Caring for patients who use alcohol and other drugs

20 Jul 2023
06:30 PM - 08:00 PM


Available to
Practice Nurses
Practice Managers
General Practitioners
Practice Staff

Continuing Professional Development

1.5 RACGP CPD hours - Educational Activities


Supporting the workforce

This session covers how general practices can support patients with alcohol and substance abuse issues to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

Data from the 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey shows 11 per cent of adults in the North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network region continue to smoke cigarettes daily, 22 per cent binge-drink monthly, and 17 per cent have used an illicit drug in the past 12 months.  

Alcohol and other drug use is common; and secondary prevention, through screening and brief intervention, is one of the most time and cost-effective, evidence-based approaches to helping your patients cut down or stop on their own. 

For those at higher risk, a conversation about their use is an effective, evidence-based way to facilitate referral to a specialist for further assessment.  

This webinar will challenge some common misconceptions about substance use and substance use disorders in the general population, while focusing attention on how to identify and respond through screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT). 

This activity is a stand-alone webinar. However, a more hands-on exploration of SBIRT will be covered in the Skills-based training program for general practice on caring for patients who use AOD. Expression of interest is now open for the program. Applications close at 5pm AEST on Friday, 28 July 2023.  

This event is conducted by North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network in collaboration with the University of Adelaide. By registering, you agree for submitted information to be shared and collected by the University of Adelaide for the purpose of evaluating the event. For more information on what the University of Adelaide will use your information for, please click here. For more information on NWMPHN privacy statement, visit here


Dr Paul Grinzi is a GP working in North Melbourne. Paul is passionate about supporting GPs to be confident to treat patients who use alcohol and other drugs. He is also a dedicated advocate for general practice. Paul Grinzi is a senior medical educator for RACGP's GP Training and the AOD GP Education Programs. Paul also is the clinical lead for RACGP Victoria's Medication Assisted Treatment of Opioid Dependence Training program.

Associate Professor Robert Ali, AO, MBBS, FAChAM, FAFPHM, is a world-renowned expert in addiction medicine. Robert was the clinical director at Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia for over 30 years, before turning to a career in knowledge transfer at the University of Adelaide. Robert sits on a number of committees and advisory councils, including to the United Nations, World Health Organisation, Australian National Advisory Committee on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ANACAD) among others. Robert was part of the World Health Organisation working group that developed and validated the ASSIST for primary healthcare settings. Robert was admitted to the title of Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) at the King's Birthday Honours in 2023 for services to Australia in the treatment of drug use and dependence. 

Matthew Stevens, PhD, is a research scientist working out of the University of Adelaide. The focus of Matt’s work is around the identification, prevention and treatment of substance-based and behavioural addictions. Matthew is currently working on translating evidence into practice around screening and early intervention across a variety of clinical settings, including primary health. 

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this session, you will be able to:

  • Identify key risks and harms associated with alcohol and other drug use 
  • Explain how substance use interacts with a variety of chronic diseases, mental health, and other health conditions common in general practice
  • Describe the SBIRT pathway and its utility in facilitating behaviour change among low, moderate and high-risk patients