On the 25th of November 2016, the sixth annual HIT Hot Topics Conference was held at the Maritime Museum in Liverpool. Attendees saw international speakers on drug policy and practice covering topics ranging from drug consumption rooms to race inequality.
This page contains the presentations from the day including video footage so even if you didn’t get to attend you can benefit from the knowledge shared.
Aaron is the founder of StoryTurns, an organization that leads innovative digital storytelling workshops with community groups around the world. Aaron recently collaborated with Providence Health Care in Vancouver to facilitate a digital storytelling workshop with drug users taking part in North America’s first heroin-assisted treatment program. As a documentary photographer, Aaron has tried to create balanced and humanizing photos of injection drug users. Aaron is a faculty member in Journalism and Communication Studies at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, B.C. and completing his PhD in Communication Studies at Concordia University in Montreal, Q.C.
Suzi is a researcher at the University of Bristol, interested in understanding associations between substance use and mental health. In her spare time she writes a science blog for the Guardian, and has a podcast series, Say Why to Drugs, about the scientific evidence surrounding the risks and potential benefits of different recreational drugs.
Suzi spoke about effective drug science communication and the drugs podcast she presents with rapper Scroobius Pip.
Fiona is Professor of Criminology in the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University in 2012. Fiona has conducted research for over two decades across a broad area of criminology and social policy, exploring changing trends in legal and illegal drugs; the night time economy and the socio-cultural context to consumption; gender; the regulation and policing of intoxication; electronic music scenes and club cultures; issues of deterrence, displacement and desistance; and broader policy implications. She is also co-founder and co-director of The Loop.
Deborah began her political education and social activism early when, soon after graduating high school, she went to work for a national youth voter education organisation and organised the first state-wide voter registration campaign on the campuses of the State University of New York. She then studied law at Harvard and after several years as a corporate attorney she became Director of Public Policy & Community Outreach for the Drug Policy Alliance. After that, Deborah founded Break the Chains: Communities of Color and the War on Drugs, a public policy research and advocacy organisation committed to addressing the disproportionate impact of punitive drug policies on poor communities of colour.
Michael is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a a member of The Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy within LSE IDEAS. Michael has a long-standing interest in drugs and drugs policy and has published widely in the field. His main interests revolve around the place and meaning of drug use in late industrial societies, including patterns of use and desistance; drug law enforcement; and the politics of drug policy. He is author of Drug Use and Social Change: The Distortion of History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and co-author of The Numbers in Black and White: Ethnic Disparities in the Policing and Prosecution of Drug Offences in England and Wales (Release, 2013, with Niamh Eastwood and Daniel Bear).
Fabrice is the leader of the French harm reduction movement, a drug reformer and a writer. Since 1996 he has been the head of ASUD (Self Support of Drug Users), an NGO recognised by the French government to represent drug users’ interests in the French health system. In 2013 he became a member of the Commission Nationale des Stupéfiants (National Commission on Drugs). He is an historian and he is at the forefont of the debate about French identity. In 2011 he published La Question Métisse, which explored the paradoxes of French identity in terms of race and religion.
Maria is Deputy Director at Harm Reduction International. She started her career working in sexual and reproductive health for Terrence Higgins Trust before coordinating the Children and Young People’s HIV Network at the National Children’s Bureau. She started at HRI as a networking and advocacy officer overseeing the development of the European Harm Reduction Network, as Deputy Director she is responsible for overseeing the delivery of our advocacy strategy and building and maintaining strategic partnerships. She is currently chair of STOPAIDS, a UK based membership network focused on HIV and international development, chair of the EU Civil Society Forum on Drugs and vice-treasurer of the Vienna NGO Committee.
Kirsten is the National Naloxone Coordinator at Scottish Drugs Forum. She has a background in mental health nursing and is currently responsible for the coordination of the Scottish Government’s National Naloxone Programme. She was also part of the WHO guidelines development group for the Community Management of Opioid Overdose. Kirsten recently completed a travel fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, entitled ‘Reducing Preventable Deaths Among People Who Use Drugs’ where she spent 6 weeks in Australia. One of the recommendations from her findings is that Supervised Injecting Facilities should be introduced in the UK. She has been part of the Short Life Working Group in Glasgow who are preparing the business case for SIFs and Heroin-Assisted Treatment in the City.
Jim is the Director of the Public Health Institute and has worked within health/public health for 30 years. He has developed extensive links with external organisations and stakeholders at local, national and international level and has built an international reputation within his academic specialism of human enhancement drug use. Jim has co-authored approximately 200 research reports, books and book chapters, over 50 peer reviewed papers and been invited to deliver keynote presentations and plenary papers at some of the most influential national and international substance use conferences.
HIT’s Pat O’Hare hosting an open audience Q+A with Hot Topics Conference favourite Carl Hart. Carl is aneuroscientist, professor and author is again returning to Hot Topics. Always a crowd favourite at the conference this will be the third time Carl has taken to our stage. When a UK conference is impressive enough to continuingly attract such an influential speaker you know it’s one that you need to attend.
Carl is the Chair of the Department of Psychology at Columbia University. He is also the Dirk Ziff Professor of Psychology in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry. Professor Hart has published numerous scientific and popular articles in the area of neuropsychopharmacology and is co-author of the textbook Drugs, Society and Human Behavior (with Charles Ksir). His most recent book, “High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society,” was the 2014 winner of the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.