2018 NT Alcohol and Other Drug Conference

2018 NT Alcohol and Other Drug Conference


On April 12-13th 2018, AADANT will be holding their Alcohol and Other Drug Conference at the Adina Apartment Hotel and Vibe Hotel, 7 Kitchener Drive, Darwin, NT, 0800

AADANT has chosen the theme of Working With Complex Clients for their 2018 conference in response to needs indicated by the Alcohol and Other Drug Sector through a survey in November 2017. There will be a focus on working with youth, research into Indigenous AOD use, and comorbidity in adults and youth to name a few.

Please see the two-day conference program here


Below are the presentations and speakers we have attending the conference. Please read their abstracts and shorts biographies below.



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people and alcohol harms: What does the evidence say?
Keynote Speaker: Annalee Stearne

Most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people alike consume alcohol in a manner that does not cause harm. We are concerned with the harmful use of alcohol, and why levels of harmful use are higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than among non-Indigenous people.” This presentation will look at current evidence regarding the context, extent, health complications, and other factors contributing to harmful levels of alcohol use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It will conclude with a discussion of the current evidence base of interventions to reduce the harms that have been discussed.

Annalee, a Nyungar woman from Perth WA, has more than 15 years experience in alcohol and other drug research, focusing on Aboriginal issues at a National level, but included a lot of  time in Central and South Australia. She is now the Program Manager of the National FASD prevention program with Telethon Kids Institute. She is a recipient of the APSAD First Peoples award, and was part of the team who received a National Drug and Alcohol Award.

Utilising a framework to create best-evidence service delivery that is both standardised across comparable services and tailored to their individual needs
Presenter: Anthony Shakeshaft, Deputy Director, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), UNSW Australia. 

Professor Anthony Shakeshaft and his team have been working with Indigenous and non-Indigenous services over many years to find practical ways to combine research evidence and clinician expertise into routine delivery of alcohol and other drug services.  The goal of this process is to combine the best of both research and clinical experience to ensure clients receive optimal treatment.  It is not an easy process to find an acceptable balance between standardisation (which at its most extreme would mean all services delivery exactly the same thing irrespective of their circumstances and resources) and flexibility (which at its most extreme could mean services completely ignore evidence and clinical expertise to deliver any treatment). In liaising with many clinicians and different types of treatment services, Prof Shakeshaft has led the development of a framework to guide the development and application of treatment services that are both standardised and tailored.  This workshop will describe the framework and explain how it was developed.  The bulk of the time will then be spent working with participants to try to apply it to their own services to see if it works for them.  The workshop will challenge participants to consider the delivery of their services in new ways and identify potential opportunities to modify their existing programs and service delivery models.

Professor Anthony Shakeshaft is Deputy Director at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), UNSW Australia.  He sits on a number of expert research panels and served on the Council of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for the 2012-2015 triennium.  He is, or has been, a Visiting Research Fellow at the Universities of London, Verona, Nijmegen (The Netherlands), British Columbia (Canada), James Cook and Newcastle.

His principal research is the development and evaluation of public health and clinical interventions that are embedded into routine practice, with a particular interest in partnering with Indigenous and rural communities.  He has led or contributed to the design, implementation and evaluation of more than 20 interventions, including the largest whole-of-community cluster RCT ever under-taken internationally to reduce alcohol harms, the Alcohol Action in Rural Communities (AARC) trial.


“Top Down & Bottom Up”: Strengthening the NT AOD Workforce
Presenters:    Professor Ann Roche, Director, National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Allan Trifonoff, Deputy Director (Programs), NCETA

The workforce is the fundamental building block of the AOD service system response network. Identifying the needs of the workforce is essential.

In 2017, the NT Primary Health Network (NT PHN) commissioned NCETA to develop a comprehensive understanding of the WFD needs of the NT AOD sector; identify current WFD gaps and how they can be addressed in a coordinated way.

An assessment of available data, literature and research on patterns of AOD use, recent policy reviews and the status of the NT AOD sector was undertaken. A series of face-to-face and online consultations were also undertaken with key stakeholders from the AOD and related sectors.

NCETA’s review identified that while there is limited information about the profile of the NT AOD workforce, the geography, demography and socio-economic situation of the NT creates a number of challenges for the development and implementation of AOD-specific WFD initiatives in the Territory. Some of these challenges include the NT’s unique patterns of heavy AOD use; high levels of workforce mobility; and complexities associated with preventing and responding to AOD-related harm and providing services in rural and remote communities.

This presentation will provide a brief overview of the eight recommended WFD actions aimed at providing ongoing enhancements and support to the NT AOD workforce and which will inform the NT PHN’s ongoing planned program of work. Ways to implement the eight recommended actions will be explored.

Ann is has over 30 years’ experience in public health and has been the Director of NCETA for the past 18 years. Her research activities have focused primarily AOD policy development, best practice, WFD, and research dissemination. Much of her work has focused on identification of strategies, at both the practical and policy level, to optimise the transfer of research findings into practice.

Allan has worked in the AOD sector as a policy adviser and project manager since 1992, in both health and law enforcement. For the past 10 years, Allan has been at NCETA where he has been involved in a number of the Centre’s major WFD projects.

Please view NCETA’s workshop powerpoint here: NCETA Workshop -AADANT Conf 2018 – Final – Copy (003)


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge translation: AOD resources for improved practice
Presenter: Avinna Trzesinski, Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre

The Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre provides innovative resources that improve access to the latest evidence-based information about alcohol and other drugs (AOD) in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. These resources have been developed to increase workforce capacity and shorten the time it takes to access relevant information.

In 2016-2017 the Knowledge Centre collaborated with stakeholders to co-design and co-create resources into new digital formats including eBooks, infographics, and short films. These resources enhance the translation of knowledge between research and practice using the latest technologies. These latest additions are free and accessible for everyone regardless of how they learn, what their level of education is, and how much time they have or how much detail they need.

In 2018 the Knowledge Centre is moving toward a responsive design to enable easy access on mobile devices. The redesign will also include some website improvements such us improved navigation, updated bibliographic search, and new portal areas.

In this presentation we will show you how these new features and resources enable health professionals to work more efficiently and effectively, thereby improving workforce capacity that leads to better health outcomes at the individual and community level.


Avinna’s family background is Polish, German, and Irish. She grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, and moved to Perth, Western Australia in 2005. In 2010, she completed a Bachelor Degree in Health Promotion at Curtin University and started her research career at Curtin University’s WA Centre for Health Promotion Research.

Avinna has been working at the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, based at Edith Cowan University in Perth since 2011. Avinna currently works on the Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre project as Research Officer and Workshop Coordinator which takes her across the country facilitating workshops at conferences and organisations, with the aim of up skilling the AOD and other health workforces.

Avinna has also spent time in the North-West of WA as a Research Assistant for the Telethon Kids Institute, working for the Alert Program with primary school kids in Muludja, Bayulu and Djugerari communities in the Fitzroy Valley.

The Bushmob Model and Program Areas
Presenters: Nirajan Dharel Facility Manager, Jock Macgregor Bush Adventure outreach Community education, Steve Rawson, Apmere Mwerre (good place)

Bushmob staff will discuss their program areas and the Bushmob Model

  1. AOD/VSA Residential trauma informed treatment
  2. Bush Adventure Therapy intensive outreach community education
  3. Media children and schooling
  4. Horse culture healing


People seeking help: trends in Territorians contacting helpline services for assistance
Presenter: Rick Loos, Manager, Telephone & Online Services

Turning Point is a specialist treatment, research and education service based in Victoria. It provides leadership in clinical practice, research, education and training to the specialist alcohol & drug and problem gambling sectors, and to general health and welfare service providers.

Turning Point’s Telephone and Online Services operates an integrated network of 24-hour drug, alcohol and problem gambling counselling, information, consultancy and referral services across six States/Territories in Australia.

This service responds to more than 100,000 calls per annum and is staffed by a team of specialist alcohol, drug and problem gambling counsellors, drawn from fields such as psychology, social work, nursing, teaching, social sciences (addiction studies) and related welfare studies.

The service is supported by cutting-edge technology, databases and infrastructure to enable highly responsive, human contact with professional counselors across the 24-hour, 7 day-a-week period. Turning Point also operates the equivalent Alcohol & Drug Information Service (ADIS) and Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS) services for Victoria, Tasmania and ACT, in addition to the Northern Territory.

This presentation will look at;

  • trends in people from the NT seeking help through Turning Point’s telephone and online services
  • the potential for service promotion
  • and offering 24 hour support for people waiting for treatment, during treatment and post treatment to help prevent relapse.

Please view Rick Loos’ presentation here: AADNT Conference Presentation – ADIS DACAS NT April 2018


Strong Steps: An Initiative in providing AOD Counselling for Complex Cases
Presenter: Nicola Coalter, Acting Chief Executive Officer Amity Community Services, Elizabeth Stubbs CAAPS

CAAPS and Amity acknowledge the devastating effects that alcohol and drug use can have for families, people, and the broader community. Empirical evidence shows ongoing methamphetamine use heightens risk for negative health, psychological and social outcomes. The health, social and economic impacts of methamphetamine use include illness, disease, crime, assaults, additional stress and burden on families and friends, family and domestic violence, child neglect and abuse, family breakdown, employment issues, disengagement from family and community.

Substance use issues people, families and community are facing are growing in complexities. Our practice evidence shows us people and families are experiencing diverse ranges of problems relating to alcohol and drugs and there is increasing complexities in presentations and cases. And we know from research that every dollar spent on drug treatment has positive outcome on community in comparison to strong policing and criminal sanctions. It is therefore imperative that treatment is a significant part of the solution.

Strong Steps is about a service model along the continuum of treatment options and has some unique components. The service delivery model is underpinned by the three pillars of harm minimisation – demand, harm and supply reduction. Each pillar is equally important and prevention is an integral component across all three pillars.

This presentation will explore how the model works to provide opportunities for people, families and community to engage in education and treatment along a continuum. And how this service model works to build local capacity to work with complexities of substance use for people, families and our community.


Acquired Brain Injury with Alcohol & Other Drug Services
Presenter: Linda Spencer, CatholicCare NT

Linda will present a 60 minute introductory workshop on acquired brain injury (ABI) within the alcohol and other drug (AOD) service sector. Topics discussed will include prevalence of ABI, predictors of addiction, understanding and recognising ABI, complexities and challenges for ABI/AOD clients, ABI/AOD sensitive practice and collaborative practice.

Linda is a specialist in mental health, trauma, addiction and cognitive impairment. She has worked in mental health services, cognitive dementia memory services, drug and alcohol services and private practice. She has worked in hospital, nursing home, outpatient, community and forensic settings. She is registered with the Australian Counselling Association as a Clinical Counsellor and Professional Supervisor. She has recently relocated from Victoria to the Northern Territory where she has commenced as a Mental Health Practitioner within the Alcohol and Other Drug Team at Catholic Care NT in Palmerston.


Transforming support for AOD users with complex needs in Katherine: Collaborating for Collective Impact
Jenne Roberts, Menzies School of Health Research, Eslyn Fletcher, Katherine Regional Aboriginal Health and Related Services (KRAHRS), Dr. Simon Quilty, Emergency Department Doctor at Katherine Hospital

In 2018 Katherine agencies serving complex clients have united to provide an integrated, client centred, wrap around service response that addresses the health, cultural, spiritual, housing and family support needs of AOD users with complex needs. Katherine Individual Support Program (KISP) is identifying people as they present to the Emergency Department and offering comprehensive needs assessment and providing a case manager at Wurli Wurlinjang Health Service. The case managers refer participants internally and to other relevant services, and fast track their access to support services. The collaborative nature of the KISP brings all stakeholders together to focus on a shared plan of work for the most complex clients.

The social innovators have chosen to work with a developmental evaluator, to co-create change, and transform into a person-centred network of services. They have no time for reports that sit on shelves. Together, they are ‘dynamic adaptation’ personified, solving complex service system and information  gaps as they are identified. The evaluator provides an independent perspective, ensures intended beneficiaries have a voice, and supports the collaborators.  The KISP program design and participant flow will be described, and implications for organisational change, interpersonal practice competency and methods for creating space for transformation will be examined in this presentation.

Jenne works for the Menzies School of Health Research. She specializes in evaluating policy and programs where stigma and discrimination limit access or drive vulnerability. She is constantly devising new ways of creating safe space for those affected by HIV, hepatitis, alcohol and other drugs, mental illness and cognitive impairment to participate in making programs work for them. Jenne leads co-creation processes that bring communities together to resolve complex challenges.

Simon is an Emergency Department Doctor at Katherine Hospital, a human rights activist, social innovator and commentator. Simon has bought together hospital and community services to ensure homeless people are not living and dying on the streets of Katherine. Simon is always asking himself how complex system can be simplified or improved so they work for those who are most vulnerable or at risk of needing health care.

Eslyn is the backbone of the Katherine Regional Aboriginal Health and Related Services (KRAHRS)., where she has worked for many years to bring service providers and advocates together to share information, support each other and coordinate activities for the benefit of the Indigenous people of the Katherine region. Eslyn is skilled at identifying the critical ingredients for transformation, and taking the  time to understand the real, deep and complex  problem that needs to be solved so people can transform their own lives.


Co-morbidity Workshop
Presenters: Leon Gailitis- Current Clinical Services Manager at Banyan House

Banyan House representatives will present a  session/workshop on Co-Morbidity. The session will cover conceptual frameworks of co-morbidity,  prevalence and statistics, current thinking in treatment, an overview of the “ Guidelines on the Management of Co-occurring alcohol and other drug and mental health conditions in alcohol and other drug treatment settings” and some practical tips and tricks on working with clients experiencing co-occurring Mental Health and AOD conditions.

Leon holds a degree in Community MH, AOD and has over 10 years’ experience working in residential and outpatient settings with clients experiencing co-morbidity as a Counsellor, Case manager and Adventure Based Therapy practitioner. In recent years Leon has become more involved with program development and Staff management/Supervision which sit within his current role at Banyan House. Outside of work, Leon is a keen motorcycle rider, musician of questionable talent, aspiring short-distance, middle- aged triathlete and continues to study- currently in the business arena.

Tiffany holds qualifications in AOD, MH. Banyan House is Tiffany’s first role in the sector and has rapidly progressed to case managing a case load of complex clients  within a Therapeutic Community setting.  Tiffany enjoys working with clients experiencing co-occurring conditions and is skilled at designing creative, collaborative individual treatment plans. Tiffany is a mother of 2 young children and moved to Australia from Canada in 2008 and has resided with her family in Darwin since 2015.



Alcohol and Other Drug Primary Prevention
Presenters: Margie Fahy – SA NT State Manager, Alcohol and Drug Foundation, Madeleine Legge – NT Regional Community Development Manager, Alcohol and Drug Foundation

Primary Prevention strategies strengthen individuals, fosters healthy connections between people and helps to build stronger, resilient communities. This workshop will explore what primary prevention is and why it is so important for those working in the AOD sector to engage in.

Preventing a problem before it emerges is, in essence, the underlying principle that underpins the Local Drug Action Team program. Participants will have the opportunity to work together to explore innovative strategies to strengthen communities to address local issues.



Supporting substance abuse treatment from the community pharmacy: programs, problems and possibilities
Presenter: Sam Keitaanpaa, Pharmacist CountryWellness Group

This presentation aims to give:

A brief clinical overview of the use of Opioid Pharmacotherapy (OPP) in Australia with a
focus on:

  • how the medications work
  • options for treatment
  • general treatment principles and current status in the NT.An overview of the way that OPP and staged supply of medicines is delivered through
    pharmacy including barriers around:
  • current NT infrastructure
  • education
  • legislative requirements
  • staff engagement/managementHow service providers can engage with community pharmacies to help facilitate the
    provision of these services to the clients including:
  • how building a relationship with a pharmacy can enhance the ability to provide a
    rehabilitation service and
  • how to best design a service to maintain continuity of care and holistic management
    of people using medications to manage substance abuse.

Potential options for including the service in a residential rehabilitation setting

Sam Keitaanpaa is a registered pharmacist who currently sits on the SA/NT branch committee for the peak national body for pharmacists The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia as well as for the Health Providers Alliance of the Northern Territory. In his role as the clinical service strategist for the CountryWellness Group, Sam has been responsible for creating and delivering training on Opioid Pharmacotherapy for their pharmacies across Australia. He has also worked closely with industry and the NTG around developing more effective ways to use OPP in the community pharmacy setting and assisted in the creation of improved medicine management services at the Sunrise Centre in Darwin. He is currently completing his PhD around the prescribing of smoking cessation medications in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.



Presenter: Peter Frendin, General Manager Health and Human Services National Development Team, Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL) Quality Innovation Performance  (QIP) and QIP Consulting

Good Governance for Boards:
What are the secrets of a high functioning NFP Board and what questions does the Board need to ask to keep their organisation on track?

What makes a great Leader:
Tips and Tricks for managers in the health and human services sector to keep in mind as they develop and fine tune their management style to become more effective  leaders.

Having qualifications in Nursing and midwifery Peter holds post graduate qualifications in remote emergency care, Health Services Management and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Peter is currently a Consumer and Community Advisor with the Cancer Institute of NSW and a member of the Aboriginal Health Council for Western NSW PHN and also a Surveyor with the International Society for Quality in Health Care’s international accreditation program.

Peter has worked as a remote area nurse in SA and WA, managed hospitals, regional and rural health services in NSW, WA and the NT and lived and worked in Dubai and India as a health management consultant. More recently he headed remote health services for the NT Department of Health in Central Australia and subsequently oversaw NT’s Prison health services.

In his current role Peter heads the National Development team for the AGPAL group of companies, Australia’s most comprehensive quality and accreditation agency in the health and human services sector.  

Peter is married to his long suffering wife Jenn (24 moves in 35 years would try anyone’s patience!) and they have two (nearing) middle aged boys and a wonderful granddaughter (not that Peter is biased…)


Engaging and supporting Families affected by a family member’s problematic substance use  – Support the Family – Improve the Outcome
Presenter: Chrissie Kelly, Bridging the Divide Project Officer

Over the past twenty years Family Drug Support (FDS) has developed a highly successful model for supporting families affected by a loved one’s problematic substance use. This model has been effective in supporting the 40,000 plus families that access FDS yearly via our national telephone line, attending our 30 plus support groups, Stepping Stones and Stepping Forward courses.

More than 90% of the families contacting FDS report that the family member is not accessing treatment and is not likely to in the immediate future.  These families often have no means of support.

This workshop will outline the FDS model that will assist in working more effectively with families, give an overview of the services FDS offers and will provide information on various topics affecting families including:

  • Identifying the types of families affected
  • The stages that families experience, how to identify them and how to respond to them
  • Communicate more effectively with family members
  • Work more effectively with families

Chrissie holds qualifications in; Alcohol and other Drugs, Counselling, Community Services Management, Community Development, Case Management, Disability, Mental Health, Trainer and Assessor, Volunteer Management & Coordination and Active Volunteering. Chrissie is also an Accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructor.


Keeping parenting and children in mind in Alcohol and Drug Services
Presenters: Helen Francis, National to Local Manager, Emerging Minds, Ruth Crooke, Child Mental Health Workforce Consultant, Emerging Minds

This workshop aims to:
• Enhance the audience’s understanding about the impact that adult problems (alcohol and other drug use) may have on parenting and therefore children.
• Support practitioners to consider children early in any contact with a service.
• Develop professional support and skills to discuss ‘parenting’ and the ‘social and emotional wellbeing of the child’ with clients presenting to the service who identify as parents.

Learning objectives:

• Raise awareness about how adult issues can potentially impact on children.
• Reflect on and work towards ways of talking with adults about these potential impacts.
• Extend practitioner’s thinking so that both children and the parenting role are considered as part of an intervention with adult clients who are parents.
• support practitioners and teams to consider barriers and opportunities to enhance Child Aware practices when working with a parent with alcohol and/or other drug issues



Working with Complex Clients Within a Youth Setting, Presenters: Natalie Sarsfield  & Yianna Paterakis

This presentation aims to increase worker’s knowledge of the complexities surrounding at-risk youth, ways to identify and work with multiple co-morbidities, and develop effective engagement strategies when working with this cohort of clients.

Natalie is the Regional Manager for AOD services for CatholicCare NT. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree, Cert IV in Management and Leadership, and has over 10 years’ experience working in Alcohol and Other Drugs, Mental Health and Family Violence sectors.

Yianna is the Team Leader for AOD services for CatholicCare NT. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree, Cert IV in AOD, and has 17 years experience working both within the Alcohol and Other Drugs and Trauma sectors.