Experts on substance abuse prevention converge on Buffalo

Sep 13, 2016

At a time when the nation is grappling with an opioid crisis, hundreds of researchers, addiction experts and service-providers are meeting in Buffalo to discuss prevention strategies.

The National Prevention Network Conference is under way through Thursday at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Participants have been attending workshops on a variety of topics, listening to keynote speakers and discussing trends in substance abuse prevention.

WBFO talked with some conference attendees, including Dr. Julie Hogan of the University of Nevada, Reno. She said bringing researchers and practitioners together for nearly three days can produce valuable benefits.

“The world of research in prevention is evolving and changing like other bodies of knowledge that form professions,” Hogan said. “So this is an opportunity for the prevention workforce to actually glean information from research about what works in the area of substance abuse prevention.”

Dr. Julie Hogan
Credit Dr. Julie Hogan

Robert I.L. Morrison is executive director of the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors. He said this year’s conference is looking at substance abuse prevention through the lens of healthcare reform.

“In many cases, we’re seeing hospitals acknowledge the importance of prevention by donating some resources to the community and linking what’s typically looked upon as a clinical intervention with our community coalitions and helping provide resources to change the attitudes of that community toward drug use,” Morrison during an interview in the Convention Center on the first day of the conference.

Tuesday’s keynote address was delivered by Dr. Jeff Levi, professor of health management & policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University in St. Louis.

The first conference was staged in 1988 and has been held on an annual basis ever since in cities across the U.S. Coordinators said the event has grown in size over the years and typically attracts between 700 and 1,000 attendees.

Content producer for this report: Patrick Koster.