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Cutting Edge examines NZ: drink & drug nation

Cutting Edge examines NZ: drink & drug nation

Wasted youth, drugs in prisons and our genetic predisposition are among the subjects to be examined at the 2006 Cutting Edge, the annual addictions and treatment conference.

The Alcohol Advisory Council(ALAC) is the principal sponsor of Cutting Edge 2006. The conference begins Thursday, September 7, running for three days and featuring over 50 dynamic presentations and workshops from a treatment sector that is coming of age. Corrections and Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor will open the conference at 9am Thursday.

With considerable media attention to the issue of drugs in New Zealand's prison system and the role that alcohol and other drugs plays in offending, Cutting Edge will closely examine the links and solutions to the problems of drugs, offending and incarceration.

Also, there is significant attention given to young people and drugs, and how to support the families of young people who are affected by alcohol and drug-related problems. Recent tragedies involving young people and the courts system underscore the importance of how New Zealand can support young people and their families.

Keynote speaker Dr Papaarangi Reid discusses the debate around Maori and addictions, while visiting Professor Marc Schuckit presents his groundbreaking findings on the impact of the genetics of alcoholism.

Additional highlights include:
• Minister Damien O'Connor outlines the Government's response to recent criticisms of the Corrections system relating to drug and alcohol issues
• The findings from a longitudinal study into New Zealand's methadone programme, and a discussion about the risk of abusing the take-away methadone scheme
• How alcoholism in Pacific Island Communities can be addressed through community initiatives.

"As a country we're affected by many problems related to alcohol and other drugs, reflected in high rates of re-offending, a high prison muster and young people falling through the cracks and ending up in serious trouble," said Cutting Edge spokesperson Tim Harding.

"Is New Zealand a drink and drug nation?" he asked. "Unless we understand the impact that addictions have on our society then the answer won't be the one New Zealand wants."

The draft conference programme can be viewed at:


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