The Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference 2016 – alcohol – other drugs – behavioural addictions, prevention, treatment and recovery ended with keynote speaker Dr Michael Savic, Research Fellow, Turning Point presenting on the evidence, challenges and opportunities of utilising peer support – concluding that users are more than just a story and can help design the course for recovery.
Wrapping up after three days of discussion and collaborative learning addressing a variety of topics and complex and contemporary issues including managing ice addiction, compulsive eating, as well as behavioural addictions, the conference was attended by over 250 people including a broad range mental health and addiction experts and those who are working with, or recovering from addiction.
Beginning on the first day with six interactive workshops including; Interactive Drawing Therapy, CBT for substance misuse, sex addiction assessment, treatment and aftercare, financial literacy in the problem gambling space, managing vicarious trauma and exploring the resources of the Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre practical knowledge was shared.
The conference opened with keynote speaker Dr Sally McCarthy, Medical Director from the Emergency Care Institute who shared insight from the National ICE Taskforce and a view of emergency care. Dealing with the complexities of ice users in the public hospital system requires staff training, preparation and shared education on how best to manage patients.
Professor Richard Murray, Dean of Medicine and Head of School, College of Medicine and Dentistry from James Cook University discussed combating methamphetamine use from a regional and remote community perspective and Associate Professor Nicole Lee, National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University spoke about the need for improved treatment response.
There were a wide variety of sessions across streams including working with vulnerable groups: indigenous, youth and rural populations, research and policy, Methamphetamine: impact of ice, studies, trends, impacts and training and alcohol.
Conference chair Dr Matthew Berry hosted a panel discussion with UK criminology lecturers, Dr Paul Grayand and Dr Rob Ralphs from Manchester Metropolitan University, on the study of new psychoactive substance use in a UK city, managing new psychoactive substance use and markets in custodial settings and emerging polydrug use trends among British body builders.
Keynote speaker Mr Garth Popple – Executive Director, We Help Ourselves (WHOS) discussed A Case Study – WHOS® Australia Harm which looked at reduction integration into abstinence based residential treatment who said;
“Not all individuals can achieve total abstinence and multiple smaller steps are better than a few huge ones. WHOS took a common sense approach to reduce harm so if the rules of the program are broken they are broken safely.”
The 2016 Addiction conference enabled the sharing of innovative strategies that can help improve the ability to treat a range of addictive behaviours and approached addictions and comorbidity in mental health considering families, culture and our community.
With a high quality program, feedback from delegates was very positive and after two days of collaborative learning around prevention and treatment techniques for a wide range of addictions, delegates took away new ideas, knowledge of the latest research and tools to help them to tackle the changing face of addiction.