brief intervention through Aboriginal Medical Services.

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumDr Ryan Courtney is a Cancer Institute New South Wales Early Career Research Fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. Dr Courtney’s published work includes research on smoking cessation, in particular tobacco smoking in socially disadvantaged groups. His research has a strong intervention focus and is aimed at reducing the social gradient in smoking cessation. Dr Courtney is an investigator on over $4.8 million in competitive research funding nationally and internationally including the following projects: an RCT to test the efficacy of reducing financial stress to increase smoking cessation; a world-first head-to-head RCT of cytisine vs varenicline for smoking cessation; a relapse prevention RCT testing the efficacy of electronic cigarettes; RCT on the cost-effectiveness of technology-based interventions to increase treatment adherence and smoking cessation; and CI on other Category 1 funded grants, including the impact of electronic nicotine device use in youth cohorts. 

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumProfessor Kate Dolan’s areas of research include drug treatment for prisoners, HIV prevention for injecting drug users, drug treatment for women and the transmission and prevention of hepatitis C among prisoners. In 1986, Kate along with several others started the first needle and syringe program in Australia, the third in the world. Kate also established the Program of International Research and Training which aims to build capacity among researchers and clinicians in HIV prevention and treatment for drug dependence in developing countries. Kate had undertaken consultancies for UNODC, HAARP, WHO, the Centre for Harm Reduction, the International Harm Reduction Association, AusAID and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada.

Session Two

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumProfessor Maree Teesson is an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, and Director of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use. Prof Teesson has made a major contribution to Australia’s health and medical research effort in the field of mental health and substance use. In particular, she is known nationally and internationally for her research on the comorbidity between mental health and substance use disorders. She was elected as inaugural fellow of the Australian Academy of Health Sciences in 2015.

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumProfessor Michael Farrell is the Director of NDARC. He moved to Sydney from London in March 2011 following his appointment to NDARC. Prior to joining NDARC he was Professor of Addiction Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His extensive research interests include treatment evaluation, including the development of the National Treatment Outcomes Profile, a brief outcomes measurement instrument for drug and alcohol dependence. He has a long standing interest in drug dependence in prisons and within the wider criminal justice system. He has been a member of the WHO Expert Committee on Drug and Alcohol Dependence since 1995 and chaired the WHO External Evaluation of the Swiss Heroin Trial.

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumDr 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.

Session Three

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumDr 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 - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumDr Caitlin Hughes is a criminologist and Senior Research Fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. She works as part of the multi-disciplinary Drug Policy Modelling Program (DPMP) which seeks to improve Australian drug policy by identifying what works, translating research evidence and engaging directly with policy makers. Caitlin’s prime focus is improving understanding of the effects of different legislative regimes and law enforcement approaches, and the role of law enforcement relative to other aspects of drug policy.

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumDr Monica Barratt joined the Drug Policy Modelling Program at NDARC in 2014 after being awarded an NHMRC post-doctoral fellowship. Monica's research focusses on the social and public health implications of internet technologies for people who use illicit and emerging psychoactive drugs, and the impacts of legislative responses to drug use and drug problems. Monica is particularly interested in how we respond to the emergence of new/novel drug trends and how these trends and responses are enabled by digital technologies. She specialises in engaging hard-to-reach networks and groups in digital spaces in conversations about research and policy. Through this engagement, Monica's work acts as a conduit between these groups and policy makers, and contributes to policy change.

Breakout One

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumDr Luise Lago joined NDARC in 2015 as a Biostatistician. She is currently a Research Fellow, researching the epidemiology of alcohol and illicit drug use disorders in Australia and internationally using the World Mental Health Survey. Her interests include classifications development and hospital funding, and she recently took a lead role in the development of the Australian-Refined Diagnosis Related Groups (AR-DRG) v.7.0. Luise was previously a survey methodologist at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and worked on household and business surveys such as the Census of Population and Housing, the National Health Survey, and the Indigenous Social Survey.

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumDr Emily Stockings joined NDARC as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in 2013. She has experience in the design, implementation and evaluation of randomised controlled trials, with a focus on evidence-based substance use treatment interventions for people with a mental disorder. Emily is currently working with the Centre for Research Excellence in Mental Health Systems Improvement (CREMSI) developing an evidence base for the cost-effectiveness of preventive mental health interventions.

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumAlexandra Aiken is a Senior Research Officer in the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), Faculty of Medicine, UNSW. She is currently working on a large scale longitudinal study, the Drinking and Teens project. She also coordinates the NSW arm of the Young Australians Alcohol Reporting System (YAARS). The Drinking and Teens project aims to determine if parental supply of alcohol in the Australian context, affects the progression to harmful levels of drinking in adolescence.

Breakout Two

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumDr 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 - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumProfessor Jan Copeland is a Professor and Director of the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC), a consortium led by NDARC with seven key partners nationally managing a large and diverse set of programs. Professor Copeland has also developed three major programs of research in brief interventions for cannabis use disorder; development of treatment outcome monitoring systems; and psychostimulants.

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumKatrina Prior is a Research Officer at NDARC and currently works on the Activate Study which aims to investigate the efficacy of behavioural activation therapy for the treatment of co-occurring depression and substance dependence. Katrina commenced her PhD in 2014 (supervised by Joanne Ross, Maree Teesson, and Katherine Mills), using national data to explore the comorbidity of substance use disorders, major depression and social anxiety disorder in the general population, as well as the demographic, physical health and mental health correlates associated with this comorbidity.

Breakout Three

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumDr Katrina Champion is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the NDARC Centre for Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, where she manages a project funded through the Department of Health to develop an online community toolkit for methamphetamine. Katrina’s doctoral thesis involved the development and evaluation of the Climate Schools: Ecstasy & Emerging Drugs module, the first online school-based prevention program designed to prevent ecstasy and new psychoactive substances. Her research interests include the development and evaluation of innovative resources to improve the health and wellbeing of young Australians, Internet-based interventions and school-based substance use prevention.

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research Symposium Siobhan Lawler joined NDARC in 2015 after completing a Bachelor of Psychological Science majoring in Criminology (Honours) at the University of New South Wales. She is currently working as a Research Assistant on the Positive Choices project with the Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use prevention team. The project aims to provide evidence-based drug and alcohol education resources for teachers, parents and students via an online portal. Prior to starting at NDARC, Siobhan was involved in a number of interdisciplinary research projects and worked closely with disadvantaged youth in Sydney’s inner west.

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research Symposium Dr Cath Chapman joined NDARC in 2010 to aid in the analysis of the 2nd Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, a large cross-sectional epidemiological survey examining the prevalence of mental and substance use disorders in the general population. Her research interests include the descriptive epidemiology of mental and substance use disorders, service utilisation and pathways to care, as well as the way in which epidemiological data can inform health services policy and planning.

Breakout Four

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumDr Christina Marel is a Research Fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, and a member of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use (CREMS).  She led the revision of the Department of Health funded Guidelines on the management of co-occurring alcohol and other drug and mental health conditions in alcohol and other drug treatment settings, and has previously coordinated the development and dissemination of information booklets on co-occurring mental health conditions for people with substance use problems.

image - 2016 NDARC Annual Research SymposiumAssociate Professor Katherine Mills has worked at NDARC since 2001. She is Program Director and Director of Treatment Research for the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use (CREMS). Her research focuses on the epidemiology and treatment of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, in particular, post-traumatic stress disorder. Katherine has published widely in the area and has been an investigator on grants totalling close to $10 million. She has received a number of awards for excellence in science and research, and in recognition of the impact of her work on the community; most recently A/Prof Mills received a 2012 NSW Young Tall Poppy award from the Australian Institute of Policy and Science.


Five-minute poster presentations

Dr Kamran Afzali Understanding symptom comorbidity between Alcohol Use Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Application of a novel symptom network approach
Zahra Alam-mehrjerdi Brief cognitive-behavioural therapy for methamphetamine use disorder among opiate-dependent women in methadone treatment: A randomised controlled trial
Kerryn Butler  Expanding HCV testing in general practice for people who inject drugs
Doug James Examining Indigenous drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation services in Australia and internationally: What does the published literature tell us?
Matthew O’Reilly Supply changes in Australia’s ecstasy market 2002-2014: A re-emerging market?