New Westminster MLA Judy Darcy and Rita Notarandrea, CEO of Canadian Centre on Substance Use, speak at a news conference in Vancouver on Tuesday. Ashley Wadhwani, Black Press.

Experts to gather in Vancouver for Canada’s first drug-use recovery conference

Event announcement includes a look into the first Life in Recovery report

As B.C. faces a staggering number of people dying from drug overdoses, a group of addiction experts from around the world are set to gather in the Lower Mainland to identify the resources needed for recovery.

It’s the first conference of its kind, set for September in New Westminster, and will include healthcare providers from across the province. Portugal’s national drug coordinator Dr. Joao Goulao will also be a keynote speaker, sharing Portugal’s recovery-based policy and implementation.

The Recovery Capital Conference of Canada is set to discuss how to better offer prevention and treatment – the two pillars that often are forgotten, according to Dr. Ray Baker, retired professor of UBC’s faculty of medicine.

“Recovery capital is a whole network of components in the community,” Baker said, which includepatient centre, strength-based and collaborative efforts between several kinds of healthcare providers, including mental health.

During the announcement on Tuesday, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction and the National Recovery Advisory Committee released the highlighted findings of the first-ever Canadian survey of those in recovery from substance use.

Of the 850 people surveyed, many were young when they first used substances – about 13 to 18 years old.

Participants also reported that long delays for treatment, lack of professional help for mental health and the cost of recovery services prevented them from getting assistance.

However, when they were able to receive treatment, relapses were uncommon – despite the historically-common understanding of addiction and the journey to recovery.

“As we attempt to address the current opioid crisis, this report provides good news,” Baker said. “Just over half of the 51.2 per cent of the repsondants, including those with an addiction to opioids, indicated that once they entered recovery, they didn’t experience a single relapse through act of addiction.”

CCSA Life in Recovery From Addiction Report 2017 by Ashley Wadhwani on Scribd