National Conference for the Addiction Field Examines New Trends and Fresh Approaches to Addressing Addiction in Canada

MONTREAL, Nov. 16, 2015 /CNW/ - Today marks the start of the Issues of Substance 2015 conference. Led by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) and delivered in partnership with Mise sur toi, this three-day event is Canada's largest gathering for the addiction field. Experts — including addiction workers, healthcare professionals, researchers, policy makers and knowledge brokers — gather to present new research and advance knowledge, inform policy, change practice and improve services for education, prevention, treatment and recovery. The conference theme is Addiction Matters, this year coinciding with the theme and date of National Addictions Awareness Week.

Addiction matters because it is a chronic health condition that affects every one of us in some way. Binge drinking, impaired driving, prescription drug misuse — Canadians with substance use disorders and their friends, families and communities — millions are touched by the harms of substance misuse and the disease of addiction every single day. The cost to Canada's health system is profound — $40 billion per year.

The issues of the harms to health from the use of marijuana and the best practices in regulating it have never been so pertinent. These issues and many more, including the effect of take-home naloxone, heroin-assisted treatment, indigenous cultural interventions and low-risk drinking strategies, are among the substantive topics being covered at Issues of Substance this year.

"Addiction matters because it touches us all," said CCSA Chief Executive Officer, Rita Notarandrea. "Addiction does not discriminate between big city and small town, man and woman, those with healthy incomes and those struggling to make ends meet. That said, with the right interventions and the right treatments, long-term recovery and a person's return to family, community and the workplace are both attainable and sustainable. Recovery is real."

"We have come together to take action on addiction matters, to build awareness of the harms associated with alcohol and drugs and addiction — including harms to individuals and costs to their families and our health system. We are also here to challenge and overcome the social stigma that prevents people from seeking the help they need, and to celebrate the role that recovery plays in improving the lives of individuals, families and communities dealing with addiction," said Robert Eves, conference director and Director, Strategic Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization, at CCSA.

"The effects of problem gambling can be just as destructive as the abuse of substances on a person's home life, work life, and ability to be a productive member of society," said Hubert Sacy, President, Mise sur toi. "The prevention of problematic behaviours, intervention and treatment for those who have problematic gambling issues, and support for recovery are important matters being discussed at the Issues of Substance conference."

What: Issues of Substance 2015, national conference
When: November 16–18
Where: Hotel Bonaventure, Montreal


  • Release of Cannabis Regulation: Lessons Learned from Colorado and Washington State
  • Launch of updated report, Collaboration for Addiction and Mental Health Care: Best Advice
  • Results of survey findings, evaluating the priorities of the National Framework for Action to Reduce the Harms Associated with Alcohol and Other Drugs and Substances in Canada

The conference program is available on the CCSA website. On Twitter, the conference hashtag is #AddictionMatters in English; #Ladépendanceçacompte in French.


Additional Conference Highlights and Experts Available to Media


Presentation (session number)

Date, Time (EST)



Report launch: Cannabis Regulation: Lessons Learned In Colorado and Washington State (D1)

Tuesday, November 17, 10:30–12:00

Rebecca Jesseman, Senior Policy Advisor, CCSA (plus other panelists; refer to the conference program)

Keynote discussion panel: What Should the Canadian Public Know About Marijuana?

Featuring experts from the medical cannabis, hospital and university sectors (Plenary 3)

Wednesday, November 18, 10:30–12:15

Experts are available to speak to health, economic and public safety impacts


Public Awareness of Alcohol as a Carcinogen: Implications and Challenges (G3.1)

Wednesday, November 18, 8:30–10:00

Dr. Norman Giesbrecht, Senior Scientist Emeritus, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Girls, Women and Alcohol (National Roundtable)

Wednesday, November 18, 13:30–16:30

Ann Dowsett Johnston, journalist and addiction recovery champion

Alcohol health harms, consumption trends, low-risk drinking

(Topics covered throughout IOS program)

Dr. Catherine Paradis, Senior Research and Policy Analyst, CCSA

Prescription drug misuse

Perceptions Among Healthcare Professionals of Prescription Drug Misuse (B4.3)

Women and Prescription Medication Misuse: Strategies for Improving the Current System of Care in Canada (B4.2)

Fentanyl Urine Drug Screen: Assessing the Prevalence of Fentanyl Use Among Harm Reduction Clients in BC (C3.1)

Deaths involving fentanyl in Canada, 2009–2014 (report and interview available)

Dr. Amy Porath-Waller, Director of Research, CCSA

Nancy Poole, BC Centre of Excellence for Women's Health

Jane Buxton, harm reduction lead at BC Centre for Disease Control

Dr. Matthew Young, Senior Research and Policy Analyst, CCSA

Overdose prevention

Anything to Help Her Awaken: Witness Actions at Overdose Scenes (D5.2)

Tuesday, November 17, 10:30–12:00

Jayne Caldwell, Policy Development Officer, Toronto Public Health

The Effectiveness of British Columbia's Take Home Naloxone Program (A3.2)

Monday, November 16, 10:30–12:00

Jane Buxton, harm reduction lead at BC Centre for Disease Control


The First Time I Gambled —Adolescents and Problematic Gambling (B2.3)

Monday, November 16, 13:15–14:45

Annie-Claude Savard, Assistant Professor, Laval University

Joël Tremblay, Associate Professor, University of Quebec

Gambling Settings and Gambling Behaviours among Undergraduate Student Gamblers (D2)

Tuesday, November 17, 10:30–12:00

Dr. Sylvia Kairouz, Associate Professor, Concordia University


Culture as Intervention in Addiction Treatment: Applying and Measuring the Impact of Indigenous Culture in Addictions Treatment (E4.1)

Tuesday, November 17, 13:15–14:45

Dr. Colleen Dell, Research Chair in Substance Abuse, University of Saskatchewan

Outcomes in the Ottawa Drug Treatment Court Program (F3.2)

Tuesday, November 17, 15:45–17:15

Paul Welsh, Manager, Executive Director, Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services

Addiction Recovery

"Being Clean Doesn't Mean You're In Recovery" (A2.2)

Monday, November 16, 10:30–12:00

Sarah Sousa, Research Associate, Homewood Research Institute

Recovery from What? Challenges Related to Substance Use in Initiatives to End Homelessness (G4.1)

Wednesday, November 18, 8:30–10:00

Katrina J. Barber, Graduate Student, Centre for Addictions Research of BC

Faces and Voices of Recovery; the Recovery vision 

Recovery sessions throughout the conference

Annie McCullough, Executive Director, Faces and Voices of Recovery Canada


The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse changes lives by bringing people and knowledge together to reduce the harm of alcohol and other drugs on society. We partner with public, private and non-governmental organizations to improve the health and safety of Canadians.

CCSA activities and products are made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada. The views of CCSA do not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Canada.


SOURCE Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

For further information: Media Requests and Registration: Media contacts: Tina Barton (English), 613-316-0796, Lamia Charlebois (French), 514-279-4601; Media interviews can be arranged in advance of the conference by emailing with your request; Media are also invited to attend Issues of Substance. Advance RSVPs are appreciated and can be sent to Onsite, accredited media are to identify themselves at the registration desk to receive their media pass, which must be visible at all times.


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Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

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