“This conference is above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined; I have developed excellent contacts and have a fresh direction in my approach to my work.”

– Feedback from delegate, Anex Australian Drugs Conference

Penington Institute’s conferences and seminars draw professionals from across the health and drug services sector to share their insights and research about current and emerging issues.

Conferences are also attended by law enforcement bodies, drug prevention, treatment organisations and other community groups enabling stakeholders to collaborate in developing lasting change in the way we tackle problematic drug use in the community.

Our conferences are highly regarded for their relevance and always focus on cutting edge issues.

Our events provide valuable opportunities to expand knowledge and networks, with programs that are highly regarded for their relevance and range, presented by experts in their fields.

2021 Seminars

Reducing harms for people who use performance and image-enhancing drugs – 29 April

Performance and image-enhancing drugs (PIEDs) are increasingly common.

But what are they? Who uses them? What are the risks and benefits? And what should professionals who interact with consumers know?

This online seminar, hosted by Penington Institute, brought together two of Australia’s foremost experts about PIEDs and a person with expertise based on lived experience of PIED use.

The speakers included:

  • Dr Beng Eu: a GP and co-director of Prahran Market Clinic. He has interests in drug and alcohol medicine and sports medicine.
  • Dr Mair Underwood: an anthropologist at the University of Queensland with a special interest in body modifications and other body work.
  • Bjorn (not his real name): a young professional working in STEM research who has spent a significant amount of that time interacting with fellow users within the community. Note that Bjorn’s presentation was not recorded.

Dr Beng Eu presentation (PowerPoint – 10.5MB)

Dr Mair Underwood presentation (PowerPoint – 1.2MB)

2020 Seminars

GHB training: effects, risks and safer using – 17 December

Information you can trust about GHB. The harms associated with the drug GHB are increasing. GHB-related ambulance callouts in Victoria increased by 147 per cent between 2012 and 2018. On December 17th, Penington Institute hosted an online training session to provide important information about this dangerous drug. The high attendance speaks to the need for practical, evidence-based information about GHB.

The speakers included:

  • Dr Stephen McNally: Deputy CEO, Penington Institute (facilitator
  • Lily Owen: Community Health & Safety Officer, Penington Institute
  • Sandra Hocking: Manager Withdrawal and Coordinated Care, Windana
  • Aumer (Mala) van Reemst: Formerly of HRVic (DanceWize)
  • Simon Brisbane: Harm Reduction & Overdose Prevention Program, Uniting Ballarat.

GHB training – effects, risks and safer using slides (PDF – 8MB)

2019 Seminars

Overdose and Response in Victoria – 15 November

Frontline initiatives to prevent fatal overdose in Victoria. Deaths from unintentional overdose are growing. These deaths are, by definition, preventable. However, there are no silver bullets – sophisticated and evidence-based responses are needed to reduce the toll of unintentional overdose. This seminar provided a brief overview of unintentional overdose deaths in Victoria before discussing three responses: Victoria’s Real-Time Prescription Monitoring system, the Medically Supervised Injecting Room trial and the Naloxone Subsidy Initiative.

Public forum on pregabalin (Lyrica®) – 14 June

Lyrica®: Filling a pain gap or emerging threat? Penington institute recently hosted a public information forum with experts speakers discussing pregabalin (sold as Lyrica®). Subsidised as an antiepileptic and to treat neuropathic pain, prescriptions rates have increased dramatically in recent years, along with reports of harms relating to use. Dr Shaun Greene (Austin Health) Dr Rose Crossin (Penington Institute) and Melanie Walker (AIVL) discussed the uses, benefits, risks and harms of pregabalin, and what can be done to ensure those who need it can continue to access while minimising the harms.

To watch the videos view the playlist.

Pill testing public forum – 8 February

Pill testing – life saver or false comfort? Penington Institute recently hosted a public information forum with specialist experts to air the pros and cons of pill testing. The forum included three expert speakers, Adrianna Buccianti, Dr David Caldicott (Calvary Hospital, Canberra) and Andrew Leibie (Safe Work Laboratories). The forum investigated the different methods that could be utilised for pill testing, the technology available and the potential benefits or disadvantages of drug checking at music festivals.

To watch the videos view the playlist.

2018 Seminars

Hepatitis C and Needle and Syringe Programs Seminar – 23 May

Attendees at this Penington Institute seminar heard about the importance of NSP workers in supporting their clients to get tested and treated for hepatitis C.

The seminar was attended by frontline staff from organisations including NSPs, hospitals, community health centres, research organisations, government agencies, at home nursing and universities.  Speakers included specialist nurse practitioners, a prescribing doctor, an NSP manager, a person with lived experience of hepatitis C, researchers, and staff from Penington Institute.

To watch the videos view the playlist.

Fentanyl Seminar – 13th February

Continuing our leading role in workforce development, training, and support, our first seminar for 2018 was an in-depth exploration of “Fentanyl: What do you know?”. A full house gained insight from clinical toxicologist and emergency physician Dr Shaun Greene and Ambulance Victoria intensive care paramedic Alan Eade.
Follow these links to view the introduction by Crios O’Mahony, and presentations by speakers Dr. Shaun Greene and Alan Eade.

2017 Seminars

Pharmaceutical Risk and Response Seminar – presentations

In late 2017, Penington Institute staff conducted training around Victoria on misuse of pharmaceutical medicines, overdose risk and response using naloxone. The project was part of the Victorian Government’s Naloxone Subsidy Initiative.
PDFs: Pharmaceutical Risk and Response Seminar  |  Naloxone Training

For all conference and seminar enquiries please contact: Anna Rolle, Office and Administration Manager –

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