Previous Events

Walk on the Wildside (WOWs VI)

Winter and WOWs VI arrived simultaneously in Brisbane on Friday May 17th, 2013. One hundred and thirty people, many of them DANA members, arrived ready for the for the symposium and by the number of scarves, boots and beanies also ready for some post-conference Nordic skiing!

Held at the Brisbane Convention Centre and now in its 6th year WOWs, which is organised jointly by the Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australasia (DANA) and Queensland Health, and generously sponsored by Reckitt Benckiser explored “Crossed Tracks” – Substance Use Meets Chronic Disease.

We learned about:

  • Developments in anti viral therapy for Hep C – Prof G MacDonald
  • Pain management- Joyce McSwan (Pharm.)
  • Prisons, dependence and chronic disease- Michael Wilson (CN)
  • Patterns of risk among Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander people who inject drugs -Abhi Dev
  • Nicotine and opioid dependence -A/Prof Billie Bonevski
  • High prevalence mental health disorders – Prof Philip Morris
  • Alcohol and drug treatments in Holland – the Rotary sponsored team
  • Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder- Dr J Hamill.

Each year the WOWs anchor-men, Doctors Mark Daglish and Jeremy Hayller search out  unusual recordings of the theme song “Walk on the Wildside”, after which the symposium is named and originally made famous by Lou Reed in 1972. This year was no exception with jazzy down-tempo, to Reggae to Spanish acoustic covers. Maybe next year we will have a dance version?

You can see the photographs taken on the day by following the link, bottom right of the homepage of this website,  to DANA’s Facebook site.

jen harland 2South Australian DANA Chapter Meeting April 2013

SA DANA members enjoyed another remarkable professional development session on Tuesday 2 April 2013 at the Lion Hotel North Adelaide. This event was generously sponsored by MSD.

The guest speakers for the evening included Jen Harland DASSA-WHO Collaborating Centre for Research in the Treatment of Drug and Alcohol Problems, and the ACT DANA Representative speaking on “Addressing the alcohol culture in Australia”

Theo Tsagonas, Executive Professional Representative Specialty Care – Viral Hepatitis, MSD gave the PBS update on Victrelis (Boceprevir) and Rosalie Altus Clinical Practice ConsultantViral Hepatitis Liaison Nurse, FMC gave an update on patient journeys on antiviral medications.

The evening was thoroughly enjoyed by 16 DANA members who gave very positive feedback on the presentations. There was a robust discussion within the audience regarding all topics.

Dr Penny Coates IMG_4899News from South Australia

The meeting on Tuesday February 5th  2013,  held at DASSA 161 Greenhill Road Parkside, was well attended by 18 members. The guest speaker for the evening was Dr Penny Coates, Clinical Director from IMVS.

Penny presented on the affects of alcohol on laboratory tests. The presentation was thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated by all with robust discussion and new knowledge gained. The evening was topped of with dips and pizza. Very positive feedback was received from members.

NZThe Journey to Advanced Practice in Addiction Nursing – Auckland December 2012

Without warning a tornado cut a deadly path through suburban Auckland at lunch time on Thursday December 6th 2012. Three workmen died as they sheltered from the terror in their truck; killed by a 20-tonne block of concrete. Two hundred and fifty people were left homeless. No-one knows how many animals were killed or lost.

Oblivious to events on the ground, passengers on flight EK434 from Brisbane to Auckland were becoming ever more frustrated with the unexplained holding pattern that kept us suspended somewhere over the Tasman Sea. When Auckland airport re-opened and we were able to land, as we made our way through hobbit-decorated tunnels and emerged into Middle Earth, it was apparent that something catastrophic had occurred.

Meanwhile in Wellington, Steph Anderson, Moira Gilmour and Daryle Deering were ready to board their Jetstar flight to Auckland when it was cancelled. Instead of meeting with Louise Leonard, Michelle Fowler, Jennifer Holmes and me in Auckland that night they held an impromptu DANA planning meeting under the watchful eye of Golum (visit WellingtonAirport to find out more). Eight hours later they managed to board the last flight out of Wellington and arrived at the Rendezvous Hotel in Auckland at 2:30 in the AM!!!!. You won’t be surprised to learn that we didn’t hold our meeting!

We were visiting Auckland to attend the Addiction Nurses Seminar Series, “The Journey to Advanced Practice in Addiction Nursing” at the WaitakereHospital. The event, organised by DANA with support from Matua Raki, has been a regular event on the educational calendar of addiction nurses in New Zealand for the last two years. Attendance was affected by the events of the day before however those people who could get along were provided with the chance to network, enhance their skills and encouraged to advance their practice and professional development.  Invited speakers were:

Daryle Deering – “Pathway to advanced practice: How can the Addiction Nursing Framework help”

Steph Anderson and Moira Gilmour –“Insights from within the expanding role of AOD nursing”

Victoria Oliver – “Where am I on the addiction nursing pathway?”

Louise Leonard –“Nurse Practitioner- Alcohol and Other Drug – what is involved”

Jennifer Holmes spoke about some aspects of her work at the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre and gave us some inside information about the workshop she will be running at the 1st Australasian Mental Health and Addiction Nursing Conference to be held in Auckland, New Zealand in June 2013. If you want to know more about harm reduction and intravenous drug use don’t miss this workshop.

I was appreciative of the chance to speak to our colleagues about the work of DANA and hope to see several of those people at the seminar join our group.

Some of the presentations from the event will shortly be available on the DANA website under ‘publications’.  Also Louise Leonard, DANA Vice-President, is happy for anyone on the Nurse Practitioner Pathway, particularly in New Zealand, to contact her through

Let me take a moment to thank Elly Richards, DANA Chapter Representative North Island, for her work in organising the event, our wonderful speakers on the day and   Matua Raki for its sponsorship.

Photographs taken on the day are available at the DANA Facebook site. Go to the home page of the this website, scroll down and at the very bottom, right hand side you will find the link to FB.

Colleen Blums – DANA President

loretta and trish smallDANA at the ACMHN Conference in Darwin October 2012

The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses ACMHN 38th International Mental Health Nursing Conference, The Fabric of Life, was held at the Darwin Convention Centre from the 3rd – 5th October 2012. Loretta Cropley DANA NT Representative and Trish Gibbs DANA SA Representative staffed the DANA Trade Table on these days. There were approximately 400 delegates attending the 3 day Conference and 1 day Workshop. The Conference Program was jam packed with a variety of local, national and international speakers, nursing and life member awards and a selection of innovative and remarkable posters.

There was a steady stream of delegates visiting the DANA Trade Table during the Conference with much interest in the DANA merchandise on offer and the raffle for 2 free DANA memberships. 300 raffle tickets were sold (as 3 tickets for $1) with a total of $100 collected. This money will go into the NT DANA Professional Development Program. The raffle for the membership prizes was run over Wed – Friday with the draw being held by ACMHN on Friday at morning teatime. The lucky winners were Luke Higgins, Nurse Educator Clinical Aggression Response Team Trainer Centre for Training & Development in Gosford and Annabel de la Riva, CL Psychiatry NSW.

Loretta and Trish engaged with all visitors who showed a keen interest in DANA with many membership brochures being taken up and 1 nurse joining DANA on the day.

Loretta attended the ACMHN AGM which was attended by > 100 delegates where the new College President and Board were announced.

Loretta and Trish recognise that DANA’s attendance at other health conferences provides the opportunity to promote the great work of DANA, promote the next DANA Conference and allow for networking opportunities with fellow colleagues.

News from DANA South Australia

DANA members from South Australia enjoyed another remarkable professional development session on Tuesday 7 August at the Lion Hotel North Adelaide. This event was generously sponsored by MSD.

The guest speakers for the evening were Bernie Cooper who presented on highlights from the recent DANA Conference in Melbourne, including a presentation on the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre.

Rosalie Altus presented on New Era in the Treatment of Hepatitis C Infection.

The evening was thoroughly enjoyed by 25 DANA members and friends who gave very positive feedback on the presentations. There was a robust discussion within the audience regarding topical issues of the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre and overdose risks, and of the patient journeys at FMC Liver Clinic.

Cutting Edge Conference 2012 Wellington, New Zealand

The theme of the 17th national addiction conference was ‘Twenty – Twenty” and focussed on where we want to be in 8 years time. Throughout the conference the participants were entertained by the dulcet tones of The 13th Tribe, a group of musicians on their own recovery journeys. Some of the highlights of the conference are listed below.

The conference was opened by the Honourable Turiana Turea – Associate Minister of Health, who reminded us of the devastating effects of waipiro or ‘stinking water’ (alcohol) upon our whanau, and as she rightly pointed out, not just upon our young people. A cultural change was required in New Zealand she said.

Te Rina Moke, chair of the Maori Medical Practitioners Assoc., with a background in alcohol and drug policy, introduced us to Tupac’s song “Changes” about the destructive effects of crack upon young people and their struggle to change.  She charged us to challenge ‘status quo’ thinking “but that’s the way it is”.  She gave us hope that change is possible by recounting Tupac’s story: born poor, black, to a single mother, yet rising to becomes hip hop’s must influential artist globally. She reminded us also that while the annual spend on MH&A services in New Zealand is $1.182 billion dollars, only 10% is spent on Maori services while 26% of those accessing services are Maori, making Maori the biggest, single population group seeking help.

Next, Professor Michael O’Farrell, of NDARC, Uni. of NSW, Sydney, Australia encouraged us to look to the horizons, towards the challenges and opportunities facing addiction services. He reminded us that we are “always trapped in our time”; yet as we look to the future we need to take with us what we’ve learnt and what is useful (“Treatment works”) and leave the rest behind. We can learn from the Tobacco Cessation movement, where there have been major advances with overall reductions in the smoking population.  Whoever would have predicted we’d achieve such gains in this area! Prof. Farrell highlighted the increasing alcohol problem across many countries along with the 10 years time lag before people present for treatment. As result we are seeing alarming rates of liver cirrhosis. Therefore prevention, early intervention and public health policy changes are required.

Steven Bamber, a recovery consultant from the UK, with his own background of chronic substance use, homelessness and having experienced the best and the worse of treatment, challenged us to “Dare Mighty Things”. He reminded us of the spiritual aspect of recovery and pointed out that although recovery models have been around for a long time, recovery as a concept to organise services is new. He spoke of the need to critique currents service provision, with individuals “parked on methadone”, caught up in “cycles of therapeutic despair”. As result we see poor outcomes, chronic under-ambition by service users and poor quality of service experienced. He reminded us that “Recovery is Contagious” and that services must incorporate recovery into their practices and bridge the gap between treatment services and non-professional recovery support. A key point that he asked us to take away with us was that “Recovery is Possible and Likely”.

Dr Andy Towers presented results from a study exploring drinking in older adults. This showed that an disturbing 66% of older New Zealanders (50+) were drinking at hazardous levels (compared to 34% of the general population), confirming Turiana Turea’s earlier assertion that it was not just drinking amongst young people that should be targeted.

Tongan born Professor Sitaleki A Finau , a public health specialist and Director of Pasifika at Massey University introduced us to the importance of health literacy: “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information”. He asserts “there is no health without health literacy”, and that rather than a focus on health promotion we need to focus on health literacy. Poor health literacy creates health inequality, whereby those who don’t really need services use them and those most in need don’t.

Professor Doug Selman asked us to consider “Will food addiction be on the menu in 2020” and whether ‘Addiction’ may be part of a broader field known as Behavioural Health. Obesity figures for New Zealand are at frightening rates, with 28% of all those over 15 years of age obese, with 45% of Maori and 58% Pacific obese. He reminded us that as for alcohol addiction, the heritability for weight is approximately 60%, but as with all addiction, lifestyle choices are paramount.

The DANA nurses’ lunchtime meeting was well attended, particularly given the lower than usual representation from DHBs this year, where the majority of our nursing colleagues are employed. An update on the specialty addiction nursing competency framework was provided by Daryle Deering. The meeting was informed of the upcoming ‘Close To Home’  conference, DANA’s first NZ conference in Auckland in June 2013; a joint conference with Te Ao Maramatanga – NZ College of Mental Health Nurses. In planning is an addiction nursing symposium in Auckland later this year, to be followed by at least a further one in 2013, which we hope to deliver in Dunedin.

In finishing, thank you to the Cutting Edge organising committee to a stimulating conference, which encouraged us to think differently about the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Follow the link from the home page to DANA’s Facebook site to see photographs of the event.

Louise Leonard

DANA Vice President International.

Steph Anderson

South Island, NZ, DANA Representative.