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Letter of Invitation

Dear Colleagues,

It is a great pleasure for me to invite you to the 9th EUROPAD Conference, that will be held in Zagreb, Croatia, on May 28-30, 2010.

The mission of Europad has always been to promote information exchange and updating within the scientific community, but also to spread an illness-centred conception of addictive disorders, with heroin addiction 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.

Treatment modalities of proved effectiveness will be represented. A special symposium will be reserved to buprenorphine treatment, while methadone treatment is going to recur across different sessions, since its characterization has been deepened quite enough through the years. We are going to attempt to describe the role scientific knowledge may play on grounds of drug policy-making, in the “National Guidelines” symposium. National examples may be useful to help each other to improve the capacity of scientists to get their knowledge through to politicians, in terms they can understand and employ for political purposes.

Discussion will be held about all typical medical issues growing around heroin addiction, such as infective diseases, pregnancy and psychiatric comorbidity. In particular, it appears of major interest to discuss what is to be considered as dual diagnosis and what is a simple intoxication syndrome, to be frequently found in addicts according to their level of chronic intoxication and social impairment. The focus on biology will be renewed by the discussion about gender related differences in drug use, abuse and addiction. The styles of coping, treatment request and attrition against treatment should be known in a differential way in order to optimize the interaction between patients and treatment. In particular, harm reduction strategies should be investigated further to provide with stereotypes linking help request or harm reduction appeal to transition to higher threshold treatment: known gender specific factors may be crucial to favour the quicker transition to higher threshold facilities and turn harm reduction into catalysers of treatment initiation.

Separate symposia will be dedicated to a bunch of “hot” topics: on one side, the “opioid” equivalents represented by secondary alcohol abuse and the legal-opioid abuse patterns. On the other hand, an opportunity will be there to read epidemiological data in the light of addiction knowledge, in order to clarify the impact of obstacles to treatment upon the amplification and epidemic of drug-related phenomena, as in some territories of the former Soviet Union.

I’m looking forward to meeting you all in the beautiful city of Zagreb!

Icro Maremmani
President of EUROPAD

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