The Grey Matters National Conference: Preventing and Responding to Alcohol and Other Drug Problems among Older Australians

February 2015

The National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) is hosting the Grey Matters conference on Wednesday 1 April 2015 9am – 5pm at the Education Development Centre, 4 Milner St, Hindmarsh SA. This initiative is in response to increasing concerns regarding changes in patterns of alcohol and other drug use among older Australians and resultant levels of harm. This is a largely unrecognised issue and older people with these problems often experience stigma as a result of perceptions that 'they are old enough to know better' or 'they are too old to change'. In addition, existing alcohol and other drug prevention and treatment services are not generally focussed on the needs of older clients. These factors place this group of older Australians at significant disadvantage.

The Grey Matters conference will bring together key representatives of the aged care, alcohol and other drug and primary health sectors to focus on this issue. It will involve a range of participants including: aged care service providers (community and residential) and policy staff; alcohol and other drug prevention, treatment and policy staff; and primary care workers with a role in meeting the health and welfare needs of older Australians. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Professor Ann Roche, Director, National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction
  • Professor Brian Draper, Director, Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital Sydney
  • Professor Paul Haber, Medical Director, Drug Health Services, Sydney and South West Sydney Local Health Districts
  • Dr Stephen Bright, Manager, Peninsula Health Alcohol and Other Drug Services, Victoria
  • Ms Debra Rowett, PSM, Director, Drug and Therapeutics Information Service, Repatriation General Hospital, South Australia
  • Professor Malcolm Battersby, Director, Flinders University Human Behaviour and Health Research Unit
  • Mr Ian Yates, Chief Executive, Council on the Ageing, Australia
  • Dr Tim Semple, Senior Specialist, Royal Adelaide Hospital Pain Clinic
  • Dr Craig Whitehead, Geriatrician, Department of Rehabilitation and Aged Care, Repatriation General Hospital, South Australia
  • Professor Richard Reed, Head of Discipline, General Practice, Flinders University School of Medicine
  • Professor Mary Luszcz, Director, Flinders University Centre Ageing Studies
  • Professor Margaret Hamilton, AO, University of Melbourne

Other speakers to be confirmed include Professor Leon Lack, Consultant Psychologist, Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health.

The Conference aims to raise awareness of alcohol and other drug issues in ageing populations. For more information about: