SANDAS Symposium – ‘Minimising the Harm’

19th October 2017 – 8:30am – 5:00pm

Adelaide Pavilion, Cnr South Tce and Peacock Rd, Adelaide

Click here to register!

Harm minimisation has been the prevailing approach to drug and alcohol policy in Australia for many years. Organisations working in this sector provide a variety of services and employ a range of strategies that fall under this approach, built on a belief in social justice and respect for the rights of people who use drugs.

The 2017 SANDAS Symposium will seek to bring together a number of speakers who are working in this space, to share experiences of how this approach challenges our sector, impacts upon individuals, contributes to our evidence bases, and creates opportunities for social change.

Speaker program includes:

Associate Professor David Caldicott is an Emergency Consultant at the Emergency Department of the Calvary Hospital in Canberra and a Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine at the Australian National University.

He has published widely in the peer-reviewed literature, and presents nationally and internationally on the subject of the use of the emergency department as an observatory for the surveillance of novel psychotropic substances as they evolve, as well as their effects in acute overdose. He remains a staunch advocate for harm reduction, maintaining that drugs policy is an issue of public health, and not political morality.

Dr Caldicott has long been associated with the push for harm minimisation initiatives in Australia, in particular, Pill Testing programs at dance parties and events. He will be talking about the long history of this issue in our state, how pill testing programs work, and their effectiveness in reducing the harm associated with drug use in this context.


Assoc. Professor Robert Ali is a public health physician and specialist in addiction medicine. Until 2016 he was the Director of Community Based Treatments at the Drug & Alcohol Services South Australia, as well as the Director of a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Research into the Treatment of Drug and Alcohol Problems at the University of Adelaide. Robert is a member of the Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drugs, member of the Cochrane Alcohol and Drug Group editorial board and the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Drug Dependence and Alcohol Problems.

Robert holds a number of university appointments, including visiting research fellow at the Australian National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, Clinical Associate Professor in the Discipline of Pharmacology at Adelaide University and Senior Lecturer at the National Centre for Education and Training in Addictions at Flinders University.

A lot has changed in the the Drug and Alcohol space since Robert first came to Drug and Alcohol Services SA (DASSA) in 1985. We have invited Robert to reflect on the changes he has seen in his time in the sector and where he thinks things are going in the future…


Dr Carole Khaw is a Consultant Sexual Health Physician at Clinic 275, Infectious Diseases Unit, Royal Adelaide Hospital, South Australia and Clinical Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide.

She is involved in Advanced Training in Sexual Health Medicine and with the Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine, Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Her interests include HIV medicine, STIs, PrEP, nPEP, Gay Men’s sexual health, Chemsex, Transgender Medicine and various aspects of Female Sexual Dysfunction. She is passionate about sexual health education and promotion in the community, in ​health care providers, as well as research.

Carole will be presenting on the topic of Chemsex – the definition, the drugs concerned, the men (MSM) involved, harm reduction strategies in this area, and her own research as to what is the situation in South Australia as this has not been undertaken before.


Professor Nicole Lee is Director at 360Edge, a specialist drug and alcohol consultancy, Professor at the National Drug Research Institute and Consultant Psychologist. She is an Australian leader in alcohol and drug clinical policy and practice. Well known for her work with complex problems, including responses to methamphetamine, comorbidity, domestic and family violence and worker stress and burnout.

Alcohol and other drug work can be complex. Our clients are exposed to significant past trauma and other challenges, including domestic and family violence, physical and mental health issues, involvement with the criminal justice and child protection systems and socio-economic hardship. Working with these challenges can have knock on effects to workers themselves in stress, burnout and vicarious trauma. Identify early signs and symptoms of trouble, understand effective prevention and intervention strategies and find out how to build resilience to enjoy a long and satisfying career in the alcohol and other drugs sector.


Dr Rachel Reilly is a Health Psychologist who has worked in Aboriginal health research for the past 15 years, alongside clinical practice in a range of settings. At Wardliparingga Aboriginal Research Unit (SAHMRI) she has contributed to Aboriginal community-led projects seeking to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people in cancer and cardiovascular disease, and she is now coordinating a large NHMRC-funded project led by A/Prof James Ward in the Infection and Immunity Aboriginal Health theme at SAHMRI, seeking to develop novel interventions to address methamphetamine use in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.​


Steve Lymb has been employed by Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia (DASSA) SA Health since 1999, where he is manager of Population Programs. His career at DASSA has focused on reducing drug related harms amongst priority populations including Aboriginal people, homeless people and young people.

Steve will be speaking about methamphetamine harm reduction and will focus on methamphetamine trends, harms, responses and referral points. Steve will also provide an overview of ‘Opioid overdose prevention and response (including naloxone)’.


Alcohol and Other Drugs Regional Workshops

This workshop will cover:

  • Prevalence of drug and alcohol use
  • The Non-Government Treatment Sector
  • Neuroanatomy and theories of drug use
  • Comorbidity and complexity
  • Drug classes and the effects of intoxication, overdose and withdrawal
  • Screening, assessment, intervention and treatment

For more information or to register, click your local workshop below:

Port Lincoln – 2nd August

Mount Gambier – 17th August

Whyalla – 23rd August


Future Developments in AOD Sector Forum (held in June 2017)

At this forum we heard about:

  • The launch of the new DASSA funded Treatment Framework Project. The Framework will be developed via consultation with the sector to articulate what constitutes specialist drug treatment services in South Australia.  This will include common aims, principles, values, established tools and therapeutic approaches. The Framework will provide a valuable tool for AOD services providers.
  • Presentations from a range of commissioning bodies funding AOD services.
  • The new services emerging with allocation of the National Ice Action Strategy funding.

Download the presentations from the day here:

SANDAS AOD Treatment Framework

Commonwealth Department of Health

Adelaide Primary Health Network

Drug and Alcohol Services SA

Country SA Primary Health Network

BaptistCare SA Tumbelin Program

OARS Community Transitions CHASM Program

Uniting Communities New ROADS Program


Murray Mallee General Practice Network

Riverland GP

Northern Health Network Northern Connect Program

Drug ARM Australasia Kangaroo Island Program

Country and Outback Health

Life Without Barriers Far West AOD Program


SANDAS currently provides the following networking opportunities. To enquire about joining any of these networks, please contact


Co-Morbidity Network Group

The Co-Morbidity Network Group focuses on Alcohol and Other Drug Programs that are funded from the two main Federal funding streams, the Non Government Organisation Treatment Grants Program (NGOTGP) and the Substance Misuse Service Delivery Grants Fund (SMSDGF). The network is particularly focused upon activities that seek to increase the capacity of workers in these programs to respond effectively to Mental Health issues and other co-morbidities. Guest speakers are invited from Mental Health and other relevant service organisations, and information is shared between workers at the six-weekly meetings.


Membership from workers outside the two federal funding streams is welcome, provided their current role is relevant to the network’s focus. Contact SANDAS for more information.


South Australian Youth Alcohol and Drug Services (SAYADS)

This network is open to managers, supervisors and workers in Drug & Alcohol or Mental Health Services that work with young people. Members of this group meet every six weeks and discuss issues that affect young people seeking treatment, identify gaps in service delivery and informs SANDAS’ advocacy work in seeking targeted services for young people. This is also an information sharing opportunity, to improve referral pathways and achieve improved outcomes for young clients of these services. Please contact SANDAS for more information.


Refund of registration fees

  • If a SANDAS event is cancelled, a full refund of any registration fees paid will be made within 30 days of the cancellation.
  • If a registered participant cannot attend an event for any reason, SANDAS should be advised by email at or by phone on (08) 8231 8818 as soon as possible. A full refund of registration fees will be made if this advice is received at least ten working days prior to the commencement of the event.
  • No refund is payable if cancellation advice is received less than ten working days prior to the commencement of the event. Whilst we understand that personal circumstances or work commitments can change unavoidably at short notice, SANDAS cannot accept responsibility for such changes.


  • No refund is payable if a participant is late for or fails to attend an event.
  • Where a person or organisation has registered to attend an event but has not paid fees in advance, they will be liable to pay those fees if they fail to attend without ten working days notice.

Substitutions and Transfers

  • Where a registered participant cannot attend, they may send a substitute. Requests for substitutions can be made by calling SANDAS on 08 82318818 and can be made at any time up to the event commencement date.
  • SANDAS does not offer a facility for registration fees to be transferred to another event.
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