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Action on Addiction hosts half-day conference on youth substance abuse

Image Credit: Rick PenningtonFour Colman Getty’s Campaigning team has worked with Action on Addiction since January 2012, and last week saw the culmination of a joint project with our Events team; organising a half-day conference at the Wellcome Collection Conference Centre.It was our first conference managed at Wellcome Collection which offered us the perfect size auditorium for our event. Although the spaces didn’t have any natural daylight (so is not necessarily a venue we would consider for a two day conference), it was ideal for half a day and we had good feedback from the guests. The event came on the back of a study funded by Action on Addiction looking at targeted psychological interventions aimed at teenagers at risk of emotional and behavioural problems. The two-year controlled study, run across 21 schools in London, found that this approach significantly reduced the drinking behaviour of the at risk groups and that of their school friends.The media coverage we generated following the publication of the study back in January led to a large number of enquiries from schools, youth workers and psychology professionals, and the conference was an opportunity to bring these groups together to discuss the issues – and what should be done to tackle them – in greater detail.We promoted the free event through online banners in the Guardian Teacher Network and Children & Young People Now e-newsletters and social media outreach. We also targeted London Councils and organisations across the youth, addiction, psychiatry and education fields.The conference was characterised by lively discussion and a productive exchange of views between a range of experts across different fields. To join the lead author, Dr Patricia Conrod, we secured a number of prestigious speakers who took part in a panel discussion chaired by freelance journalist Sophie Goodchild, including: Head of the National Addictions Centre, Professor John Strang; Director of Programmes at drug and alcohol charity Mentor UK, Andrew Brown; and Lucie Russell, Director of Campaigns, Policy & Participation at mental health charity YoungMinds.

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