PAD at Issues of Substance National Conference, November 4-6, 2013

by Diane Buhler, Executive Director

I had the privilege of attending the national conference of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse in Ottawa this week. PAD was an exhibitor, sharing a table with Marie Brisson from Best Start, the maternal, newborn and early child development resource centre from Health Nexus, our partner in HC Link. We had the opportunity to have our exhibitor’s table compliments of the LCBO which had provided support with the printing of the conference program.


Being at our table during breaks allowed us to meet many participants and distribute our materials to people involved in treatment, prevention and education services across Canada. The result was a 150% increase in visitors to our website during the week of the conference!

The conference was an opportunity for CCSA to introduce their new report: Licit and Illicit Drug Use during Pregnancy: Maternal, Neonatal and Early Childhood Consequences. A highlight for us was having the author, Dr. Loretta Finnegan, drop by our table, allowing us to personally congratulate her on the report. PAD has a strong interest in the recommendation to share information about the potential for harms associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs with pregnant and parenting young women “in an unbiased and compassionate manner to educate them about prevention”, as we do in our Young Moms to Young Moms resource package.

I did have a chance to participate in some of the sessions and particularly enjoyed a session from the BC Centre for Excellence in Women’s Health, identifying the need for gender specific programming and resource development and describing the principles for practice which they developed in partnership with the Girls Action Foundation. The principles resonated with our own women specific initiatives, primarily our Hook up to Breast Cancer Prevention, and Sexual Assault and Alcohol resources.

The second half of the presentation was a fascinating look at the Drug Use Screening Instrument by Dr. Ralph Tarter. It is a combined mental health and substance misuse assessment, integrating multiple factors concerning health into the assessment.

Attending conferences like this one is a tremendous learning and networking opportunity – really looking forward to our next event coming up next week: HC Link’s Linking for Healthy Communities: Collaborating for Change.

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