Speakers

Mr Daniel Morrison, CEO, Wungening Aboriginal Corporation

Ms Selah Hart, Chief Executive Officer, Hāpai te Hauora

Selah Hart (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa) is CEO of Hāpai Te Hauora, the largest Māori public health organisation in Aotearoa. Selah has a public health advocacy and governance background, and currently sits on the board of the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand, Diabetes New Zealand and the Health Coalition Aotearoa. Selah is passionate about health equity, and improving the health of whānau through culturally safe and evidence-based action. She has five children and lives in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Mr Antony Loewenstein, Journalist & Author, Pills, Powder and Smoke: Inside the Bloody War on Drugs

Antony Loewenstein is a Sydney-based journalist who has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post and many others. His latest book is Pills, Powder and Smoke: Inside the Bloody War on Drugs. He’s the author of Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing Out of Catastrophe; the writer/co-producer of the associated documentary, Disaster Capitalism; and the co-director of an Al-Jazeera English film on the opioid drug tramadol. His other best-selling books include My Israel Question, The Blogging Revolution, and Profits of Doom, and he is the co-editor of the books Left Turn and After Zionism, and is a contributor to For God’s Sake.

Dr. Sharon Ponniah, Health & Wellbeing Director, PwC Australia

Professor Judith Grisel, Behavioural Neuroscientist, Bucknell University

Professor Grisel is a behavioral neuroscientist with expertise in pharmacology and genetics whose research focuses on determining the neural liability toward drug addiction. Her laboratory at Bucknell University is especially interested in identifying innate factors that influence the rewarding effects of abused drugs, because initial sensitivity predicts disordered use. Recent work has focused on the role of endogenous opiate neurotransmission in sex differences in binge alcohol drinking. Professor Grisel teaches General Psychology, Introduction to Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology, Neuroethics, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Clinical Neuroscience, and recently published Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction, a New York Times bestseller and NB Book of the Month.

Mr Simon Fenech, Operations manager of Fruit2Work and author of Breaking Good

“It doesn’t matter where you are in life, you can make a mistake and lose your way,” says Simon Fenech. “But you can always find your way back.” The way back was a long and difficult road for Fenech, who suffered a workplace injury as a delivery driver in 2008. That injury led to a life-changing decision. Unable to find relief with prescription medications and physical therapy, he resorted to methamphetamine to ease his chronic pain. “After nine years of training in kickboxing, I really thought I had self-control,” he says. “But from the very first time I tried ice, I was addicted.” The following years saw him fall into drug addiction and criminal activity until he was sentenced to 12 months in prison in 2016. “All I could think of was getting my kids back in my life – that was my goal,” he says of using the time in jail to rehabilitate.

After his release, Fenech struggled to find a job – “As soon as employers saw I had a criminal record they closed the door on me” – but his life changed again when he was hired by Melbourne delivery service Fruit2Work, a social enterprise that offers employment opportunities and peer mentoring to people with a criminal record. “Being able to receive a pay packet, to wear a high-vis uniform again, I didn’t feel like a criminal anymore and I was able to start rebuilding my life.” The 46-year-old father of three is now the organisation’s operations manager and helps guide a new group through the program, which boasts a zero recidivism rate, every six months. “All I want to do is give someone the opportunity I had.”

Professor Simon Lenton, Director, National Drug Research Institute (Invited)

Professor Dan Lubman AM, Executive Clinical Director, Turning Point and Professor of Addiction Studies and Services, Monash University (Invited)

Panel Member

Dr Jeremy Hayllar, Clinical Director, Metro North Queensland

After training in general medicine and gastroenterology in London, Jeremy was looking for change.  With his wife, he travelled to Mt Isa in 1992, lured by an image of Whitehaven beach on the back cover of the BMJ!  He spent 10 years at Mt Isa Hospital as Director of Medical Services and general physician. In this hard-drinking mining community his interest in substance use problems developed.  Since 2004 he has been Clinical Director of the Alcohol and Drug Service, Metro North Mental Health.  His interests include treatment of opioid use disorder and the interface between addictions and mental health.

Professor Judith Grisel, Behavioural Neuroscientist, Bucknell University

Professor Grisel is a behavioral neuroscientist with expertise in pharmacology and genetics whose research focuses on determining the neural liability toward drug addiction. Her laboratory at Bucknell University is especially interested in identifying innate factors that influence the rewarding effects of abused drugs, because initial sensitivity predicts disordered use. Recent work has focused on the role of endogenous opiate neurotransmission in sex differences in binge alcohol drinking. Professor Grisel teaches General Psychology, Introduction to Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology, Neuroethics, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Clinical Neuroscience, and recently published Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction, a New York Times bestseller and NB Book of the Month.

Tim Costello

Rev Tim Costello directs Ethical Voice and is one of Australia’s most respected community leaders and a sought after voice on social justice issues, leadership and ethics.

For 13 years until October 2016, Tim was Chief Executive of World Vision Australia (WVA). He then completed over 2 years as WVA’s Chief Advocate.

Currently Tim remains as Executive Director of Micah Australia and continues to place the challenges of global poverty on the national agenda. He is also Senior Fellow for the Centre for Public Christianity. He remains spokesperson for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, which campaigns for law reform to prevent harm from poker machine gambling.

Other positions he holds are: Chair of the Community Council of Australia and Chief Advocate of the Thriving Communities Partnership.

In 2006 Tim was named Victoria’s Australian of the Year, in June 2005 was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO); in 2004, was named Victorian of the Year; and in 1997 was named as one of Australia’s 100 National Living Treasures.

In 2019 he released his personal memoir ‘A Lot with a Little’ which is published by HardieGrant.

Mary Fenech

Mary has worked in the field of Hepatology and Blood Borne Viruses and Sexual Health for more than twenty years and graduated as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. During this time, Mary has been involved in clinical trials involving new treatments for chronic hepatitis C and has seen treatment emerge from one of limited success and significant side effects to a user friendly and highly efficacious treatment that is now appropriate for all consumer groups.

Mary left a large tertiary centre Liver Clinic in 2018 to work as an NP with Queensland Injectors Health Network where she operates outreach clinics over several locations around south east Queensland serving a variety of marginalised populations. Mary’s past experience in the tertiary setting has enabled strong links to be established between QuIHN and the broader healthcare field, ensuring access along the continuum of care for clients with viral hepatitis and for those with complications from these diseases. Mary was one of the founding members and early Presidents of the Australasian Hepatology Association (AHA) and a co author of the original AHA Practice Standards for the Hepatology Nurse and AHA consensus Guidelines for the Care of People living with Advanced Liver Disease and Hepato Cellular Carcinoma.

In her spare time, Mary concentrates on completing her PhD.

Keynote Panel Member – Dr Nicole Lee, Founder and CEO, 360Edge

Professor Nicole Lee is the founder and CEO at 360Edge, a leading consultancy specialising in alcohol and other drug service and workforce development. She has 30 years experience in policy and practice implementation. She is also Adjunct Professor at the National Drug Research Institute Curtin University, board member and Chair of the Clinical Governance Committee at Hello Sunday Morning, and a member of the Australian National Council on Alcohol and other Drugs (ANACAD) – Australia’s key expert advisory council to the Australian Government on drugs. She has a unique combination of experience and skills in clinical practice and management, research, teaching, and policy development. Prior to consulting she was Head of Research at Turning Point and an academic with a long track record of research and publications.

Conjoint Prof. Adrian Dunlop, School of Medicine and Public Health, Director Drug & Alcohol Clinical Services, Hunter New England Local Health District, Drug & Alcohol Clinical Research & Improvement Network Member, NSW

Dr Adrian Dunlop is Director and Senior Staff Specialist for Hunter New England Local Health District Drug & Alcohol Clinical Services and Conjoint Professor, School of Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle He was the Chief Addiction Medicine Specialist, NSW Health (2014-2018). He is a Foundation Fellow of the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine and current President-Elect of the Chapter Committee, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Past-President of the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs, and Fellow of the International Society for Addiction Medicine.

Panel Member

Mr Tony Clarkson, Principal Clinical Advisor, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation

Panel Member

Mr Scott Wilson, CEO, Aboriginal Drug & Alcohol Council SA