Symposium of the Society for the Study of Addiction: A cultural shift? (#ssa)

Among the Top 5 conferences in the Addiction field worldwide, the SSA symposium (http://www.addiction-ssa.org/) came to pass last week in York (UK). For obvious reasons, the conference organisers are loyal to the same venue for a number of years. Not only it is a spectacular historical town, but it’s accessible from most of the UK research centres of excellence by a couple of hours drive.

Our group brought to the conference a set of related presentations honouring the results of our hard work in the past years. They were all linked by a genuine need to come up with realistic solutions to drinking among methadone users (or other problem drug users):

Problem alcohol use among DUs in primary care: evidence, barriers, research agenda

 The following are titles of three related papers presented together at the conference:

  1.  Problem alcohol use among problem drug users: Development of clinical guidelines for general practice
  2.  The management of problem alcohol use among drug users in primary care: Exploring patients’ experience of screening and treatment
  3.  Psychosocial interventions to reduce alcohol consumption in concurrent problem alcohol and illicit drug users: Cochrane review

To our greatest surprise, we found ourselves amidst a long thought-provoking discussion with the interested audience following our  presentations. This had to be cut off by a chair who was mindful of a long line-up of subsequent talks. I hope this wasn’t only a mere reflection of a hight need or interest in the proffesional community but also an acknowledgement of our expertise in conducting and presentig this research programme.

Following this positive reception of our research we resolved to focus more on quality, than quantity for our research endeavours in 2013; so that we can make for better candidates for the next year’s poster prizes and/or for publishers of the top drugs journal – The Addiction.

Visiting this event for the first time 2 years ago, I couldn’t pass without notice a heavy focus on medical aspects of addiction, e.g. medicines and treatment. That changed. This year, there were many presentations from the community/ practitioner crowd on topics unheard of at this meeting before (e.g. John Roche’s New drugs, new problems? Responding to club drugs in Leeds or Duncan Raistrick’s Payment by Results) – all attended by a number of attendees. The same – non-medicinalising – trend apperead in the conference tweets:

Excellent final talk at #SSA by Tim Leighton. Recovery is not new. Recovery movement = contemporary Temperance movement.
— Dr Vanessa Crawford (@addictionpsych) November 9, 2012

My second observation is about the symposium audience. Many new (young) faces appeared among the seasoned veterans of this conference. This influenced conference’s social programme too, as the conferring crowd quickly dispersed into their rooms following some modest dinner celebrations. Is the crushing hand of recession strengthening its grip and forcing addiction experts to work more – celebrate less? Or are we witnessing a cultural shift in the UK’s most established addiction meeting?

Users voices: Are drug problems too complex and dynamic for single magic bullet solutions?

EMCDDA (European Monitoring centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction) has recently published a Fact sheet (No 9/2012) which contains “quotations gleaned from interviews with substance users in 16 countries over the period 1993–2012”.

They chose to use my qualitative study* to include in their report. See p.14:

Others talk about the value of support from people facing similar problems. For example, clients in therapeutic communities describe the highly valued psychosocial support gained from peer relations in the community. For example a Slovakian drug user said:

Back then, I deemed the relationships with lads (drug users) outside as important, but now, when I lost everything and I have only them (those in the therapeutic community), I value the relationships here. 

[male, Client in therapeutic community, slovakia]

Read more about my study here: http://janklimas.blogspot.ie/2012/06/trust-usual-suspect-in-old-story-of.html

Read the full EMCDDA report here: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/news/2012/fs-9

*Klimas, J. (2010), ‘Interpersonal relationships during addiction and recovery: A qualitative exploration of the views of clients in therapeutic community’. Proceedings of the Annual Symposium of the Society for the Study of Addiction, York, UK. Online at: http://www.addiction-ssa.org/ssa_24.htm

Youth Mental Health Conference: Press release (#Acamh2012)

Youth mental health is a key health priority in Ireland; early intervention, engagement and innovation are central to its promotion.

The Third National Research Conference in Ireland on Youth Mental Health will focus on this key theme. Hosted by the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH) and Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick (UL), it will present insights, perspectives, and valuable updates.

Ian Kelleher, Winner of the the 2011 Eadbhard O’Callaghan Youth Mental Health Research Award with Professor Mary Cannon, RCSI.

The day’s key aim of encouraging research by under- and postgraduate students and trainees will again provide the platform for presentation of projects and, importantly, recognise the most excellent piece of research work with the award of “Annual ACAMH Youth Mental Health Research Prize”, in memory of the late Professor Eadbhard O’Callaghan and in recognition of his outstanding contribution to mental health in young people. In an innovative development, young people will be highly involved with the organisation and delivery of the conference.

Conference organising committee chair, Walter Cullen (UL Professor of General Practice and GP) states: ‘UL, the Midwest region and ACAMH are delighted to come together to host this important meeting – mental health is a major challenge for our population’s national health, especially here in the Midwest, and this conference will showcase some of the excellent work being carried out by colleagues, associations and health agencies to address this issue. We are especially honoured that the prestigious Eadbhard O’Callaghan Memorial Prize will be awarded for work presented on the day’.
Speaking at the announcement of the programme for this year’s conference, Mary Cannon, RCSI Professor of Psychiatry and Secretary of ACAMH Special Interest Group on Youth Mental Health states “we hope to showcase research and innovation relevant to youth mental health. Our first two conferences promoted interaction between all stakeholders, especially researchers and young people, and dialogue between young people, researchers and policy makers will remain at the forefront of this year’s programme”.

The conference will be opened by Dan Neville T.D (Deputy Mental Health Spokesperson), and Don Barry, President, UL. Confirmed keynote speakers include Ella Arensman (Director of Research, National Suicide Research Foundation), Bob Illback (Deputy CEO, Headstrong), Eric Taylor (Emeritus Professor of Child Psychiatry, King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry), Mary Clarke (Clinical Lead, DETECT), and Ian Daly (HSE Mental Health Clinical Lead).

Interactive Workshops invite delegates to explore in greater depth, the key themes of ‘Disadvantage and its Impact on Youth Mental Health’ (UL-based Orla Muldoon, Professor of Psychology, Sarah Jay, Post-Grad Scholar and Jan Klimas, Postdoctoral Researcher and Cochrane Fellow) and ‘Technology and Youth Mental Health’ (Director of Programmes and Policy Derek Chambers and Research & Evaluation Officer Fenella Murphy, Inspire Ireland; Aleisha Clarke, Health Promotion Research Centre, NUI; and Gavin Doherty, TCD School of Computer Science and Statistics). In addition, Colman Noctor (Psychotherapist, St Patrick’s University Hospital) will launch ‘The Way Forward, Young People and their Parents’ Experiences of Youth Mental Health Services’.

Further information:
Walter Cullen, Professor of General Practice, UL. [email protected]
Ingrid King, Executive Director, ACAMH [email protected]; www.acamh.org.uk
Mary Cannon, Dept Psychiatry RCSI; Secretary, ACAMH Special Interest Group: [email protected]

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/392553024142420/
Twitter: #Acamh2012

Submitting ethics for new research: killing so many trees

Ethical principles, ethics committees and research

This has been a busy week from an ethics perspective. All research should be ethical and adhere to the ethical guidelines. The gatekeepers for the ethical principles are usually ethical committees, institutional review boards or panels. Researchers submit their proposals for approval to the committees and they decide whether the proposed research is in line with the universally accepted principles of ethical research. For example: Research carried out on humans should be in compliance with the Helsinki Declaration (http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/b3/index.html).

In Ireland, we have 25 committees/ boards who can provide ethical approval and we submitted two applications for ethical approval to two different committees this week:
1. Are psychosocial interventions for problem alcohol use effective among problem drug users in primary care (PINTA): A Controlled before-and-after feasibility study
2. Prospective audit of characteristics of opioid overdoses in an emergency ambulance service
…so many trees going to the ethics.

As usual, we submitted the ethics application on the last day of the deadline.
I wasn’t even sure if the cyclist courier would take it on a bike to the addressee, because the package had surely over 2 kilos. Fingers crossed.

Final programme: Promoting Youth Mental Health through Intervention, Engagement and Innovation (#Acamh2012)

Download conference programme here

 

Final PROGRAMME & REGISTRATION
3rd National One-Day Research Conference on Youth Mental Health
Promoting Youth Mental Health through Intervention, Engagement and Innovation
Friday 28 September 2012; Carlton Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick

Programme: Morning 

08.30
Registration and Pre-Conference Refreshments
09.15
09.30
Welcome Address  Professor Don Barry, President, University of Limerick
Opening Address    Dan Neville TD, Deputy Spokesperson on Health
09.45
10.45
11.15
12.00
13.00
Plenary One             Trends in self harm and suicide among young people in Ireland: Implications for intervention and prevention programmes: Dr Ella Arensman, Director of Research, National Suicide Research Foundation, NHSRI, University College Cork
Plenary Two             Emerging Evaluation Findings: Jigsaw Early Intervention Model of Youth Mental Health Supports: Bob Illback, Deputy CEO, Headstrong, The National Centre for Youth Mental Health
Morning Coffee and Viewing of Poster Presentations
Guest Speaker:        Research Perspectives on Attention Deficit Disorder Among Young Adults: Eric Taylor, FRCP FRCPsych FMedSci, Emeritus Professor, King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry
Parallel Research Presentations: 4 presentations per session x 3 parallel sessions (12 presentations in total)
Lunch

Programme: Afternoon

14.00
Afternoon Workshops
Delegates to select one of the following Streams (kindly note: every effort will be made to accommodate requests, but this cannot always be guaranteed depending on numbers; please therefore indicate on booking form first and second preferences)
Workshop One:     Role of technology in promoting youth mental health: Derek Chambers and  Fenella Murphy, Inspire (workshop) Inspire Ireland; Dr Aleisha Clarke, Health Promotion Research Centre, NUI; and Dr Gavin Doherty, School of Computer Science and Statistics, TCD
Workshop Two:     Disadvantage and its Impact on Youth Mental Health: Orla Muldoon, Orla Muldoon, Professor of Psychology, UL; Sarah Jay, IRCHSS Post-Grad Scholar, UL, and Jan Klimas, Postdoctoral Researcher / Cochrane Fellow, Graduate Entry Medical School, UL
15.00
Report launch:     The way forward, young people and their parents experiences of youth mental health   services: Colman Noctor, Psychotherapist, Willow Grove Adolescent Service, St Patricks University Hospital
15.15
Plenary Three:       Why Research Matters: Mary Clarke, Detect / HSE
Plenary  Four:       The Policy Perspective: Ian Daly, HSE
16.15
Research Prize        EADBHARD O’CALLAGHAN ANNUAL YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH PRIZE: presented by Mrs Virginia O’Callaghan
16.45
Closing Address:      Walter Cullen, Professor of General Practice, Graduate Entry Medical School, University of
Limerick and Chair, SIG Research Conference Committee (tbc)
Closing Reception

 

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    Registration Form
To reserve your place to attend this Conference hosted by ACAMH’s Early Intervention SIG (28 September 2012) please complete the form below and return to:
National Events and Initiatives, ACAMH, St Saviour’s House, 39-41 Union Street, London SE1 1SD; Tel: 00 44 (0) 207 403 7458; Fax: 00 44 (0) 207 403 7081;  email: [email protected]
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The conference is now on Facebook and Twitter (#Acamh2012).