It's that time of year again! Here at HIT we are busy planning the next HIT Hot Topics conference for you. It's going to have to go a long way to be better than the last couple of years but we have big plans. First though grab a pen,open up your diary and block out your day on November 25th 2016... You'll want to make sure your day is free.

OK, now you’ve got that date in your diary it’s time for us to announce our first speakers:

Deborah Peterson-Small 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. The mission of Break the Chains is to build the movement in communities of colour in support of drug policy reform, with the goal of replacing failed drug polices with alternatives based in science, compassion, public health and human rights. 

Watch a video of Deborah speaking at last year’s International Drug Policy Reform Conference.

Aaron Goodman is the founder of StoryTurns (www.storyturns.org), 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.

Keep up-to-date with drug policy developments by subscribing to the IDPC Monthly Alert