APSAD Conference Day 1
Wow what a day! My first APSAD conference and it has been absolutely fantastic so far. The day has been action packed and I have managed to squeeze in seeing three keynote addresses, two workshops and a symposium. All while reporting the conference via Twitter and meeting numerous people. My only dissapointment has been the very small number of people sharing their conference experience on Twitter (Here’s a tip if you tweet throughout the conference it makes writing your conference reports for your workplace so much easier).
Anyway here is the rundown of my day.
Keynote speaker Professor Lloyd Sansom AO, Chair of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, spoke about the strengths and challenges of Australia’s Medicines Reimbursement System in the face of the rising cost of health care in Australia.
The second keynote speaker Professor Michael Farrell of the National Addiction Centre in the U.K. spoke about the risks for drug users entering and leaving the prison system. Citing author Jessica Mitford, Professor Farrell pointed out that prisons were a growing business. He showed data that indicated that in the European Union on any given day there are 600, 000 indviduals in prison. The risks to drug users in prison were many and varied however what really stood out to me was Professor Farrell’s citation of a recent study conducted by Dolan and Haber which found that 1 in 3 drug injectors incarcerated, become infected with Hepatitis C in jail. He also showed data that demonstrated that drug users are at significantly greater risk of death in the first one to two weeks post release. This risk reduces in relation to the length of time since the individual’s release.
The third keynote speaker Professor Alexander (Sandy) McFarlane of the University of Adelaide delivered an entertaining and thought provoking presentation about the complex relationship between alcohol, trauma and self medication. Professor McFarlane demonstrated through the use of a range of studies that alcohol can have impact in relieving some of the symptoms of PTSD, however also pointed out that problematic alcohol increased the risk of further trauma.
I found the workshop “21st Century Therapy innovations in the treatment of alcohol use”, highly interesting. The workshop examined the trial of an internet based intervention to address alcohol use called On Track
While further randomly controlled trials need to be undertaken to test the efficacy of internet based interventions, the researchers found that these types of interventions maybe viable in addressing the comorbid occurence of problematic alcohol use and depression.
The Alcohol Policy Symposium examined a range of policy issues in relation to alcohol including:
- Impact of alcohol outlet density on harms including violence and chronic health issues, and
- The impact of restrictions on the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.
It was found that the increase in density of alcohol outlets leads to an increase in incidents of both family violence and public violence. The impct of restrictions of the consumption of alcohol in public places however, appears to serve to further marginalise already marginalised members of the community.
The last workshop of the day presented by Annie Madden and Carla Treloar presented a two part research project regarding consumer participation in drug treatment services. The presenters asserted that consumer participation needs to be a part of core business for AOD services for consumer participation to be truly effective.
Anyway that is the wrap up for Day 1. I am looking forward to seeing many more great presentations tomorrow, followed by a much anticipated dinner in Parliament House.