APSAD Conference Day 2
What another great day at APSAD! There were that many concurrent sessions happening about such a wide range of topics, that several times during the day I had to take some time out just to process all the information that was rolling around my head. This also gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of great people along the way.
It was particularly nice to meet a couple of members of the Heads Together collective, a social networking website that has been created to support collaboration and resource sharing within the AOD/Harm Reduction workforce. I have been a member of this collective for a while and it was great to finally meet some of the people that I had previously conversed with online.
A chance meeting over lunch with Associate Professor Richard Midford of Edith Cowan University was particularly enlightening. Richard took me on a tour through the HealthInfoNet website. This marvelous website has been developed as a clearinghouse and information portal for workers engaged in work with Australian indigenous service users and communities.
It was also great to meet Nicole Wiggins, Manager of CAHMA, the advocacy organisation for illict drug users in the Australian Capital Territory. Nicole facilitated a group discussion regarding the possibilities of introducing a peer to peer naloxone administration program in the A.C.T.
There were a number of presentations that stood out for me today. AIVL Research Officer, Laura Liebelt examined the real cost of opioid pahramcotherapy for the consumers who bear the significant financial burdens that such programs incur. In this paper it was estimated that there were approximately 43,000 people currently receiving opioid pharmacotherapy in Australia. These consumers pay approximately $3.9 million per month in dispensing fees and other costs. It was asserted that evidence has consistently demonstrated that a user pays scheme for opiod pharmacotherapy results in negative impacts for consumers such as financial hardship and that the subsidization of opioid pharmacotherapy has the potential to significantly reduce these harms.
John Grabowski of the University of Minnesotta spoke about the range of psychostimulant agonists that have been trialled for efficacy and abuse liability, with the view of potential use in the treatment of psychostimulant. John identified 9 reviews that supported the efficacy of such treatments but identified that political and legal barriers make it difficult to obtain permission to implement such programs.
Adam Winstock from the U.K. demonstrated his capacity as both an entertaining and informative presenter, while examining the abuse liability and effect profile of mephedrone. Adam placed these examinations into the context of the sensationalist media attention upon the drug and its supposed effects and the subsequent banning of the substance through legislation. Some of the key points of Adam’s presentation included:
- The initial demand for mephedrone was probably driven by the decline in purity of MDMA and cocaine in the U.K.
- Mephedrone has a similar effect profile to ecstasy but requires the consumer to dose more frequently in order to maintain the desired effects.
- Since the ban of Mephedrone in the U.K., the price of the drug has doubled. Despite this Adam asserts that demand for the drug will remain strong ass users find it’s that the drug has less intense negative symptoms of intoxication /come down and the relative cheapness of the drug when compared with other illicit drugs.
Okay so that wraps up my presentation highlights for day 2.
See you all tomorrow for the third and final day of the APSAD conference and don’t forget you can receive updates during the day following #apsadconference on Twitter.