The Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council (ATDC) 2021 Conference Courage. Change. Impact. will challenge, engage and inspire over 140 delegates from around Tasmania with a high quality and stimulating program in Hobart, on June 9th and 10th.


ATDC chief executive Alison Lai has told Dave the conference has been three years in the making and that choosing the theme of courage, change and impact was purposeful.

“Change is constant, sometimes it is planned and sometimes not, but it often requires courage to overcome challenges, pitch a different approach or reshape a project,” Mrs Lai said.


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“We want to not only showcase examples of best-practice but shine light on the people courageously driving change to deliver impact across the Tasmanian alcohol, tobacco and other drugs sector,”


Several high-profile speakers are on the conference program, including Iain McGregor, Professor of Psychopharmacology and Academic Director of the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics in the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney.


Medicinal cannabis use is rapidly expanding in Australia, bringing with it increasing concerns from patients around safety behind the wheel and prosecution from positive roadside drug testing.


As the director of a Lambert Initiative research program with a major focus on cannabis and driving, Professor McGregor will discuss this research and the implications for drug policy and cannabis users.


Professor Dan Lubman AM, Executive Clinical Director, Turning Point & Director, Monash Addiction Research Centre, will deliver the opening keynote address on the national Rethink Addiction campaign, confronting stigma and harnessing the power of real stories.


Prof Lubman a national expert in the field of addiction, and most recently well-known for his involvement in the SBS documentary series Addicted Australia.


With addiction continuing to be one of the most stigmatized health conditions globally, Addicted Australia follows the journey of 10 Australians and opens the door on the realities of addiction to provide a deeper understanding of the disorder, to challenge the stigma and show what effective treatment and recovery looks like.


Other keynote speakers include Chris Gough (Executive Director, Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy), Prof Nicole Lee (Director, 360Edge), Mark Chenery (Co-founder, Common Cause Australia).


In an example of changes already taking place in the sector, Launceston City Mission will be making a special announcement about upcoming improvements to residential treatment services.


From July 1, 2021, Launceston City Mission’s residential, alcohol and drug services are transitioning to become smoke-free including, Missiondale and Serenity House.


“Missiondale and Serenity House provide very important services for those in the community requiring drug and alcohol rehabilitation.” City Mission chief executive Stephen Brown said.


“For years we thought it was a step too far to ask our clients to give up smoking, however, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”


“By going smoke-free we anticipate that 25 per cent of our clients will have improved outcomes when recovering from all substances at once,” he said.


“While we know this transition will be a challenging one, we are excited to welcome the health, financial and social benefits it will have for our clients and services.”