Sunday, October 19, 2014

CSAM - Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine - 25th Conference - Ottawa - October 2014

Evolving Perspectives on Addictions (Perspectives Evolutives en Dependences)” was a great success with participants from accoss Canada and the United States.  President Ronald Lim and Conference Chair Paul Sobey,
DSCN2600combined with many others to make this educational experience at the Marriott Hotel clinically extremely beneficial as well as addressing evolving controversies.   Having a Methadone Clinic to attend at Dr. Gary Horvath’s DTES Vancouver Doc-Side Medical Clinic on Wednesday I didn’t make the first day though heard it was extremely well received. All the research and scientific advances in the study of electronic cigarettes and marijuana smoking were addressed.  Thanks to Paul I was emailed   Dr. Mark Wares latest paper.
Dr. Alan Budney , President, Division SO American Psychological Association presented on new regulations related to Marijuana.  Dr. Peter Selby updated the group on Motivational Interviewing.
All of the slides and references for conference are available on the CSAM site.( 403-813-8217)
Dr. Jeffry Turnbull, medical director of the Inner City Health Project, Ottawa presented on evolving psychosocial approaches to Addiction treatment while Dr. Tara Tucker addressed the critical issue of Compassion Fatigue.
Dr. Kim Corace, Director, and Dr. Melanie Willows, Program Development and Research in Substance Use and Concurrent Disorders Program, Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, spoke on Bridging Research and clinical Practice:Key Strategies to creating innovative addiction treatment services.  DSCN2596DSCN2597DSCN2598Their presentation addressed the need and importance of the Hub and Spoke Partnership Model, the networking involved and how to get key players involved in the coordination of effort.  It was clear that a whole lot of work and effort had gone into the obvious successes of this remarkable program.
Mel Kahan,DSCN2602
Medical Director, Substance Use Service, Women’s College Hospital, spoke on the Rapid Delivery of Addiction Medicine Service to patients in Detox Centres and Hospitals: the H-SOAP project.  Dr. Kahan is truly one of my favourite ‘rock stars’ of Canada’s Addiction Medicine. His program identified that addicts with their particular series of crisis needed to be deal with  a hospital based service that was responsive to emergencies, psychiatric and internal medicine wards providing the critical cost saving and clinically relevant service at the time they’re needed not weeks or months later.  With his vision and experience he has developed a working model in his community that is practical, profitable and very timely indeed.


Dr. Corey Waller,DSCN2638 Medical Director of Spectrum Health Medical Group Centre for Integrative Medicine presented on the major news topic of Prescription Medication Abuse. He was a very exciting speaker with humour, anecdotes and challenging considerations for advocacy at the highest levels.  


Dr. Marie-Eve Morin DSCN2653was a true delight presenting in French on the topic of the Doctor as Drug Pusher.  The conference had provided electronic sound devices for the real time translation of her superb talk.  My french is rudimentary so I really did appreciate this assistance and knew my American friend was loving this ‘international’ aspect of the Canadian conference.  Dr. Marie-Eve Morin’s reviewed the problems of prescription drug abuse, the history and recognition of these in Quebec and the advances in addressing the issues her and her associates had made.   It was a thorough and riveting presentation. C'est bien! Magnifique!
DSCN2657Dr. Beth Sproule,
Clinician Scientist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, presented on A Case for Pharmacists and Prescription Monitoring Programs , Decreasing the Harms from Prescription Drugs.

DSCN2669Dr. Melanie Strike’s presentation was very well received, a very revealing presentation of clinically relevant research and insights that really did touch the core and complexity  of concern in the front lines of therapeutics.


DSCN2687Dr. Nady el Guebaly, the humble leading light of  International Addiction medicine has just published the definitive textbook of addiction medicine through ( “Textbook of Addiction Treatment:International Perspectives” Nady el Guebaly, Giuseppe Carra and Marc Galanter.
Dr. Nady el Guebaly introduced Dr. Ivan Montoya, National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA, Director, Practice Research Network, American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Motoya did a comprehensive review of the evidence based research on pharmaceutical treatments to date and introduced new treatments ongoing and/or under review.  This was a very exciting look at the possible future of pharmacotherapy with it’s attendant hope for those still suffering.




Monica Bawar, PhD Student,  Neuroscience program, and Brittany Dennis, PhD Student, Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, presented an elegant study on Factors Affecting Treatment Outcome for Patients Undergoing Methadone Treatment for Opioid Addiction: A Focus on Sex Hormones and Chronic Pain. I was delighted personally to learn from this research that testosterone levels are related to dose of opiods and that there didn’t seem to be any evidence that one opioid acted differently than others. My methadone patients occasionally complain of reduced libidido when they start treatment which struck me as strange because most of the heroin addicts in general complain of lack of libido secondary to any opiate use.  Heroin has never been considered a sexual performance enhancing drug so it was helpful to hear the detailed work of these researchers who also addressed how factors of chronic pain might well contribute to relapse in methadone patients.



Dr. Andrew Smith, Staff Physician, Pain and Addiction Medicine, CAMH presented on Partial Agonists and Half Truths: The Use of Suboxone in the Treatment of Chronic Pain. Dr. Smith’s presentation was a most interesting case presentation with remarkable insights and developments that spoke well to the true complexity that clinical practice presents.  It was really helpful clinically to see how an otherwise difficult and tragic case of a highly successful individual with chronic pain could be best  addressed. The use of Buprenorphine was critical in the resolution of the case which had a previously hard working man utterly prostate with disability but with appropriate care back at work and doing the recreational activities that they so enjoyed. It really did speak to the miracles that we all have seen in this difficult but rewarding work.
“What’s New in Hep C” talk by Dr. Curtis Cooper, Director, Ottawa Hospital Viral Hepatitis Program, was a fascinating  simply for telling us about the facts and success of the new and highly effective treatments for Hep C that are now available. The difficulty that remains is getting the funding for these truly historic advances. DSCN2821


On this positive note with a celebration of all the new research and advances in the exciting cutting edge field of addiction medicine, the conference closed. Next year’s conference will be in Calgary Nov. 5-7 at the Coast Plaza Hotel (
Personally I was delighted to buy Dr. Merville Vincent’s book, Diagnosing and Treating Addictions, An Integrated Approach to Substance Use Disorders and Concurrent Disorders.  Ms McCullough, now in Toronto with Edgewood,  formerly of Vancouver was in the welcoming room when I arrived. It was great to see her again.  Dr. Vincent, psychiatrist with Edgewood is one of the best clinicians in the field but also a very clear thinker in what can often be a fuzzy area. His lectures have always been well worth the effort to attend.
I was equally delighted to actually see Dr. Nady el Guebaly’s Textbook of Addiction Treatment:International Perspectives.  Copies were present for perusal but we couldn’t buy them on sight but had to order from the publisher.  Seeing them was worth the wait as all of us in Addiction Medicine have been looking forward to this comprehensive text. This book had been the talk of the Kuala Lumpur Addiction Medicine conference I'd attended last fall. Now I’m waiting for my copy to arrive and many hours of enjoyable reading this winter.
 For the flight home I was thankful to obtain the latest Canadian Journal of Addiction, the Special Edition: Medical Marihuana: Furthering an Objective Debate. Given all the nonsense in the media and the lies perpetrated by those with  major conflict of interest I’m looking forward to reviewing the truth and science of the matter.   The journal has  articles  by Dr. Nady el Guebaly, Harold Kalant, Mark Ware, Meldon Kahan, Shery Spithoff and Anna Reid.  What a great read this will be.
Thank you CSAM organizers and presenters. What a great conference! A bientot!

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