Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

November 08, 2011 10:50 ET

New Approaches Help Aboriginal People with Addiction and Substance Use

More than a dozen sessions focus on Aboriginal addiction issues at Issues of Substance conference

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 8, 2011) - Innovative approaches to treating Aboriginal people with substance abuse issues are in the spotlight at the Issues of Substance 2011 (IOS) conference taking place from November 6-9.

IOS is the leading venue for government, not-for-profit and private sector stakeholders to discuss and exchange knowledge in research, health promotion and treatment regarding the harmful use of alcohol, drugs and other substances. Over 400 experts from across Canada and around the world are participating in this year's meeting, which is organized by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

More than a dozen sessions at the conference address substance abuse issues, which have a disproportionate impact among First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in Canada. Participants heard that new approaches that incorporate traditional culture, Indigenous Knowledge and practice, and Traditional Healing methods are effective in helping Aboriginal people overcome substance abuse.

New approaches discussed included:

  • Using Aboriginal traditional culture in healing from substance abuse (e.g., circle of life, creation stories, healing circles, smudge ceremonies)
  • Combining indigenous and Western knowledge to improve the treatments designed for—and outreach to—Aboriginal women with substance abuse problems. For example, using a virtual community to identify 'wise' approaches for substance abuse treatment as well as the prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder among First Nations and Inuit women.
  • Using an integrated, culturally specific and client-focused system of supports and services for First Nations people in Canada.

"Over the years, CCSA has benefited from a strong relationship with Aboriginal people," said Michel Perron, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. "All of us should value the knowledge and best practices our First Nations, Inuit and Métis collaborators can share with us."

CCSA has had an Elders Advisory Council in place since 2008 to bridge the gap between community and research by providing guidance and recommendations related to First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada on national substance abuse issues and policy development.

Other sessions of note included:

  • A presentation from Elder Campbell Papequash on how Aboriginal traditional culture was the turning point in his healing journey from substance abuse;
  • A traditional smudge ceremony followed by a discussion about protocol in Aboriginal traditional culture and its relationship to healing from substance abuse; and
  • The presentation of results from a study on psychoactive substance use among Inuit youth, revealing their perceptions of what is being done and what still needs to be done to find an effective response to alcohol and drug abuse among Inuit.

The conference wraps up tomorrow.

Please contact the CCSA to arrange interviews with panelists or speakers, or for further information. For more information, visit the Issues of Substance 2011 web site.

About CCSA:

With a legislated mandate to reduce alcohol- and other drug-related harms, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) provides leadership on national priorities, fosters knowledge translation within the field and creates sustainable partnerships that maximize collective efforts. CCSA receives funding support from Health Canada.

Follow us @CCSAcanada on twitter #IOS2011

Follow CCSA CEO Michel Perron @MichelPerron on Twitter

Contact Information

  • CCSA
    Jennifer Lavoie
    Director of Communication and Corporate Services
    (613) 235-4048 ext. 237
    Mobile: (613) 882-4048