Montreal, May 30, 2012 – Peter Vamos, President of the International Council on Alcohol and Addictions (ICAA) and Executive Director of The Portage Program for Drug Dependencies officially launched the 54th ICAA International Conference on Alcohol and Addictions at a breakfast attended by representatives of the Montreal business community this morning.
During his speech, Mr. Vamos presented the various critical issues surrounding substance abuse which will be broached during the conference, held at Montreal’s Palais des congrès from November 12 to 16, 2012. Featuring some forty internationally renowned speakers and over a hundred workshops and presentations, this international forum will deliver a stimulating scientific program of interest to policymakers, researchers, educators and practitioners alike on current issues such as: alcohol, drug, tobacco and gambling dependencies, the impacts of lost productivity caused by substance abuse in the workplace, the availability of drugs to youth, and the highly problematic substance abuse issues among First Nations communities. ICAA conferences are true agoras, where all scientifically supported perspectives are considered and debates fully integrate all points of view.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), close to 15.3 million people worldwide suffer from drug addiction issues—about twice the population of the province of Quebec. Alcohol abuse alone causes 2.5 million deaths every year, more than three hundred thousand of which are young people aged 15 to 29.
Substance abuse has an impact on the life of each and every person, either directly or indirectly, and everybody pays for it. According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA), the costs of tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse totaled nearly $40 billion in Canada in 2002, with loss of productivity representing 61% of this amount and health care costs representing 22%. These losses came to a cost of $1,267 for each and every Canadian in 2002, and this cost is rising exponentially.
“This year’s conference in Montreal promises to be one of the most exciting events on Alcohol and Addictions ever put together by the ICAA. It will present a whole spectrum of opinions on a wide range of contested issues, providing an opportunity to learn and share in an environment of responsible, open, and respectful dialogue. We hope that this conference will energise, inform, and empower delegates to ensure that public policy remains driven by scientific knowledge and best practices,” declared Mr. Vamos.
Portage, an international leader in the field of addictions treatment, is proud to host this important event along with co-host Éduc’Alcool, a respected alcohol education organisation.
Since its foundation in 1970, Portage has helped tens of thousands of people to overcome their drug addiction problems and become productive members of society. Its rehabilitation centres offer a multitude of services tailored to the needs of its various clienteles, including programs for adults, adolescents, mothers with young children, pregnant women, and people with both mental illness and addiction issues. Portage operates seven substance abuse treatment centres in Quebec and three other establishments in Ontario, British Columbia and Atlantic Canada.