ISAM Test Newsletter
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December 2017 NEWSLETTER

Dear Colleagues and Friends: ISAM 2017 Abu Dhabi was held with great success with  841 attendees from  54 countries  and we received positive feedback on all aspects,
including for the generosity of our UAE hosts.
As usual at the end of the year we are happy to present again our meritorious winners of the ISAM 2017 FELLOWSHIPS:
 WHO-ISAM-NSARC fellowships

 Smoking Cessation Program in Indonesia from Hospital Service to Primary Health Care Service. Tribowo Tuahta Ginting - Indonesia.

Prevalence of Moderate and High Risk Substance use and Service Needs Among Psychiatric Inpatients at Zomba Mental Hospital. Chitsanzo Mafuta-Malawi.

Psychosocially Assisted Opioid Substitution Therapy in Nepal: 10 Years of Country Experience. Sagun Ballav Pant-Nepal.

Substance Abuse Among Egyptian University Students. Medhat Bassiony-Egypt.

Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in the United Arab Emirates Population. Hiba Alblooshi - UAE.

NIDA-ISAM Fellowships 

Cue-induced craving among young adolescent Inhalant users: A FMRY Study. Shobhit Jain- India.

The virtual doctor will see you now: evaluation of a pilot elective in telemedicine for addiction trainees and role of tele-medical education in addiction fellowship. Kathleen Broad -USA.

Cognitive Rehabilitation for Opioid Use Disorder. Tara Rezapour-Iran.

White Matter Abnormalities in Opioid Dependence: A Controlled Study. Abhishek Ghosh-India.

Was won by The early Career Professionals working in Addiction Medicine Initiative (see below)


Early Career Professionals working in Addiction Medicine have launched a global network

In June 2017, early career professionals from fifteen different countries met at the first World Health Organisation Forum on Alcohol, Drugs, and Addictive Behaviours. Although from different parts of the globe we all shared similar experiences while trying to pursue a career in Addiction Psychiatry/Medicine. In Geneva, under the leadership of Dr Dzmitry Krupchanka the WHO Forum saw the launch of an international Network of Early Career Professionals working in the area of Addiction Medicine (NECPAM). This network aims to strengthen leadership, build capacity and empower early career professionals worldwide. We recognise the global burden of substance use and addictive behaviours. We also understand the unique challenges of working in this field. Through support for early career professionals and intersectoral collaboration it is our goal to impact future systems of prevention and treatment for disorders related to substance use and addictive behaviours.

The network was initiated with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO). As such NECPAM contributes to the WHO initiative on workforce development in Addiction Medicine. Collaboration with WHO is a priority for the network. We are however open for partnerships with any other parties that share our values and vision. We are grateful to have the support and guidance of the WHO, and particularly to Dr Vladimir Poznyak and Dr Shekhar Saxena. Our young, driven and vibrant board would like to invite professionals from various disciplines working in the area of Addiction Medicine to join this network. This includes but is not limited to nurses, doctors, psychologists, social workers, public health advocates and researchers. For more information on membership please email us on On behalf of the NECPAM board, Dr Nirvana Morgan Current board members: Chair- Dr Dzmitry Krupchanka (Belarus) Co-Chair- Dr Nirvana Morgan (South Africa) Secretary General- Dr Hussien Elkholy (Egypt) Regional Representatives: Western Pacific Region- Dr Tomohiro Shirasaka (Japan) Eastern Mediterranean Region- Dr Mohammed Aljneibi (UAE) Europe- Dr Paolo Grandinetti (Italy) South East Asia Region- Dr Sidharth Arya (India)

First published in World Psychiatry Association Newsletter - Third Quarter 2017 (

Moving on to 2018, we have some important information regarding upcoming meetings , workshops or conferences to share with you:

The 49th ASAM Conference will be held on 12-15 April in San Diego CA.

The 13th European Opiate Addiction Treatment Association (EUROPAD) conference will be held in Krakow, Poland on May 25-27, 2018.

The 80th CPDD meeting will be held in June 9-14, 2018: Hilton San Diego Bayfront, San Diego, CA together with The NIDA Forum.

The Canadian CSAM will be held from Oct 26-27th, 2018, in Vancouver, BC.

The Australasian APSAD will be held from Nov 4-7th, 2018, in in Auckland, Australia.

The 42nd Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA) Annual National Conference will be held from November 8-10th, 2018 in San Francisco, CA.

Summer school in Netherlands: Addictive Behaviours: From the Bar to the Brain 
Course Date: 6-10 August 2018; Course Fee: € 685 Discounts: 10-25 %
Early Bird Deadline: 1 April 2018; Application Deadline: 1 June 2018
Read more here:

See you in BUSAN, Korea!
The 20th ISAM Conference will be held from November 3-6th, 2018.
The link for ISAM 2018 is

Abu Dhabi judicial authorities to consider American-style drug courts

Officials look to the best treatment and handling of cases for people with substance use disorders

Haneen Dajani in The National

October 3, 2017

Updated: October 3, 2017 06:38 PM

Abu Dhabi is to consider introducing special courts that would deal solely with drug cases, as part of efforts to improve treatment and better manage addiction.

There are about 2,300 such courts in the United States that are focused on drug cases, including towards treatment and monitoring people who have substance use disorders in the justice system.

Dr Hamad Al Ghaferi, director general of the National Rehabilitation Centre, said that could be an opportunity to provide the best model, in terms of care and justice.

“The idea is that specialised experts will be involved in the trials. The judge would have a full understanding of the treatment process and he would follow up with its progress, and prosecutors as well," he said.

“We saw this in LA. The judge asks the patient (defendant) about his treatment, and he issues an order that would guarantee they won’t relapse during the trial period."

So the goal, he said, is that the legal process and treatment go side by side.

He said someone who sought and was successfully treated would meet with the judge, and that "good conduct" would be recognised.

The concept of drug courts will be discussed at a meeting of the International Society of Addiction Medicine, hosted by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, from October 26 to 29.

A special session will be held on addiction in the legal process.

"The judicial system is already very developed in Abu Dhabi, but we want to also look at ways to reduce costs, relapses and returns to addiction,” said Dr Al Ghaferi.


The first drug court began operating in the Unites States in 1989, in Miami-Dade Country, Florida, as a response to the cocaine problem that was growing at the time.

Currently, all 50 states have functioning drug courts that treat around 120,000 people a year. They are run by individual states and counties, rather than by the federal government.

The model they follow combines judicial supervision, drug testing, sanctions and treatment to help offenders quit their addiction.

The UAE recently introduced measures that focus on rehabilitation of drug users and alternative punishment, as opposed to the previous stringent four year minimum sentence for all consumers.

In October last year, President Sheikh Khalifa updated the 1995 law to downgrade the use of illegal drugs to a misdemeanour with a two-year minimum sentence. It also gave judges options other than jail for first-time offenders.

With the permission of the Attorney General, an offender can be sent for treatment without the case going to court, after advice from police and prosecutions.

First-time offenders can be sent to rehab, fined a maximum of Dh10,000, or given community service.

This drove the NRC to start accepting expats for treatment since last January.

While UAE national can receive treatment and rehab at the centre free of charge, expats have to pay Dh120,000 for a four week in clinic treatment, if the person with substance use disorder enters the centre voluntarily.

If the with substance use disorder was referred to the centre by a judicial order, they have to pay Dh 230,000 for six weeks in-clinic treatment, and 16 weeks that follow as outpatients.

Dr Al Ghaferi raised the prospect of health insurance covering addiction treatment in the future, which virtually no insurers do at present.

“We are working on amending the health insurance law so that it includes treatment of drug addiction,” he revealed.

“But even in the US, insurers only cover the first month of treatment only, which costs around Dh100,000. Just the detox phase, the rest is not covered," the doctor said.

The NRC began accepting women with substance use disorders in 2012, and is currently treating about 60. It was also announced in July that a new drug rehabilitation centre will be built for women in Dubai.

The youngest patient seen in the UAE was 11 years old, he said. The rehab centre holds holding regular programmes with schools to advise and educate teenagers about the of drugs.

Newsletter editors:
Jens Reimer (Germany); Adrian Abagiu (Romania); Jan Klimas (Canada); Jenna Butner (USA); Susanna Galea (Australia)
Copyright © 2015 International Society of Addiction Medicine, All rights reserved.
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