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Addiction - the elephant in the room

Drink, pokies funding communities, and treatments involving psychedelic drugs are among addiction topics being discussed in the University of Auckland's 2019 Winter Lecture series.

Older adults’ drinking, communities’ reliance on pokies’ funding, and psychedelic drugs as a potential treatment for drug addiction are among the topics being discussed in a series of public talks this winter.

The University of Auckland is running a series of six free public lectures, where interested members of the public, the health and addiction sector and the university community are invited to hear from thought leaders and researchers. Its title - Addiction: The Changing World of Dangerous Consumptions.

Addiction, in its many forms, is one of the biggest challenges facing society, and one to which some of the brightest university minds are turning their attention.

Convenor of the series is Associate Professor Natalie Walker, Director of the Centre for Addiction Research in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. She says that not only can addictions have a negative physical, emotional and financial impact on individuals, but their families and the community are impacted.

“We just can’t keep ignoring addiction or the impact dangerous consumptions have upon our lives. I don’t know anybody who is not personally affected or just once-removed from an addiction of some sort – no-one is immune.

Topics being covered in the lecture series include:

‘Evidence-based alcohol policy: yeah right’; ‘Pokies fund my kindy’; ‘Lock them up and throw away the key? The addicted offender’; ‘Leaping into the unknown - the use of new psychoactive substances in NZ’; ‘Could psychedelic drugs be used to treat addictions?’; and ‘Less is More, What we know about older adults’ drinking’.

Dr Walker said that if these titles seem provocative, then that’s good…they are meant to be.

“People are often reluctant to discuss addiction – this lecture series provides an opportunity for informed debate to address ‘the elephant in the room’.”

The lectures will be held at the Fale Pasifika at the University of Auckland on Wednesdays (3 July, 10 July, 24 July, 31 July, 7 August and 14 August). They run during lunch time (12.30 – 1.30), are free to attend, and there is no need to register.

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