As we turn towards March, I expect we are all happy for the longer days and warmer temperatures. These last few months have been very difficult for many, especially people struggling with an addiction. The lockdowns or restrictions due to the pandemic, cold temperatures, and prolonged isolation have been stressful for all of us. Many residential and day addiction treatment programs remain closed or are operating at reduced capacity, while almost all mutual support groups are meeting only online. Virtual zoom groups are very helpful for some, but others feel they need in person groups to be supported. With the arrival of vaccine programs, I am sure we are all hoping that we will be able to resume some of the activities we have had to forego for the past year.
CSAM-SMCA is primarily an online organization, with members across the country, so we have continued to work on many activities that are educational, or advocate for persons with substance use disorders. In the last two months, our work has included:
- Dr. Paul Sobey and I, along with Amy Porvath from CCSA, are putting the finishing touches on a report summarizing the Covid-19 and Addiction information presented at ISAM CSAM 2020 and hope to release it soon.
- We held a very successful Journal Club, hosted by Dr. Monty Ghosh
- Our policy on decriminalization of drugs will be published this month in the Canadian Journal of Addiction.
- We sent a letter to Health Canada expressing concerns with a proposal to reverse regulatory changes that prohibited access to restricted drugs (our concerns were specifically with cocaine and related products) through the Special Access Program.
- I signed a letter of concern to Health Canada that outlines the difficulties in doing clinical trials on cannabis in this country.
- On behalf of CSAM-SMCA, I am participating as a Stakeholder in the development of guidelines for use of Cannabis in Chronic Pain by the Michael DeGroote Medicinal Cannabis Research Centre.
- We are reviewing the Terms of Reference and 2021 plans for all CSAM-SMCA committees
- Planning is well under way for CSAM-SMCA 2021 in November, with many exciting events and speakers planned for our virtual conference this year.
I know this has been a difficult time for many, and I hope that brighter days and better times are ahead. Be safe, and be kind.
The Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine is a national society of medical professionals and scientists committed to helping Canadians understand, accept, and recover from substance use disorders.