Three decades of research impact – NDRI’s 30th anniversary symposium

December 2017

More than 100 people came together at the National Drug Research Institute’s 30th anniversary symposium, held to mark three decades of research aimed at preventing and reducing harmful alcohol and other drug (AOD) use in Australia.

Reflecting the symposium theme of ‘Working with Communities: Alcohol and Other Drug Intervention and Policy Research’, leading NDRI researchers presented their latest innovative research in AOD treatment, harm reduction, policy and prevention across a range of research areas, from methamphetamine, online interventions and prisoner health to alcohol policy, Aboriginal communities, overdose response and addiction.

The ‘working with communities’ theme demonstrated NDRI’s commitment to meaningfully involve relevant communities in the research it conducts, from early planning stages through to final outputs.

A highlight of the event was an outstanding panel of guest speakers providing diverse perspectives on stigma and discrimination around alcohol and other drugs. Panel speakers included former WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan; Chris Killick-Moran from the Department of Health’s Drug Strategy Branch; longstanding health journalist Marnie Mckimmie; Cyrenian House CEO Carol Daws; Paul Dessauer from the WA Substance Users Association; and panel chair Terry Slevin from the Cancer Council.

The symposium also featured an introduction from former NDRI Director David Hawks, who outlined some of the key milestones in NDRI’s establishment; a Welcome to Country by Curtin Elder in Residence Simon Forrest; and poster presentations from NDRI early career researchers and PhD students covering such topics as alcohol marketing and social media, ‘study drug’ use, and drug use at outdoor music festivals.

NDARC Director, Professor Michael Farrell, and Mr David Laffan, Assistant Secretary, Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Branch, Australian Government Department of Health, also participated in the symposium reflecting the close working relationships between the Australian Government Department of Health and all the centres funded under the Australian Government’s Drug and Alcohol Program.

Held at the Technology Park Function Centre in Bentley, Perth on 30th November, the symposium attracted a wide range of participants, including policy makers, people working in health and AOD treatment services, local government representatives and law enforcement officers.