Beyond Cannabis Legalization: Refocusing on Community Development

Andrew Freedman, Colorado’s First Director of Marijuana

September 14th 1:30-3:00 pm Round Room

Abstract: Over the past decades, North America has been torn apart by diametrically opposed and deeply held beliefs about cannabis. To some it inspires love, medicates the sick, and promotes wellbeing.

To others it is a limitless font of crime, addiction, and social unrest. Through the last half of the 20th century we witnessed two Beatles’ arrests for possession of hashish, an Olympian stripped of his Gold medal, and a grisly Mexican drug war. Voters became tired of the War on Drugs, and the new millennium brought a wave of populist-led legalization efforts.

Evaluating the success of these legalization efforts has been almost as divisive as legalization itself, with some claiming that the sky has fallen and others claiming only upside. Freedman understands something that few else can. The cannabis legalization experiment cannot be easily shoehorned into a simple narrative. He knows that its short-term successes and shortcomings do not definitively answer the “Should we legalize?” question.

He knows that we can’t yet conclude whether legalization will be good or bad for society. Informed by his unique experience, Freedman’s conclusions are much richer than the doom-and-gloom pronouncements of prohibitionists or the panaceas presented by proponents. How you legalize matters. Getting legalization right matters.

Alone among policy experts, Freedman is able to offer a nuanced evaluation of the history-making experiment – and how it will profoundly impact the world for generations to come.

Join Freedman as he provides a tempered view of what we currently know about the effects of legalization. Freedman will then lead a dialog about how best to engage your community on this divisive topic going forward.


1. Lessons and approaches to engaging the community.

2. An agenda-free look at current data and how best to collect data going forward.

3. Preparing the public health community to engage in the future policies of legalization.

Learning Objectives:;;;


Andrew Freedman is Co-founder and Senior Director of Freedman & Koski, Inc. Andrew’s first-in-the-nation consulting firm works with government, research institutions, communities and private businesses to get cannabis legalization right. Andrew brings vast experience from his three years as the State of Colorado’s first Director of Marijuana Coordination. During this time, he developed distinctive experience effectively implementing voter-mandated legalized recreational and medical marijuana while protecting public health, maintaining public safety, and keeping marijuana out of the hands of children.

Recovery Capital Conference – Toronto 

September 13th and 14th, 2018

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 Recovery Capital Conference of Canada – Toronto Conference Centre

The Carlu
444 Yonge Street, 7th floor
Toronto ON M5B2H4

Medical Consequences and Medicinal Properties of Cannabis

Dr. Jag Khalsa

September 14th 10:50am-12:30pm Round Room

Abstract: Cannabis remains the most illicit drug used in the world today with an estimated 180 million using it regularly. Cannabis use is associated with a wide range of adverse psychosocial and medical/health consequences, the latter involving almost all the physiological systems in the body including CNS, cardiovascular, pulmonary/respiratory, and others.

On the other hand, due to the fact that cannabis plant has 500+ chemical constituents of which 104 are cannabinoids some of which have a great potential as medicine. This presentation will discuss the latest research available on two important aspects of cannabis- adverse health effects and its medicinal properties. In addition, this presentation will discuss various management strategies, recent findings from published and on-going research, and funding mechanisms available at NIDA/NIH

Learning Objectives: (1) The nature and extent of health/medical consequences of cannabis; (2) medicinal properties of cannabis/cannabinoids; (3) Funding mechanisms available at NIDA/NIH

References: (1). WHO Management of Substance Abuse: Cannabis, Joint United Nations Program on AIDS. AIDS Epidemic Update, 2015 (
(2) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2016). 2016 National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health, Office of Applied Studies, Rockville, MD.


Currently Dr. Jag Khalsa is a Special Volunteer at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH. With 50+ years of experience in all aspects of drug research including basic, regulatory and clinical research, he served as the Chief of the Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse and Co-occurring infections Branch, Division of Therapeutics and Medical Consequences, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH, DHHS.  He received his Ph.D. in neuro-psycho-pharmacology from the University of Mississippi and postdoctoral training in CNS/Cardiovascular pharmacology at SK&F (now GlaxoSmith Kline), and Toxicology at the Stanford Research Institute.

As the Chief of MCB, he was responsible for developing and administering a national and international program of clinical research on medical and health consequences of drug abuse and co-occurring infections (HIV, HCV, TB, STD, and others) that may include all biochemical and physiological systems. Prior to joining NIDA in 1987, he served for about 10 years as a pharmacologist/toxicologist assessing safety including carcinogenic and teratogenic potential of chemicals [new drugs-INDs and NDAs] and food additives) and clinical evaluator (adverse consequences of drugs) at the US Food & Drug Administration.

He has several publications in the field of pharmacology, toxicology, epidemiology and medicine. He has received numerous awards of meritorious/distinguished service including from the FDA Commissioner, Director of Bureau of Foods, FDA, NIDA Directors, NIH Director, Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology, Life Time Achievement Awards from the International Conference on Molecular Medicine, Neuroimmune Pharmacology and Personalized-Nanomedicine, and a commendation from the US Congressman Cummings.

Dr. Khalsa also has degrees in Chemistry (BS), pharmacy (B.Pharm), pharmacology/pharmacognosy [herbal pharmacology], M.Pharm). Dr. Khalsa’s hobbies are: music and photography.

Recovery Capital Conference – Toronto 

September 13th and 14th, 2018

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 Recovery Capital Conference of Canada – Toronto Conference Centre

The Carlu
444 Yonge Street, 7th floor
Toronto ON M5B2H4

The Science of Recovery – Recovery Management and the Future of Treatment

Dr. John Kelly

September 14th 8:30- 10:30am Ballroom

Abstract: The clinical course of addiction is often a chronic one characterized by several episodes of treatment and shorter periods of remission and relapse, before full sustained remission is achieved. Although the majority of individuals with substance use disorder achieve full sustained remission, it is noteworthy that it takes several years following the achievement of full sustained remission before the risk of meeting criteria for substance use disorder in the following year is no higher than the general population.

This indicates that ongoing recovery monitoring and management over the long-term may be required to facilitate long-term recovery. This talk highlights the chronic course of substance use disorder and reviews the interventions and recovery support services that have shown to be helpful in mobilizing and supporting remission as well as the mechanisms of behavior change through which they work.

Learning Objectives:

1. Describe the clinical course of addiction based on clinical scientific findings
2. Name three emerging recovery support services intended to extend and support recovery
3. Understand the empirical basis for shifts in language and terminology in the addiction field.


Dr. Kelly is the Elizabeth R. Spallin Associate Professor of Psychiatry in Addiction Medicine at Harvard Medical School-the first endowed professor in addiction medicine at Harvard. He is also the founder and Director of the Recovery Research Institute at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the Program Director of the Addiction Recovery Management Service (ARMS) and the Associate Director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at MGH. Dr. Kelly is a former President of the American Psychological Association (APA) Society of Addiction Psychology and is also a Fellow of the APA and a diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology. He has served as a consultant to U.S. federal agencies and non-Federal institutions, and foreign governments. His clinical and research work has focused on addiction treatment and the recovery process, mechanisms of behavior change, and in reducing stigma and discrimination among individuals suffering from addiction.

Recovery Capital Conference – Toronto 

September 13th and 14th, 2018

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 Recovery Capital Conference of Canada – Toronto Conference Centre

The Carlu
444 Yonge Street, 7th floor
Toronto ON M5B2H4

Recovery Capital: When Wealth and Poverty Have the Same Price

Dr Julian M. Somers

September 14th 8:30am Ballroom



Many people receive addiction treatment only when their lives have become complicated by other challenges, including involvement with the law, loss of housing and employment, or mental illness. This talk examines research on the life trajectories of people who experience complex addictions. It also reviews evidence concerning interventions, and considers how the concept of recovery capital can explain why some interventions are more effective than others.

Over the past 10 years a series of studies in British Columbia have involved people experiencing complex addictions. This research has used a variety of methods: economic analyses; cohort studies; randomized controlled trials; qualitative interviews; and comparative outcome studies. Many of these studies have focused on integrated multi-agency interventions.

Taken together, the results show that people develop complex challenges over time and frequently seek help for their health and social problems. The results also show that mainstream resources in most communities have limited effectiveness for people with complex addictions, leading to greater problems in other domains and relocation to new places.

A variety of specialized programs have been developed for people with complex addictions including Drug Treatment Court, Housing First, Assertive Community Treatment, and Intensive Case Management. Evidence confirms that these programs can deliver better outcomes than the status quo on a wider range of outcomes: housing stability; crime reduction; community integration; improved health; etc. But the results also show that it’s possible to spend equivalent amounts of money of programs that yield significantly different results.

Differences between similarly-funded interventions can be explained by considering their effects on recovery capital: court outcomes are better when they provide health and social services; housing outcomes are better when people live in diverse neighbourhoods versus exclusively with others who were homeless; health outcomes are better when people have the authority to make decisions. There is an urgent need to replace ineffective services with effective ones, and to move the point of interventions upstream. This talk concludes with a focus on opportunities to achieve both objectives.

Learning Objectives:

  • Increasing knowledge regarding the relationship between addiction and additional serious life challenges including conflict with the law, employment loss, and homelessness;
  • Updating knowledge about the interventions that are most effective for promoting recovery among people with complex addictions;
  • Promoting the use of “recovery capital” as a concept to differentiate effective and less effective interventions, even when they cost the same amount of money.


Rezansoff SN, Moniruzzaman A, Fazel, S, Skeem J, McCandless L, Somers JM (2017). Housing First improves adherence to antipsychotic medication among formerly homeless adults with severe mental illness: results of a randomized controlled trial. Schizophrenia Bulletin. 43(4): 852-861. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbw136

Somers JM, Moniruzzaman A, Palepu A. (2015). Changes in substance use among people experiencing homelessness and mental illness: 24-month outcomes following randomization to Housing First or Usual Care. Addiction. DOI: 10.1111/add.13011.

Somers JM, Moniruzzaman A, Rezansoff SN, Brink J, Russolillo A. (2015). The prevalence and distribution of complex co-occurring disorders: a population study. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences. DOI: 10.1017/S2045796015000347.


Dr. Julian Somers completed his clinical training at the University of Washington, Seattle’s Harbourview Hospital, and British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital. He was Director of the UBC Psychology Clinic and President of the BC Psychological Association.

Dr. Somers has led Provincial and multi-jurisdictional programs addressing public health crises involving addiction, physical and mental health, social welfare, public safety, and housing. He began his academic career in the UBC Faculty of Medicine, and is currently Full Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University.

The Somers Research Group is internationally recognized for public health initiatives with governmental, private, and not-for-profit collaborators. Dr. Somers has led large-scale applied randomized trials, multi-site interventions, and population-level studies described in over 100 publications. He has also created advanced information systems for public health surveillance and to evaluate the effectiveness of policies and services.

Members of the Somers Research Group have garnered numerous awards and distinctions for research in the public interest. Dr. Somers serves as an advisor to senior officials in government and corporate roles and is a frequent media contributor.

Building Recovery Capital: Mining, Defining and Utiliz

Speaker: Gord Garner September 13th 10:50am Round Room

“How do you make the recovery community part of the broader community?

Currently, the barriers for building a recovery capital producing platform are stigma, and the silos between researchers, academics policy advisors and those with lived and living experience, as well as the lack of resources for recovery communities. As advocates, we seek to create a closed cycle of ongoing recovery capital by mining, defining and then utilizing what we know to better support recovery communities.

It is time to shift the conversation from those in recovery to the broader community. This presentation will outline the need for the recovery community to build a strong public presence and the need for national, provincial and regional partners to engage and support recovery communities, and their efforts to improve collaboration.

Building public recovery communities enables the substance use disorder community to work in partnership with researchers, academics, policy advisors and the broader public community. By creating a closed cycle communications platform, we can transform experience into knowledge and knowledge into actionable recovery capital.

Furthermore, addressing and eliminating stigma through public discussions about recovery will lead to the creation of public recovery communities. To aid this process, we are creating, for the first time, opportunities for direct engagement with academics, researchers, and policy advisors.

Garnering wide public support for the initiatives and actions that are developed as part of this cooperative work is key. Recovery involves everyone and families, employers, service clubs, faith based organization and civil servants – including politicians – need to be engaged in a dialogue. The general public plays a critical role in influencing the level of social change, and corresponding funding, they demand and to gain their support we must show the value of meaningful cross-engagement and collaboration.

This presentation will also include overviews of CCSA-published resources that aid the recovery community including the Finding Quality Addiction Care in Canada Guide, the Life in Recovery from Addiction in Canada Report, the Life in Recovery from Addiction in Canada Communications Toolkit, and the Moving Towards a Recovery-Oriented System of Care Resource.”

“We believe collaboration turns knowledge into actionable initiatives, research, and policy initiatives. As joint presenters, we intend to show how removing barriers between academic, research, policy work and lived experience with substance use disorder can enrich the conversation and lead to meaningful change.

Our three learning objectives are as follows:

1. Show the importance of publicly available peer services and recovery communities in building sustainable recovery models.

2. Demonstrate how stigma can prevent those with a substance use disorder from accessing recovery community organizations and highlight the importance of recovery allies in breaking down stigma, and providing new sources of recovery capital.

3. Drive engagement between the recovery community and the broader community, and normalize dialogue around recovery and substance use disorders.”


“As well as CCSA research we used these resources

The Community as the Patient: How to Promote Community Recovery

What is the Evidence for Peer Recovery Support Services?
In addition as noted above we have used recent CCSA surveys and research articles”


Gord Garner Recovery Capital Work
Volunteer Community Addictions Support Association 2014
Board member Community Addictions Peer Support Association (CAPSA) 2014-on going
Nominated and elected Chair Recovery Day Ottawa 2015-16-17 and new two year term 2018/19
Appointed Executive Director of CAPSA by the board 2017
Facilitator at CAPSA’s All People All Pathways peer support meetings
Canadian Certified Addiction Counselor
Public Speaker
Issues of Substance Conference 2017
Biennial Conference on Violence and Aggression 2018
Various speaking roles at “Conversations at The Royal “Ottawa Mental Health Centre”
Algonquin College Umbrella Project Guest Speaker
Carleton University guest lectures
Algonquin College guest lectures
Media appearances
CTV News
CBC Radio
Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa Sun
Ottawa Life Magazine
Various videos on social media
Named one of Ottawa’s #150 Great People
Recognized as one of #150 Ottawa Centre People Making a Difference
MPP Yasir Naqvi
Rita Notarandrea, M.H.Sc., C.H.E.​
Rita Notarandrea
Rita Notarandrea was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) through a Governor-in-Council appointment on July 28, 2015. Ms. Notarandrea works with all levels of government as well as the not-for-profit and private sectors to ensure that addiction is recognized as a health issue, that it remains on the national agenda for action and that collective efforts are galvanized to reduce alcohol- and drug-related harms on the health of Canadians.

Before being appointed CEO, Ms. Notarandrea held the position of interim CEO for a 10-month period, and that of Deputy CEO for eight years. As the Deputy CEO, Ms. Notarandrea was accountable for the overall operations of CCSA. This position entailed establishing strategic and operational goals and ensuring that CCSA remained responsive to environmental trends and had the strategies and processes in place to deliver on the mission and vision of the organization and to assess performance and achievements.

Under Ms. Notarandrea’s leadership, CCSA has led many first-ever national initiatives, including an overarching action plan on problematic substance use. During her tenure, CCSA has developed national strategies for mitigating the harms of alcohol, for professionals working in the field and for youth drug use prevention. These strategies represent new ways of thinking and working together to deliver practical and tangible results for Canadians, harnessing collective action for collective impact

Concurrent Disorders: The Complexity of Recovery

Speaker: Ann Dowsett Johnston September 13th 3:15- 5:00pm Main Ballroom

Ann Dowsett Johnston was a high-functioning, award-winning senior professional when addiction and depression capsized her life. Her presentation explores the journey to and through recovery, the complex challenge of concurrent disorders and getting sober in what she calls an alcogenic culture. Ultimately, hers is a story of redemption and joy as she became the bestselling author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol.

“Knowledge of what it means to live in an alcogenic culture
Appreciation of the challenges of concurrent disorders
The unique challenge to women with the “”pinking”” of the market
Why women are less happy than they were in the 1970s”

“Journal of American Medicine Psychiatry–August 2017
New report from the Oncologists of US
Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol
Multiple presentations at the Alcohol Policy conference April, 2018”

Recovery Capital Conference – Toronto 

September 13th and 14th, 2018

Register for Recovery Capital Conference of Toronto





 Recovery Capital Conference of Canada – Toronto Conference Centre

The Carlu
444 Yonge Street, 7th floor
Toronto ON M5B2H4

Toronto Advisory Committee

Our Committee Welcomes you to the Recovery Capital Conference of Canada in Toronto on September 13th and 14th 2018

Cara Vaccarino

Giuseppe Ganci
Director of Community Development Last Door Recovery Centre

Jessica Behnke
Communications and Public Affairs Officer, Addictions & Mental Health Ontario

Dominic Brault
Social Media Specialist, EHN-CANADA

Janice Cramp
Senior Member, Addiction and Mental Health Ontario

Gail Czukar
CEO, Addictions & Mental Health Ontario

Gord Garner
Executive Director, Community Addictions Peer Support Association

Angie Hamilton
Co-Founder and Executive Director, Families for Addiction Recovery (FAR)

Beth Harris
Community Outreach Administrative Assistant, Bellwood Health Services

Marie-Claude Ivens
Director of Communication & Business Development, EHN-CANADA

Josh Montgomery
Director – Operations, Bellwood Health Services

Rita Notarandrea
CEO, Canadian Centre on Substance Use & Addiction

Kalandra Roach
Kalandra Roach Events

Katie Robinette
Founder, Sponsor Finder

Trisha Barrett
Executive Assistant and Physician Coordinator, Bellwood Health Services

Jessica Cooksey
Operations Manager Last Door Recovery Centre

Recovery Capital Conference – Toronto 

September 13th and 14th, 2018

Register for Recovery Capital Conference of Toronto




Recovery Capital Conference New Westminster

Register Here  – September 5th and 6th 2019

Anvil Centre
777 Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC V3M 1B6

 Eventbrite - Recovery Capital Conference of Canada - New Westminster British Columbia


Do you manage employees, work in healthcare? 

Join us for a national dialogue where delegates will be engaged across Canada to provide input regarding Building Recovery Capital in Canada, and offering suggestions for a Recovery Capital Tool Kit for Canadians, designed by Canadian Addiction Recovery Stakeholders like  you.

Our goal by 2022, every Canadian with a substance use disorder participates in a nationalized Recovery Capital Assessment to sustain recovery from addiction and find their own pathway to better health outcomes.









Attend the Recovery Capital Conference and engage in dialogue sessions to assist in the development of a Recovery Capital Assessment Toolkit and learn about the upcoming New Recovery Capital Certification.

Receive the education that qualifies you for the NEW Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation Recovery Capital Associate (RCA) certification and learn about the Recovery Capital Professional Certification (RCP)















Presented by

Last Door Recovery Society   |   Westminster House,

Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction  |    Cedars at Cobble Hill

Global BC   |    Save On Foods Pharmacy   |   The Province of British Columbia

Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation   |  McDonald’s

Orchard Recovery Centre        |   iRecover Addiction Treatment

Chopra Addiction & Wellness Centre   |   St Pauls Foundation

British Columbia Centre on Substance Use   |   Turning Point

Precision Medical Monitoring   |   Alliance Medical Monitoring

Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation  |  McDonalds Canada Little House Society   |   Sustain Recovery  |   Life Labs 


Heartquest Addiction Wellness Centre   |   Together We Can   |   Sage Health Centre  |  Beach House Treatment Centres  |  Edgewood Health Network  |  Narcotics Anonymous  |  Top of the Word Ranch  | Western Canada Addiction Forum  |   Sunshine Coast Health Centre  |  InnerVisions Recovery  |  John Volken Academy  |   BC Nurses Union  |   Pegasus Recovery Solutions   |  Homewood Health  |  All Cleared  |    Fraser Health  |   Our Place  |   Chopra Centre  |   Nucleus Labs  |

Who Should Register?

Physicians, Occupational Health Leaders, Human Resources Managers, Health Care Policy Makers, Therapists, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Interventionists, Residential Treatment Centre Management and Clinical Teams, Students, Union Leaders, Community Leaders, Disability Management Coordinators, Professional Regulatory Bodies, Insurance Carriers, Labour Relations Specialists, Employee Assistance Program providers, Labour Lawyers, Safety Committee Members, Union Representatives.

This year’s conference also features the premiere of a Canadian documentary film on the Portuguese model.

The BC Conference will take place in New Westminster BC on September 5th and 6th, with Recovery Day taking place on September 7th, 2019







Dr. Gabor Maté 

Myth of Normal Overarching: Illness and Health in an Insane Culture, Building Recovery Capital

For all our progress in understanding and treating mental illness, it continues to be a subject of misapprehension, prejudice and stigmatization. The reason for that may be not its strangeness but its familiarity. Very few individuals or families are not touched by at least some aspects of mental dysfunction, some periods of the discouragement, disconnect or anxiety that, on a deeper and more chronic level, characterizes the mind state of the mentally ill. And beyond individual experience or predisposition, many factors in this stress and confused culture conduce to mental malfunction on a broad social scale. This talk will explore the causes and “normality” of depression, anxiety and addictions in our society.

Dr. Andrea Barthwell

Former Deputy Director for Demand Reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy at the White House under President George W. Bush.

Individualized Treatment for Recovery Enhancement: Managing expectations for outcomes

Behavioral Health Programs are popping up like daffodils in spring- often inspired by a great piece of beachfront property, an idea, or the potential to cash out in 5- 7 years.  NIDA has defined the elements of treatment but many new programs resist adoption of these scientifically derived principles in favor of ones own recovery experience or a branded treatment model (packaged empirical ideas or research ideas without attribution) promoted by a charismatic speaker who is on the road so much you wonder when he has the time to see patients.  Dr. Barthwell will compare and contrast two treatment processes that focus on disparate outcomes and setting informed by a comprehensive bio-psycho-social-spiritual-emotional assessment which is used to develop actionable treatment plans aimed at producing resilient, sustained recovery.  The notion, and necessity, of a track for a certain condition (i.e. trauma, PTSD, pain, etc.) in the treatment setting will be explored.

Johann Hari

Rethinking Addiction Social Recovery in the Age of Loneliness

For Johann Hari, drugs have always been personal. One of his earliest memories is of being unable to wake a relative. Since then, he’s watched loved ones struggle with addiction, all the while believing in the basic story about drugs and dependency echoed by our teachers and governments. That is, until he set out to find his own answers. Embarking upon a 30,000-mile, 12-country journey to really understand the war on drugs, Hari uncovered a much different narrative—that everything we’ve been told about addiction for the past 100 years is wrong.

As Hari learned, emerging science proves that addiction isn’t actually caused by drugs, but by conditions of social isolation and pain. Addiction isn’t the result of a moral failing or depravity, or the inevitable result of a chemical dependency, but a product of our social environments. This means we need to pursue a radically different approach to addicts, abandoning conventional cycles of shame, stigma, and incarceration, and instead adopting greater capacities of compassion. “So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety,” Hari writes. “It is human connection.”

In this talk, Hari discusses the landmark studies that demonstrate the connections between addiction and environment. He investigates the countries that have witnessed incredible success by accepting these findings: plummeting rates of drug use, addiction, violent crime, overdoses, and more. And he issues a call to treat the addicts in our lives much differently, changing both our politics and our hearts. Combining the best social science with vividly human anecdotes, this is a transformative talk about what it means to be addicted, and what it means to recover.

Steven Page

Founding member of the Barenaked Ladies

Overcoming Adversity

In his funny and self-deprecating keynotes he offers insightful tips on how to feel better, live well, express ourselves every day, and how music helps to heal us. Through moving anecdotes, Page shares his creative processes, how it helped him through his issues. Page talks about overcoming embarrassment, and learning to appreciate, love, and harness his voice. Late in the talk, he picks up an acoustic guitar and starts to strum, reminding us why he’s counted among Canada’s premiere musicians.


Dr. Marie-Helene Pelletier

Dr. Marie-Helene Pelletier is a bilingual practicing psychologist and experienced senior leader with over 20 years of experience in clinical, counselling, and workplace psychology.

Protect your resilience: What every leader needs to know

How resilient are you? It’s a question worth asking. Our ability to be resilient, or bounce back, can have a significant influence on how we manage stress and interact with our colleagues, teams, and clients, on our physical and mental health. It can also impact how we respond to change, make decisions, and maintain stamina for ongoing productivity. It can impact our success.

Resilience and mental health in the workplace and in life can be built and improved. This session provides research-based tips to help you build and protect your resilience and support the resilience of others, whether at work or in your personal life. You may be surprised at how applying principles of cognitive behavioural and brain research can produce positive results both at the individual and team levels in your organization.

Dr. Paul Farnan and Dr Paul Sobey

Addressing and resolving substance use issues – challenges for the workplace.

Substance use disorders in the workplace are costly, difficult to identify early and can profoundly impact worker health as well as workplace safety and morale. Employees with substance use disorders generally present with complex medical and psychosocial needs. The issues that arise when trying to assist employees with substance use disorders can be challenging and require collaboration between key stakeholders.This session is designed to assist stakeholders in developing customized approaches to having the difficult conversations required, coordinating assessments, treatment and follow up with the goal of safe and durable return to work. Using didactic and interactive approaches the presenters will discuss the foundations of a recovery informed workplace and how structuring a cooperative substance use in the workplace policy can benefit from this approach.








Dr. Jenny Melamed

Workplace monitoring in safety sensitive individuals: Is there a role for family physicians?

There is an ongoing need for Monitoring of individuals with substance use disorders in safety sensitive work settings in order to protect public safety. Dr. Melamed will explore the potential for monitoring of safety sensitive workers by family physicians and the logistical, legal and legislative framework in which medical monitoring is conducted.


Dr. Ray Baker and Jessica Cooksey

Recovery Oriented Knowledge, Attitudes and Skills for Addiction Clinicians

A training experience for specialized clinicians, community based volunteers, paraprofessionals and primary care health providers, introducing the attitudes, knowledge and skills most effective in helping persons with addictions and psychiatric disorders as they enter and progress along their individual journeys of recovery. Topics covered include definitions of recovery, description, discussion, measurement and application of recovery capital and the principles and practices included in an effective recovery oriented system of care.


Erik Leijonmarck

Primary prevention as building blocks for healthy communities – Case of Iceland

Preventing drug use is difficult. Ingrained habits are hard to change, and individuals tend to not act on information of what is best for them. The idea that “nothing can be done” to seriously address levels of drugs use in society has contributed to a policy focus on making drug use less harmful or accommodated through health interventions rather than trying to bring down demand for drugs overall.

But significant and population wide reductions in drug use can be achieved through consistent and evidence-based alterations of the social environments in lives of young people. By mapping and addressing risk and protective factors in local communities’ youngsters can be prevented from establishing patterns of drug seeking and anti-social behaviour.

This requires a shift in thinking, from an individual perspective to a collective perspective, and from short-term goal setting to long-term goal setting.

On Iceland levels of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs use have been decreasing for consecutive 20 years to very low levels, resulting in lesser demand for treatment and costs for the health care sector. Since 2017 the world is increasingly looking towards the island in the Atlantic Ocean whose efforts in bringing down levels of substance use have sparked a silent revolution among parents, schools and the wider communities as social capital grows.

Dr. David Best

Social Contagion of Recovery

Professor of Criminology in the Department of Law and Criminology at Sheffield Hallam University. Dr. David Best is a global expert relating to the addiction recovery field and for the Recovery Movements in the UK and Australia.

Rand Teed

Mining The Mind – Neuroplasticity in Recovery Capital

Recovery is an ongoing process of replacing old patterns with new patterns. Neuroplasticity is the brains capacity to build new connections which create new feelings and behaviors. This presentation will outline the science behind ‘changing your mind’ as well as tips, techniques and methods of helping people in recovery (any stage) continue to enhance their recovery path.

Dr. Dawn Nickel

The Promise of Social Media in Supporting Long Term Recovery for Women

There is a growing evidence base that digital social network sites (SNSs) are increasingly effective for people looking to build recovery capital. Among the many benefits of engaging with SNSs:

o Peer-to-peer support
o Improves health literacy
o Peers share stories, strategies, tools and resources
o Some evidence of increased consumer activation, intervention
o Increases recovery capital and enhances recovery identity
o Helps build an abstinent network (supportive of recovery)
o Moderates the role of stigma
o Provides a sense of belonging and empowerment
o Various roles possible: lurking, participating and leading

Dawn Nickel (PhD) is a visionary in the recovery movement and over the past eight years has been working diligently to create social media spaces to support women who are in or seeking recovery. Along with her daughter Taryn Strong (also in recovery) Dawn is the creator of SHE RECOVERS – currently the largest online platform dedicated to supporting women in recovery from addiction and related life challenges. Dawn started her own journey of recovery from a substance use disorder and mental health issues in 1987. She is a strong advocate for the view that every woman in or seeking recovery must be supported to find the tools and pathways that will work best for her as an individual.

In this engaging session, Dawn will describe the consumer-driven evolution and growth of SHE RECOVERS, an international movement of women that started out as a Facebook Page in the summer of 2011. Since that time, SHE RECOVERS has been creating welcoming spaces and transformative opportunities – on and offline – to connect, support and empower recovering women. As part of the presentation, Dawn will share the results of a cross-sectional survey designed with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and administered to the SHE RECOVERS community in the fall of 2018. In that survey, respondents shared their views about how they believed that social media engagement had enhanced their recovery journeys.

Additional Ticket Option – Evening Session, Building Recovery Capital in Communities and Family.


An American author of the books Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy and Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction

Just Say Know: Helping Families and Communities Face the Drug-use and Addiction

In the past, people thought addiction was a choice made by people without will power or morals, who wanted to get high no matter how much they hurt their loved ones – or themselves. Suffers were shamed and blamed. We demanded of them confession and contrition.

But addiction isn’t a choice. It’s a progressive, chronic, and potentially fatal disease. People who are ill don’t need blame, chastisement, or punishment, but compassion, support, and the best medical treatment available.

Addiction doesn’t only affect the one who’s ill, but their family; every family with an addicted loved one knows the confusion, debilitation, and fear. Like their addicted loved one, they need support. They also need help navigating what can be the most harrowing challenge they’ll ever face.

The good news is that the addicted – and their families – can heal. No person or family can face addiction alone. To help our loved ones and families, communities must come together and work together. Our efforts must involve the efforts of parents, teachers and schools, social services agencies, providers of health care, businesses, faith-based groups, law enforcement, politicians, and others. When we face addiction together, we move out of darkness and suffering and into light, hope, and healing.


Moderation provided by:

Linda Lane Devlin of Interventions on Demand