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The world touches down in Dundee for major world congress

There may be 20 nations competing in the Rugby World Cup but Dundee will draw an even greater international representation when it hosts a major health conference in the city next month.
Delegates from more than 48 countries will converge in the City of Discovery for a four-day world congress health convention.
As one of the world’s major scientific conferences in addiction medicine, the congress will bring more than 400 leading experts from around the globe to Scotland, generating over £900,000 in revenue for the local economy.


This is the first time that the International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM) World Congress has taken place in the UK and as well as delivering an economic boost to the local economy, it underlines the position of Dundee and Angus as a destination for world-class gatherings.

The University of Dundee is hosting this congress, and Dr Alex Baldacchino, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Addiction Psychiatry at the University of Dundee and Clinical Lead and Consultant in Addiction Psychiatry for NHS Fife, has had the honour to work with the ISAM Board of Directors, Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau, VisitScotland, Starkevents, Dundee City Council, Drug and Alcohol Partnership and many other organisations as the  President of Local Organising Committees to establish the  isamDUNDEE2015 Congress.

He says: “This is the major scientific meeting in the field of addiction medicine and it is a reflection of the University of Dundee’s standing that we have been chosen to host this year’s Congress.

 “We look forward to welcoming people from across the world to the isamDUNDEE2015 Congress which I hope will be unique in style, excellent in its content and memorable in its experience.” Addiction and the healthcare challenges it presents is a global problem. This year’s congress has as its theme ‘Addiction: From Biology to Recovery’ with a focus on translating research evidence to improve clinical practice and community resilience.

Delegates will include representatives from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), US National Institute of Alcohol and Alcoholism (NIAA), United Nations (UN) and the European Monitoring Centre for Drug and Drug Abuse (EMCDDA) amongst many other international organisations.

The scientific programme will include 45 workshops which will discuss topics on: addiction mechanisms, comorbid mental and/or physical health issues and substance misuse, health inequalities, alcohol and drug policies, HIV and co-occurring infections, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in addiction medicine and innovative treatment interventions. There will also be 10 keynote lectures. As well as the important business of the conference, there will be opportunities for delegates to experience Scottish hospitality first hand and social programmes include local food tastings, day tours and Scottish traditional music.

The conference also features an Art and Culture Festival which has been inspired by the local communities experiencing the consequences of substance misuse.

Unique to the isamDUNDEE 2015 World Congress, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design at the University of Dundee will launch a programme of exhibitions, artists’ talks and workshops to engage delegates attending the Congress, and the local community, with a variety of design and art relating to issues surrounding substance misuse.

This programme aims to engage the local community with isamDUNDEE 2015, promoting a legacy of work that seeks to change the lives of people, locally, nationally and internationally and enrich the scientific programme of the Congress. The exhibition is open to the public from 3 -16 October.

Dundee City Development Convener Councillor Will Dawson said: “I would like to welcome all of the delegates to isamDUNDEE2015. It will be great to have so many brilliant minds in the city.

“Science is one of the reasons Dundee has been able to expand and transform. We still lead the way in many fields of medicine and science – so it’s only fitting this conference is held in Dundee. “I am certain that it will be worthwhile and that delegates get to take full advantage of the many networking opportunities.”

Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events at VisitScotland, says: “Scotland has a rich history in medical research and we are delighted to be able to help bring this important Congress to Dundee through the VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund.

“Dr Baldacchino and his team will put on an excellent event for delegates from all over the world and I’m sure they will enjoy what, for many, will be their first visit to the city.”

Karen Tocher, Business Tourism Manager of Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau adds:  “This is a real achievement for Dundee and Angus, and indeed Scotland and UK, to be hosting a leading event of its kind, the 17th ISAM World Congress.

“This can only serve to enhance the area’s image and reputation for hosting major conferences and events.

“For many delegates, this will be their first visit to Dundee and Angus and we know they will be warmly welcomed to the area and will leave with positive memories of the city and the county of Angus.”

The isamDUNDEE2015 Congress takes place at the Caird Hall in Dundee from 5-8 October. It will be preceded by a public debate at the University of Dundee on Saturday, October 3 on the issue ‘Should drugs be legalised in Scotland?’ featuring pro- and anti-legalisation views from some of Scotland’s leading experts.

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