The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and Drugs Conference (APSAD) is being held in Melbourne next week, bringing together researchers, clinicians, policy makers and practitioners from across the alcohol and other drug field for three days of communication, collaboration and networking. The Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (CAPR) will be a strong presence at APSAD, with seven members of the team featuring in the conference program.

Dr Sarah Callinan and Jason Jiang will present on different facets of alcohol’s harm to others, a key focus of CAPR’s broader research agenda. Dr Callinan’s paper focuses on the harm that young adults (aged 16-24) experience from other people’s drinking, while Mr Jiang will present the findings of his work on the amount of time that Australian’s spend caring for harmful drinkers. These studies add to the groundbreaking work on alcohol’s harm to others led by CAPR.

CAPR staff are also presenting a broad range of work outside of the harm to others frame. Dr Sarah MacLean will present the results of a mixed-methods study of pre-loading among young Victorians. Using a combination of survey data and qualitative interviews, Dr MacLean’s work focuses on the motivations and outcomes of pre-drinking, finding that the practice is widespread, motivated strongly by price considerations and associated with riskier drinking behaviour.

Dr Amy Pennay is also presenting work on heavy drinking by young adults. In a study involving more than 4000 interviews of people out and about in night-time entertainment districts in five Australian cities, she examined factors associated with heavy drinking. Gender, length of drinking session, engagement in pre-loading, energy drink use and illicit stimulant use were all predictors of intoxication.

Finally, Michael Livingston, Claire Wilkinson and Professor Robin Room will be involved in a symposium session exploring the role of local government in managing and reducing alcohol-related harm. Mr Livingston will present his work on alcohol outlet density, which demonstrates the importance of the local-level alcohol environment in determining rates of harm, while Ms Wilkinson will discuss her work examining the range of alcohol policy levers available to local government in Victoria. Professor Room will chair the session (which will also include colleagues presenting on local government and alcohol in New Zealand) and will facilitate discussion on the problems and opportunities relating to alcohol policy at the local level.

Throughout the conference CAPR staff will catch up with colleagues and collaborators from across the field. In particular, APSAD is being used to stage a meeting of the Harm to Others advisory group, who will provide suggestions and feedback on the ongoing work that CAPR is leading in this area.

CAPR staff will also be Tweeting live from the event. To follow CAPR on Twitter go to and to participate in the conference discussions on Twitter use the hash tag #APSAD.