Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Biennial public oration asks important questions about illicit drugs and how tackle this public health issue

SPHPM’s Department of Forensic Medicine are the proud supporters of a free public lecture on the impacts of illicit drugs on public health by internationally renowned US forensic toxicologist, Professor Marilyn Huestis.

The Graeme Schofield Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine Oration is a biennial public oration hosted by the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) and the Department of Forensic Medicine. The aim of this free, public event is to highlight the work of forensic practitioners from around the world. It was named after Emeritus Professor Graeme Schofield, one of the founders of the VIFM.

This year’s Oration will be held at 6pm on Thursday 25 August at the Clemenger Auditorium at the National Gallery of Victoria. The event is free but attendees must register via Eventbrite.

The topic for this year’s event is ‘Drug Futures: Learning from the US illicit drug experience’. Drug misuse affects Australian communities, families and individuals and health harms include: injury; lung and other cancers; cardiovascular disease; liver cirrhosis; mental health problems; and road trauma. Social harms include violence and associated criminal activity.

Drug misuse increases the cost and workload for healthcare and law enforcement, decreases productivity, reinforces marginalisation and disadvantage, and contributes to domestic violence and child protections issues. Harmful drug use is also associated with social and health determinants such as discrimination, unemployment, homelessness, poverty and family breakdown.

International guest speaker and forensic toxicologist, Professor Marilyn Huestis, will cover the changing face of drug use in the US including medical and legal cannabis, the opioid epidemic and the rapid growth of novel psychoactive substances.

Professor Huestis was former Chief of Chemistry and Drug Metabolism at the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) past President of The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT).

Professor Huestis is internationally known and respected for her ground-breaking research on human drug metabolism. Earlier this year she retired from her role as Chief of Chemistry and Drug Metabolism after 23 years at the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Professor Huestis started as a research fellow at NIDA in 1988 while completing her PhD.

Her research program at NIDA focused on the development of scientific data for evidence-based drug policy and legislation. She led multiple studies on the toxicology and pharmacology of drugs of abuse, including cannabis, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy and tobacco, along with medications used to treat addiction such as buprenorphine and methadone.

Professor Huestis has had a particular interest in investigating substances that either mimic or block the actions of THC (the active compound in cannabis that produces mind altering effects). She has also investigated the effects of in utero drug exposure and the neurobiology and pharmacokinetics of novel psychoactive substances, which are the emerging face of drug abuse.

Her work has resulted in more than 400 papers, most recently with a focus on the impairment effects of marijuana use on driving.

As a part of the event there will be an Oration Dinner, which is held directly after the Oration.

The Oration Dinner
The Oration Dinner is traditionally held immediately after the Schofield VIFM Oration. Tickets are selling fast – details below:
Thursday 25th August 2016, 7.30pm
Persimmon Restaurant, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Book tickets via the Monash eCart

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