Understanding Addiction


Tuesdays, September 24 to October 29, 2019, 1:30- 3:30 pm

Grace United Church, Cook & Grove St., Barrie

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Presented with the Assistance of Donna Bowen, MN, RN (EC), Public Health Nurse, Substance Use and Injury Prevention Program, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

The series will investigate aspects of addiction, touching on various substances, but more importantly on addiction as a behavioral phenomenon.  Some of the questions that the series will address include, why do some people become addicted to substances, while some do not? Is there such a thing as an addictive personality, and if so, what are its defining characteristics? Are addictions matters of choice? Is addiction a disease? Are there cultural, political and religious elements at play in our regulation of and attitudes towards addiction? What is involved in moving from blaming addicted individuals for their behavior to supporting them in their struggles?

The final session introduces various aspects of cannabis use, regarded as qualitatively distinct from the addictive behaviors associated with the other substances that the series covers.

Tuesday September 24: What is Addiction?

Presenter: Angela McCuaig, Outpatient Day Program Director, Royal Victoria Hospital

This presentation will introduce the addiction series by providing a general understanding of what an addiction is, incorporating the various theories and perspectives about addictions.  It is hoped that with increased knowledge and a better understanding of addiction and the stigma associated with it, there will be increased compassion and support towards individuals who have a substance use problem.

Areas to be covered in this presentation will include:

  • the definition of addiction
  • an overview of the different types of addictions
  • the risk factors that can put individuals at risk to develop an addiction-related disorder,
  • dispelling the myths about addiction
  • standard drink size and low risk drinking guidelines
  • assessments used to determine severity of addiction behaviour and impact
  • address the stigma associated with individuals who struggle with an addiction.

See Biography: Angela McCuaig

Tuesday October 1:Responding to Our Area’s Opioid Crisis

Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy panel: Dr. Lisa Simon, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit; Detective Inspector Jim Walker, Ontario Provincial Police; Brent Tottie, person with lived experience; Meredith Friya, Canadian Mental Health Association.

The Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy is a large partnership formed to address the growing crisis of opioid use and overdose in our region. The group has released an action plan whose aim is to dramatically reduce the harm of opioids in our communities. The plan includes an early warning system, harm reduction plans, medical and emergency response, and prevention and enforcement.

See Biography: Dr. Lisa SimonDetective Inspector Jim WalkerBrent TottieMeredith Friya

Tuesday October 8: Harm Reduction and Anti-Stigma

Presenter: Doug Ironside, Harm Reduction Lead, SMDHU

We are the inheritors of the fallout from the War on Drugs.  This foreign and domestic policy of the United States has shaped global affairs and anti-drug activity for the past forty-five years, in turn affecting Canada and many other nations.

Decades of monumental but futile effort has left thousands dead, while costing billions.  The War on Drugs has been lost.  Attacking the drug supply chain in an effort to dwindle supply has done little except to perpetuate prison populations and increase crime, but without reducing actual drug use.  Perhaps most damagingly, the ideology of this policy has stigmatized and alienated those in most need of help and health, undermining our collective ability to empathize and connect.

Einstein said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Perhaps, at long last, we are at the cusp of a change in approach. Come learn what it might be.

See Biography: Doug Ironside

Tuesday October 15: Tobacco End Game and New Industry Products

Presenters: Dr. Charles Gardner, Medical Officer of Health and Cindy Baker-Barill, Smoke-Free Living Program Manager, SMDHU

The Tobacco End Game is a set of policy measures that have been identified to meet a national goal to lower tobacco use rates in Canada to less than five per cent by 2035.  This session will look at the actions needed to achieve this goal, the history of tobacco control, and the industry’s role in marketing its deadly products.

The newest tobacco industry products – in particular e-cigarettes – and the growing popularity of vaping among youth will be examined. Current marketing practices, research related to youth smoking and vaping rates, addiction, the role e-cigarettes play in cessation efforts among adult smokers, and the differences and similarities in people who smoke and vape will all be highlighted.

Participants will be provided with actionable steps that can be taken to contribute to the tobacco end game goal.

See Biography: Dr. Charles Gardner and Cindy Baker-Barill

Tuesday October 23:Treating Addiction

Presenter: Brian Irving, Interim Manager, Addiction Services, RVH

Addiction to substances and to behaviours such as gambling, shopping and videogames is often misunderstood, so too are the various approaches used to treat and support those attempting to make changes to their addiction.  This presentation will examine the process of addiction and will provide an in-depth look at the treatment and support options available to individuals living with addiction and their families.

See Biography: Brian Irving

Tuesday October 29:Cannabis Basics

Presenter: Neev Tapiero, Professor, The Business of Cannabis Program, Ryerson University

Cannabis Basics will include information on the history of cannabis and of its prohibition. The session will explore plant sciences and approaches to production and touch on the impact of legalization, the growing business of cannabis, and discuss the effectiveness of cannabis for medical uses. The various cannabinoids will be explored.

See Biography: Neev Tapiero

Venue:   Grace United Church

Venue Website: http://www.graceucc.ca/

350 Grove St. E, Barrie, Ontario, Canada