AChAM Communiqué March 2017

Read the highlights of key issues discussed as part of the 01-2017 meeting, held on 29 March 2017 via teleconference.


NSW / ACT Branch Chair

There is a casual vacancy for the NSW/ACT Branch Chair role on the AChAM Committee. An expression of interest process is being undertaken to fill this vacancy for the term ending May 2018.

Education and training

Training numbers are steady with most trainees based in New South Wales followed by Western Australia. A Training Committee meeting took place on 8 April and Dr Mark Montebello has stepped down as Chair of the Training Committee as of early June. Dr Gilbert Whitton has now commenced as Chair and Dr Montebello is thanked for his hardwork and dedication in the role.

FRACP Pathway

Due to the resignation of several Training Committee members that have finished their terms, the Training Committee is endeavouring to appoint a lead Fellow for project work to be undertaken for the FRACP Pathway. The project plan to be completed by College staff will include consideration of the New Zealand scope of practice matter as these matters are intertwined and heavily dependent on the College-wide curricula review that will take place.

Policy and Advocacy

There has been a lot of activity nationally in the Addiction Medicine space. A/Prof Reynolds has been involved in a national working group for over-the-counter codeine and has recently given a presentation on this topic. The College submitted a very strong report in response to Victoria’s Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee’s inquiry into Drug Law Reform. The Committee discussed non-medical prescribing for opioid substitution therapy in light of some activity in this space in QLD. The College does not have a current position statement on this issue and this is an area the Chapter is keen to see some further work on, given it may become more prominent due to workforce shortages.


International Medicine in Addiction (IMiA) Conference 2017

The IMiA Conference was very successful with over 720 delegates in attendance from 17 countries. Members discussed some ideas for the next meeting to be held in 2019 which will rotate to the RACP as lead-convenor.

Addiction Medicine Vocational Scope of Practice New Zealand

Further progress in this space is reliant on the curriculum review and project planning for the FRACP pathway will take Addiction Medicine scope issues into consideration. There are a number of challenges given there is reticence from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the Medical Council of New Zealand in regard to new disciplines or the splintering/refining of existing disciplines. There is also a need to reconcile issues identified between Addiction Medicine and Addiction Psychiatry including the scope of practice of psychiatry and where behavioural addiction sits. The curriculum review will aim to resolve some of these matters.

APSAD Medical Special Interest Group

An APSAD meeting took place at the IMiA Conference in March regarding the start-up of a Medical Special Interest Group (SIG). The society is still garnering interest with the aim of the SIG to meet four times per year via teleconference and face-to-face at the annual APSAD Conference. APSAD is keen to identify key areas for advocacy and hopes that this SIG could be a mechanism for members to discuss evidence-based approaches to policy and other relevant matters.

The first face-to-face meeting of the AChAM Committee will take place on Thursday 8 June 2017 and the following meeting will be held on Wednesday 30 August 2017 via teleconference.

A/Prof Adrian Reynolds, President
Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine
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