The Illicit drugs and drug contamination: fundamentals for occupational hygiene and environmental professionals course has been specifically developed to support occupational hygiene and environmental professionals in the assessment, management of locations impacted by illicit drug contamination.

The course develops in-depth professional knowledge and expertise in the management of illicit drug impacted environments, including from both drug manufacture as well as from drug use within both built and external environments. The course is intended to provide expert knowledge to support occupational hygiene and environmental professionals to undertake evidence and risk-based assessment and management of these environments in a safe and efficient manner.

The course includes a comprehensive assessment of contemporary drug manufacture and drug use including residue deposition dynamics, physical, chemical and exposure hazards, toxicology, practical safety procedures for entry and working within these environments. The course also addresses the risk based assessment and reporting process for impacted properties including development of sampling and analysis plans, remediation planning, reporting, analytical interpretation and the determination of risk to human health or the environment.

Illicit Drug Contamination and the Interface with Occupational Hygiene and Environmental Professionals

The use of illicit drugs including the smoking of ice and the clandestine manufacture of illicit drugs in the community and within residential and rental properties pose a number of public health risks for both current and future occupants as well as potential occupational safety and health risks for anyone who may encounter or unknowingly enter these locations in the course of their employment.

Around 64% of all illicit drug manufacture activities identified in Australia, occur in residential properties, with the majority of these being identified in rental properties. The Commonwealth Department of Health’s, Environmental Health Standing Committee (enHealth) reported in 2017 that “thousands of Australians are at some level of incidental public health risk, and likely many are already suffering effects, from the illicit operations of clan labs” enHealth also concluded that “it is also likely that tens of thousands of non-users living where ice has been smoked are also at some level of incidental public health risk”.

Regardless of State or Territory, the majority of public health risk associated with either former clandestine drug laboratories or residential dwellings impacted by illicit drug contamination are managed under Public Health and related legislation generally administered by Local Governments. Drug manufacture or refining (such as re-crystalisation) additionally generates significant quantities of waste which is often unlawful disposed within the environment. This impact is normally managed under State environmental legislation.

The National guidelines for the “Remediation of Clandestine Drug Laboratory Sites” (ACC, 2011), as well as most State based guidelines, require the assessment of properties impacted by illicit drug contamination, to be undertaken by a suitably qualified and experienced professional. These guidelines specifically defer to occupational hygienists and environmental scientists as primary occupation groups for undertaking this work.

Course Description

This two-day training course is taught by experts with hands-on, real world practical forensic, law enforcement, illicit drug investigation, public health and Government regulatory experience. The course has been developed specifically for occupational hygiene professionals to build their capacity and professional knowledge in the specialist areas of illicit drugs, clandestine drug manufacture, drug contamination and the risk-based assessment and management of these post crime-scene environments.

The training builds participants understanding of the range of illicit drugs which can be encountered and assesses each of these in terms of public health and secondary exposure risk. Participants then learn about illicit drug manufacture and other illicit drug related activities encountered in Australia. This includes both manufacture and non-manufacture activities, such as smoking and re-crystallisation as well as examining the chemicals and equipment involved and the associated physical and chemical hazards.

This course will also develop participants knowledge of the safety measures, hazmat and safe working processes required to maintain a safe working environment when encountering, entering or working within an illicit drug manufacture site or illicit drug contaminated properties.

Following the development of this underlying professional knowledge and understanding, participants will then develop an understanding of the toxicology, primary and secondary exposure routes for illicit drug contaminants and the factors influencing their toxicity.

Finally, participants will learn about contaminant deposition within built environments, including from both manufacture and drug use, and examine evidence and risk-based assessment and management approaches. This includes the assessment of National and State (jurisdictional) guidelines and the requirements and processes for planning, sampling, analysis and development of compliance reporting for properties which have been impacted by illicit drug contamination.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will gain a well-developed professional understanding of illicit drug related activity, manufacture, chemicals and equipment and the ability to identify potentially hazardous drug related activities, and to manage their personal safety when working within these environments. Participants will also gain a factual, scientific and evidence-based understanding of illicit drug related activities to support the operational assessment of health risk within properties impacted by illicit drug contamination.

Download Flyer (2020)

Session Presenters

Dr John Edwards

Dr John Edwards is a long standing and respected subject matter expert, academic and lecturer in Public and Environmental Health, regularly lecturing at both Edith Cowan and Curtin Universities in Western Australia. John holds a PhD in Public Health, Master's degrees in Urban and Regional Planning and Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health and is also a registered Building Surveyor. John brings more than 20 years' of hands on experience across multiple government portfolios including Public and Environmental Health, HAZMAT and emergency response, emergency management as well as extensive experience in government and regulatory planning and development at both State and Local Government levels.

In addition to John's work in Public and Environmental Health, John has been providing expert public health advice and training in illicit drugs and clandestine drug laboratory management and assessment to Government agencies including Departments of Housing, Community Services and Child Protection for over 15 years.

John has worked extensively in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health as well as in remote Indigenous development projects. John has been the recipient a number of State and National awards including the Department of Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA), Community Safety Meritorious Certificate for his services to the West Australian Community.

Nick Rose

Nick is easily one of Australia's most operationally experienced illicit drug, specialist clandestine drug laboratory response, investigations, HAZMAT, emergency response and training professionals, with nearly 30 years of hands-on operational experience across a range of military, law enforcement and industry roles.

Nick has spent his career at the coal face, working in some of the most challenging and confronting operational environments from Australia to the Middle East and South East Asia and has been involved in some of the most successful and direct international drug interdiction and destruction operations as part of the former Australian Federal Police's (AFP) Special Response Amphetamine Type Stimulants (SRATS) team.

Carving out an enviable and distinguished career, Nick graduated from the Royal Military College Duntroon in 1995 and has actively served in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for over 27 years in both fulltime and reserve roles as well as serving in the Queensland Police and the Australian Federal Police. Nicks holds a Masters in Emergency Management as well as formal qualifications in Investigations, Military Operations and Leadership, Management of Serious Crime, HAZMAT and Chemical Investigations, CBRN, Risk Management as well as qualifications in Training and Assessment. Nick works internationally, providing specialist emergency response, investigation and complex criminal investigation training for international law enforcement and military as well as for industry and a range of international NGO's.

Event Summary

Dates for the Illicit Drugs two-day course will be confirmed in the near future. Please register your interest in attending this excellent course by sending an email to:

We can schedule the course on demand, but require a minimum of 12 attendees. If you are interested please email and provide the location and preferred month of the year to attend training.

Registration fee (approximate - to be confirmed):
Member  $725 | Non-Member $975
* fees include all day catering for two days
** need to be logged in as member to receive member rates
*** All prices listed are excluding GST

Payment must be made in full at the time of registration. There is no refund available for this course. You can transfer your registration to another attendee.

NOTE: Due to the sensitive and restricted nature of the information provided during this course, it is only open to individuals meeting the definition of suitably qualified and experienced professionals. The course is open to AIOH and ACLCA members, public health and related professionals and allied sciences. Others interested in participating will need to complete a form identifying their professional qualifications and experience in order to be considered for attendance.