Descending the Analgesic Ladder: A landmark forum on opioid de-prescribing for chronic pain


Friday 29 November 2019
Harbourview Terrace, Taronga Centre,
Taronga Zoo, Mosman, Sydney

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.

Topic areas include:

View of Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia.
  • 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

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
  • Individualised support for patients attempting opioid tapering

Expert Presenters

We are privileged to have our forum feature internationally-recognised experts including:

Beth Darnall, PhD.

Beth Darnell, PhD
Stanford University, USA

Beth is a Stanford pain scientist, international speaker, evidence-based psychologist, and respected author. As an associate professor in the department of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine, Beth is the principal investigator for more than US$13 million in National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Patient-Centered Outcomes (PCORI) research awards. 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. The goal of her work is to empower patients to best self-manage their pain and reduce opioid use when desired. As a pain management specialist, Beth trains other psychologists, physicians, and other health care clinicians on integrating evidence-based behavioral and patient-centered strategies into pain care pathways.

Joseph W. Frank, MD, MPH.

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. He received his MD from Indiana University School of Medicine and completed residency training at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University. He then completed a General Medicine fellowship and MPH at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health. He is a Core Investigator with the Denver/Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care (DiSCOVVR) and an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Funding Partners

We are grateful for the support of the following funding partners:

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.

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 (they can!).

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.


Date: Friday 29 November 2019


  • Please aim to arrive by 8:30am to sign in. Presentations will commence at 9am.
  • Post-workshop drinks and canapés are scheduled to run from 5-6pm.


The registration fee includes morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and social drinks and canapés. Prices are GST inclusive and are in Australian Dollars (AUD).

Early Bird Registration (until 30 May 2019) $295.00
Full Registration (from 31 May 2019) $375.00


The forum will be held at the Harbourview Terrace - Taronga Centre, Taronga Zoo. This venue has beautiful panorama views of the Zoo grounds and Sydney Harbour and is easily accessible from the Sydney CBD.

Harbourview Terrace
Taronga Centre, Taronga Zoo
Bradleys Head Road
Mosman NSW 2088

Getting Here

Public Transport

Ferry: Taronga Zoo Sydney is 12 minutes from Circular Quay by ferry. Sydney Ferries services depart from Circular Quay every 30 minutes.

Train: You can travel by train to Circular Quay train station (part of the City Circle) and then board the ferry to Taronga Zoo that departs from Circular Quay. Trains coming from the domestic and international airports are on the same line as the Circular Quay train station.

Bus: The M30 Metro Bus travels to Taronga Zoo Sydney every 10-15 minutes from Central, Town Hall and Wynyard train stations.

Public transport in Sydney uses the OPAL card system. You can still purchase single fare tickets at ticket vending machines. More information is available here:

TripView Lite is a free app for iPhone and Android which provides easy access to Sydney's public transport timetable:

More information about planning your trip by public transport is available here:


Visitor parking is available at Taronga Zoo and the entry in is from Bradleys Head Road, Mosman. The all-day parking rate is currently advertised here:

How to Register

  • You are welcome to register and pay by credit card (Mastercard or Visa) here.
  • Alternatively, you can request to have an invoice raised by emailing with your details. If you are working for a NSW Health Department, please note you will also need to provide a purchase order number.
  • If you would like to be added to our events mailing list to be notified of future upcoming educational events, .

Refund and Cancellation Policy

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.