I'm here in Canberra at the APSAD conference 2010. What a fantastic effort by local organising committee.
Prof Lloyd Sansom's keynote talk on the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), whilst not directly on an AOD topic, was a fascinating explanation on the process of evaluating medications for subsidy on the PBS. This is a process which was quite arcane for many of us working in the health sector and I was delighted to have some light shed on the matter. Equally interesting was the fact that nobody asked a question about what I thought would be the elephant in the room - namely the possibility of PBS listing for opiate replacement pharmacotherapies. I'm sure the topic will arise in other forums.
The 2nd keynote was from Prof Michael Farrell on the risk issues for prisoners following release from prison. The key take home messages were (1) to question whether it is appropriate to lock up drug users at the rates that we do and (2) the key period for risk of death is the 2 to 3 weeks after release from prisons.
The concurrent session were chock full of interesting topics. Well done to the Addiction Medicine Registrars for presenting their work - particularly fascinating was the presentation of the difficult diagnostic case of Non Convulsive Status Epilepticus secondary to alprazolam withdrawal - thanks Adam Pastor for the presentation.
Day 2 tomorrow...