Letter of Invitation
It is a great pleasure for me to invite you to join the 9th EUROPAD Conference, that is scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland (UK), on May 23-25, 2014.
The mission of Europad has always been to promote the exchange of knowledge and interactive updating within the scientific community of addiction medicine, but also to spread and an illness-centered conception of addictive disorders, heroin addiction standing as a long-dating prototype. Thereby, the structure of meeting has always tried to propose systematic updating on different issues from a common biomedical viewpoint.
A review of the genetic bases of addictive diseases will strategically be a preliminary cap to the "clinical" body of the congress, in order to recall the biological core to which all disciplines are bound to be referred, and which provides with some simple clues to explain apparently complex clinical problems, such as sensitivity to treatment, self-selection of abuse, comorbidity patterns.
Discussion will be held about the nature, quality and extent of specific psychopathological symptoms of heroin addicts. Conditions which are often mistaken for additional psychiatric syndromes, or independent polyabuse patterns, may be in fact reconsidered as a corollarium of chronic opiate intoxication, beyond the core elements of craving and drug-seeking behavior, without the meaning of a dual diagnosis. Also, certain polyabuse patterns may be seen as the self-perpetuation of addiction by other opioidergic substances such as alcohol.
Separate symposia will be dedicated to a bunch of "hot" topics. This year, we will focus on some topics related to premature termination of treatment, the consequence of treatment omission or delay, and the myth of treatment resistance, often just corresponding to undermedication or non specific treatment approaches. The "making of difficult patients" will be a major point of criticism towards addiction treatment malpractice, together with the issue of overdose mortality related to detoxification and the withdrawal from treatment programs.
A deeper look into polyabuse will be proposed. On one side, specific sessions will be dedicated to "by-substance" polyabuse issues; on the other, a view will be presented on the phenomenon of switching abuse and the continuity between heroin addiction and later involvement into alcohol and benzodiazepine abuse, beyond the classic concept of multiple drug use or drug use proneness.
The attempt will be made to draw a biological portrait of addicted patients, from pre-morbid risk disposition to biological factors for malignant course and transition to secondary abuse, to end with the definition of putative indicators of long-term relapse risk downgrading after successful treatment.
In this light, psychosocial issues will also be discussed as closely related to the disease stage and to the current state of disease expression.
I’m looking forward to meeting you all in the beautiful city of Glasgow!
President of EUROPAD