U.S. expert on drug control policy kick-starts CCSA's Issues of Substance conference



    EDMONTON, Nov. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - The first full day of Issues of
Substance 2007, Canada's premiere gathering of substance abuse and addictions
professionals, began today with a provocative keynote speech by one of today's
leading thinkers on drug control policy. The address by Dr. Mark Kleiman,
professor of public policy at UCLA, challenged firmly-held convictions across
the ideological spectrum and set the tone for the three-day biennial
conference, presented by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) in
partnership with the Canadian Executive Council on Addictions, and supported
by the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission.
    In his speech, "A New Course for Drug Policy: Beyond Panic and
Indifference", Dr. Kleiman said the goal of global drug policy should be to
limit damage, not to wage "cultural warfare" on drug users simply because
their choice of intoxicants is out of step with the mainstream population
whose drug of choice is alcohol. On the other hand, he argued that drug
legalization is "no panacea, or else why does the one licit intoxicant
(alcohol) do more damage than all the illicit intoxicants?" He said the best
drug policies minimize the sum of abuse costs and control costs, including
disease, accident, crime, reduced social functioning, loss of liberty,
intrusive enforcement, and budgetary costs.
    Issues of Substance 2007, which wraps up on Wednesday, opened to a
capacity-plus crowd of 950 delegates from across Canada and as far away as
Australia. The packed conference program features 56 concurrent sessions and
more than 150 speakers, in addition to poster sessions by 45 presenters,
plenary sessions and keynote addresses by Dr. Kleiman, and Dr. Thomas
Homer-Dixon, author of the best-selling book The Ingenuity Gap and director of
the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the
University of Toronto.
    Opening-day sessions will address a broad range of topics, including
substance abuse and crime, alcohol and drug use in the criminal justice
system, youth treatment initiatives and approaches to youth prevention,
traditional Inuit strategies for healing trauma and addiction, new techniques
for addressing drugs and driving in Canada, and studies on OxyContin and
methamphetamine.

    In the following days, major themes and topics will include

    
    - working towards a new national Alcohol Strategy, Reducing Alcohol-
      Related Harm in Canada: Toward a Culture of Moderation; Recommendations
      for a National Strategy;
    - recent progress toward a National Treatment Strategy consensus report
      expected by mid-2008;
    - efforts to enhance professional development within the specialized
      substance abuse workforce, including the release on Tuesday of core
      competencies outlining the skills and knowledge required for effective
      service delivery in the field; and
    - growing support for action on 13 key priorities identified in the
      National Framework for Action, a broad, collaborative effort to build
      capacity in the substance abuse field and achieve consensus on national
      priorities.
    

    Issues of Substance 2007 concludes with a series of facilitated
workshop-style discussions on the theme of "Shaping the Future". Conference
participants will have an opportunity to discuss and debate the new ideas they
have been exposed to during the conference, and to reflect on how these
innovations can be applied to their own work.

    About CCSA (www.ccsa.ca):

    With a legislated mandate to reduce alcohol- and other drug-related
harms, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse provides leadership on national
priorities, fosters knowledge-translation within the field, and creates
sustainable partnerships that maximize collective efforts. CCSA receives
funding support from Health Canada.




For further information:

For further information: Heather Wilcox, CCSA, Mobile: 613-291-9165,
hwilcox@ccsa.ca


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