The Massachusetts Department of Public Health Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) recently held their bi-annual Innovations in Addictions Conference, an event focused on groundbreaking approaches to treatment and prevention of substance abuse. The conference drew more than 350 attendees from a variety of disciplines and was a great opportunity for DPH to promote exciting innovations in how we prevent and treat substance use disorders, and support people in recovery.
This year’s theme Innovations in Addictions: Integrating Systems and Services illustrated how the public health community continually creates new ways to help those living with addiction. Conference goers learned about a range of innovations in the substance disorder field, including using peers to prevent opioid overdose, forging bonds with those in early recovery through technology and leadership training, and the use of homeopathic alternatives and complementary approaches in the treatment of addiction. The trailblazing initiatives covered were as inspiring as they were educational.
David Gustafson, PhD and the Founder and Director of the Center for Health Enhancement Services Studies (CHESS) at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, gave the keynote speech entitled “Using Computers and Innovations to Redesign Addiction Treatment and Recovery.” Dr. Gustafon discussed his innovative work on a mobile app that uses the phone’s GPS to provide, among other tools, support when a person in treatment travels to places that may relate to where they used to use/drink. The application provides affirming messages and keeps lines of communications open between treatment providers and their clients. Learn more about Dr. Gustafon’s work at CHESS’ website.
Finally, the dedication of those working in the addictions field did not go unnoticed. BSAS recognized the outstanding work of three health care professionals with the BSAS Staff Recognition Award: Lisa Blanchard of Spectrum Health Systems in Worcester, MA; Yvette Benton-Hill of the Institute for Health and Recovery in Cambridge, MA, and Deb Bercuvitz of FRESH Start in Holyoke, MA.