Plotting a New Course is the leading forum for the critical analysis of responses to drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Cross-cutting themes link social policy, public health, law enforcement, supply, treatment and harm reduction. With policy and organisational thinking increasingly driven by myths, mantras and metaphors, the theme for this year is ‘driven by dogma or steered by science’.

Two days of high level presentations, debate and discussion will seek to cut through the common narratives. Stepping outside professional and organisational ‘silos’, will provide the opportunity to challenge our own views and those of others, advance debate, improve knowledge and ultimately contribute to enhancing public and individual health and to the reduction of social costs of licit and illicit drug use.

The programme committee, led by Professor Gerry Stimson, is working to finalise the agenda, but topics already included are:

  • Independent drug commissions – do they help advance debate and understanding?
  • Recovering from the Recovery agenda.
  • Drugs, alcohol and tobacco policies – why the differences?
  • Unintended policy consequences: counter-productive impacts.
  • Social media and social workers: do we need both?
  • Payment by Results: ‘the destination on my ticket isn't where I want to go’.
  • ‘Why I won’t talk to the industry’ – compromise and complicity, or missed opportunities?
  • Always a few steps behind the curve: reducing harms from new psychoactive products.
  • Alcohol policy – getting beyond ‘tax and tags’.
  • Taking evidence seriously - restating the case for harm reduction.
  • Fakes: counterfeit drugs, alcohol and cigarettes – illegal markets, pricing, and quality control.
  • Taking nicotine seriously? Implications of new nicotine products.
  • Public Health England – the end of treatment as we know it – or a chance to reconfigure priorities?

The event will take place at Friend's House in central London.

Registration closes on Friday 23rd November 2012, 23:00 GMT. Registration is £145. Take advantage of block booking discount.

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