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Prompt Response Network

The Prompt Response Network

The Prompt Response Network (PRN) will collaborate with clinicians, consumers, harm reduction service providers and other key stakeholders, to facilitate an awareness of emerging substances and effectively disseminate timely alerts and advisories with health promotion messaging.  

The PRN will pull together local anecdotal information and clinical based events with input from national and international data sources to develop notifications of clinical and public health relevance nationally. The PRN aims to empower individuals and communities by providing timely notifications with health promotion messaging related to the use of potentially hazardous and emerging substances. The messaging for the alerts, advisories and health promotion communication will be developed with input from consumers and key stakeholders to ensure the information is clear and relevant.  Multiple channels will be used to communicate the alerts/advisories with the hope of increasing awareness and to allow people to make informed decisions.  

The PRN will facilitate collaboration across jurisdictions while being sensitive to, and avoiding duplication of, existing efforts to communicate information regarding events of concern and emerging substances. This will expand the collaboration and information exchange networks within and across jurisdictions and federally regarding events of concern 

The Prompt Response Network will be more that a warning system, which disseminates information to key stakeholders and the public. The Prompt Response Network is a collaborated effort to empower consumers and communities and ultimately reduce the risk of events  related to emerging substances. 

Definition of ‘Emerging Drugs’

The Australian Government Department of health defines Emerging Drugs as: new psychoactive drugs appearing on the market. They include novel drug classes which are potentially harmful. They also include new formulations of older drug classes for which problems related to their use are emerging. The situation is rapidly changing. There are hundreds of emerging drugs of concern, and this number is increasing every year.

Penny Hill, Prompt Response Network Lead and Emerging Drugs Research Fellow at NCCRED presented at the NDARC Webinar Series on Thursday 17 June 2021.

This presentation covered the development of the national Prompt Response Network for emerging drugs. Joining Penny was Paul Dessauer, Outreach Coordinator at Peer Based Harm Reduction WA, and Dr Jessamine Soderstrom, Emergency Physician and Clinical Toxicologist at Royal Perth Hospital.

About the speakers

Penny Hill is the Prompt Response Network Lead and Emerging Drugs Research Fellow at NCCRED. She has a background in the community health and harm reduction sectors, working and volunteering in needle syringe programs, primary health care facilities and drug checking services in Australia and internationally. She is currently completing her PhD with the Burnet Institute, investigating opioid overdose among a cohort of people who inject drugs, and holds a Master of Science (Public Health), Graduate Diploma in Development Studies (International Development), and Bachelor of Health Sciences. She is a current board member of Harm Reduction Victoria, Harm Reduction Australia, the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs, the International Drug Policy Consortium’s Members Advisory Council, and is the co-founder of Students for Sensible Drug Policy Australia.

Paul Dessauer has worked for Peer Based Harm Reduction WA (a not-for-profit NGO that provides health services and harm reduction programs for people who use illicit drugs) for more than 21 years. Paul coordinates the outreach team, delivering needle and syringe exchange and other harm reduction services in the community, including a targeted Youth Outreach service; Overdose Prevention & Management peer-education project and Peer-administered Naloxone program; Hepatitis C Treatment Case Management service; and the Hep C PHRE peer-education program. He provides consultancy and training to other agencies, and guest-lectures at several universities. Paul has previously worked as a Drug & Alcohol Officer for the State-wide Specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Service; as an educator and consultant for the Transnational Institute (in China and Myanmar); and as a trainer for the Burnet Institute for Public Health. In 2002 Paul was awarded an Australia Day Medal by the Alcohol & Drug Council of Australia.

Dr Jessamine Soderstrom is the Emergency Physician and Clinical Toxicologist at Royal Perth Hospital and the National Poisons Network, and Research Lead for the Emerging Drug Network of Australia (EDNA) project.

Contact the Prompt Response Network



Phone Number

0456 863 600

Penny Hill

Emerging Drugs Research Fellow
Penny is the Prompt Response Network Lead and Emerging Drugs Research Fellow at NCCRED. She has a background in the community health and harm reduction sectors, working and volunteering in needle syringe
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