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Descending the Analgesic Ladder

The how, when and why of opioid de-prescribing
The one-day event brings together local and international experts to address the complex challenges of de-prescribing opioid medications for patients with chronic pain.

About the forum

Current guidelines recommend de-prescribing opioids for patients with chronic pain, however de-prescribing opioids in this population is challenging and a source of confusion for clinicians and patients alike. This landmark forum brings together local and international experts to address the complex challenges of de-prescribing opioid medications.

Who should attend?

This unique meeting would be of strong interest to clinicians working with patients who have been on chronic opioid therapy for chronic pain (physicians, psychologists, physiotherapists, osteopaths, nurses and other allied health professionals). It will be of particular importance for those health professionals whose patients are resistant to tapering advice, are struggling with opioid tapering, or are unsure whether they can manage their pain without opioids.

Topic areas

  • The opioid crisis: How did we get here?
  • Distinguishing patients with opioid use disorder from other patients who use opioids
  • Alternatives to opioid therapy for pain
  • Patients' perspectives: Barriers and facilitators to opioid tapering
  • Safe and effective opioid tapering strategies
  • Responding to the opioid crisis with behavioural insights
  • e-health interventions for behaviour change
  • Communication strategies for empowering taper conversations

You will learn how to:

  • communicate the risks of opioid use for chronic pain and the benefits of tapering
  • assess patients' appropriateness for opioid tapering and pain self-management
  • explain pain self-management to patients
  • develop a safe, patient-centred schedule for opioid tapering
  • provide individualised support for patients attempting opioid tapering.

CPD points

The day is comprised of 8 hours of professional development. Participants will receive a certificate of attendance for these hours at the end of the event.

Expert presenters

The forum features Australian and international experts, including:

Beth Darnell, PhD, Stanford University, USA

Beth is a Stanford pain scientist, international speaker, evidence-based psychologist, and respected author. Beth is also a national leader in developing and integrating pain psychology programs into health care systems and clinical care pathways. She advocates for patient-centred pain care and research.

Joseph W. Frank, MD, MPH, University of Colorado, USA

Joseph is a general internist and health services researcher at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System. His research focuses on the safe, effective management of chronic pain in primary care settings. His HSR&D-funded Career Development Award seeks to explore Veterans' views on discontinuation of long-term opioid therapy and to develop and pilot a team-based intervention to support tapering of long-term opioid therapy and engagement with non-opioid pain care strategies.

  • Professor Paul Glare, Director, Pain Management Research Institute, The University of Sydney
  • Professor Michael Nicholas, Director, Pain Education and Pain Management Programs, The University of Sydney
  • Dr Simon Holliday, GP and Addiction Medicine Physician, Rural and regional NSW (Taree)
  • Dr Chris Hayes, Director, Hunter Integrated Pain Service, Hunter New England Health
  • Dr Claire Ashton-James, Pain Management Research Institute, The University of Sydney
  • Conjoint Assoc/Prof Paul Wrigley, Pain Management Research Institute, The University of Sydney
  • Ms Ruth White, Senior Physiotherapist, Hunter New England Local Health District
  • Ms Samanta Lalic, Monash University
  • Dr Gavin Pattullo, Director, Acute Pain Services, Royal North Shore Hospital

Supported By

We are grateful for the support for this event from our partners:

Avant mutual logo
iCare logo
Doctors Health Fund logo
Key information
Date Friday 29 November 2019
Time Please arrive by 8.30am to sign in
Presentations will commence at 9am
Post-workshop drinks and canapes are scheduled to run from 5-6pm
Venue Harbourview Terrace at Taronga Centre, Taronga Zoo
Bradleys Head Road
Mosman NSW 2088

Early bird registration until 30 September 2019: $295 incl. GST
Full registration: $375 incl. GST

Registration includes morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and social drinks and canapes.

Registration Registrations are now closed
Refunds and cancellation Cancellations before 5pm Friday 8 November 2019 receive a refund of 85% of the registration fee (i.e. less 15% administrative fee). There will be no refunds after this date, however a substitute attendee may be accepted if notice is provided in writing.


NSW Health Waratah logo.

Funded by the NSW Office of Health and Medical Research. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of NSW Office of Health and Medical Research.

Opioid Symposium Flyer 2019

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Contact us

  • +61 2 9463 1516