Lisbon hosts international conference on addiction

Lisbon hosts international conference on addiction

Over 1,900 expected to take part in Lisbon Addictions 

The challenges related to illicit substances – as well as non-elicit, like alcohol, tobacco, screen addiction and gambling – will be under debate at the 4th European conference on addictive behaviours and addictions, starting in Lisbon tomorrow.

Under the theme “Global Addictions”, the event is expected to be attended by a record number of over 1,900 participants from 85 countries, co-chair (and deputy director general of addictive behaviour intervention service SICAD) Manuel Cardoso tells Lusa.

For three days, leading international experts in the field of addictive behaviours and addictions will be presenting studies and innovative research to help understand and respond to addictive behaviours and modern-day addictions.

“It is a kind of showcase of all research” that is done worldwide, said Cardoso, adding that during the three days will see over 1,000 presentations distributed among about 200 sessions, including plenary, “big debates” and workshops.

Regarding the theme “Global Addictions”, Manuel Cardoso explained the aim is to broaden discussion of addiction, beyond ‘illicit substances’.

It is important to stop thinking of illegal drugs as being the only substances causing addictions, he said – stressing that alcohol can be the cause of “many more problems than drugs themselves”, due to the magnitude and the various organs it affects and the various pathologies it can cause.

The same goes for tobacco, he added.

There are also other addictive behaviours without substance, as dependence on screens/ social networks, and gambling demonstrate. These, up till now, have been ‘little discussed’, yet they are “important to discuss”, he said.  

“The disorders that (alcohol and tobacco) cause to the individual and the family are worrying and have to be taken into account”, he continued.

Cannabis issues will also be under debate at the conference: “We will have several presentations, studies done, namely in the United States, on the legalisation of cannabis and the consequences in terms of health, for example”.

Among topics under discussion will be “Global perspectives on addictions and drug markets”, “Cultures of prevention”, “Alcohol dependence and problems”, “Addictions and mental health”, “Hepatitis C, other infectious diseases and drug-related harms”, “Addictive behaviours” and “Current and future challenges in global drug policy”.

“Our goal, as organizers is, on the one hand, to put researchers to discuss and talk about what they are doing and, simultaneously, to put professionals to discuss with researchers what they are doing”, said Manuel Cardoso.

On the other hand, policy makers can see the link between research and practice and can make decisions based on the results.

Lisbon Addictions is being organised by SICAD, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the scientific journal Addiction/Society for the Study of Addictions and the International Society of Addiction Journal Editors.