"Changing Practice, Changing Policy" BC Substance Use Conference 2020 #BCSUC20

"Changing Practice, Changing Policy" BC Substance Use Conference 2020 #BCSUC20

...in 2019 we "Came Together" and this time we make change!

Target Audience:

health care providers, researchers, people with lived and living experience, families impacted by substance use, policymakers, health authority partners, and community advocates

Course Format: 2.5 days of plenary and small group sessions
  • Jun 4, 2020 to Jun 6, 2020
JW Marriott Parq Vancouver Hotel
39 Smithe Street
Full-Sized Map



UPDATE: The BC Substance Use Conference scheduled for this June has been postponed as part of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.
 (updated Mar 26, 9:20 AM)


We are in the midst of a longstanding crisis of drug-related harms. The scope of this crisis has only become wider and the devastation more acute in recent years, notably sparking the declaration of a public health emergency in 2016. One thing that has become obvious in the midst of this crisis is that it will take the ongoing and effective collaboration of a variety of stakeholders in order to bring about urgently needed changes across the entire continuum of care.

We welcome everyone including addiction medicine clinicians, other health care providers, researchers, people with lived and living experience, families impacted by substance use, and policymakers — from all across the province and beyond — we will strategize ways that we can finally bring about effective policies, interventions, and solutions. Also you will have ample time to connect and learn from new colleagues, as well as cement relationships with familiar friends and allies from all across our province and country.

Come to share ideas, learn from others, build new paradigms for practice, and contribute to the ongoing improvement of the public health and health care systems.

Although our collective efforts are having an important impact, the past few years have sadly taught us that so much more still needs to be done to bring about an evidence-based approach to substance use and addiction in the province. We need more clinicians trained to provide the best evidence-based treatment in primary care settings; we need more innovative public health programming to address the toxic and deadly drug supply; we need to identify more evidence-based and effective treatments; and we need to create more access points to treatment, recovery, and care. We sincerely hope that this conference will help to ignite further efforts across our province. Through renewed efforts, we can all continue to make progress toward transforming and creating an evidence-based substance use system of care. Together, we can realize a future where substance use is understood as a public health issue rather than one for the criminal justice system, and where addiction is viewed and treated in the same light as any other health and social challenge.


THE CALL FOR ABSTRACTS - is now closed  - notices will be sent in April. 


New for 2020 - Opportunities to Sponsor
The BC Centre on Substance Use envisions a better world for people who use drugs, their families and people in recovery from addiction. At the BC Substance Use Changing Policy 2020 Conference, these individuals play an integral role in the planning, collaboration and action required to make change in our province. However, for many of these individuals, the cost of attending a conference can be a heavy financial burden. You can help us ensure their lived and living experience can be a vital part of our narrative with a financial contribution to the BC Centre on Substance Use.
Every dollar donated through this conference will go toward supporting involvement of people with lived and living experience (PWLE) at the BC Substance Use Conference. Some examples of what your support will allow include
$50 – meals for the day
$150 – Meals and childcare for the day
$200 – registration and meals for the day
$500 – registration, meals, and accommodation for one night
$800 – registration, meals, and accommodation for two nights
$1100 – registration, meals, and accommodation for three nights
$1500-2000 – Full registration, meals, accommodation, and travel to conference venue for all three days
Any amount you contribute will support the items listed above. Thank you for your generous support.

Click here to donate: https://support.ubc.ca/bccsu-community-engagement


Dear Parents! We have a dedicated breast feeding room set aside for this year.  

Key Speakers

Jane Philpott. MD and former Member of Parliament. She served in numerous cabinet positions from 2015 to 2019, including Minister of Health, Minister of Indigenous Services, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government.

Leila Attar is a harm-reduction and drug-policy advocate working towards the end of the war on drugs. Leila is passionate about human rights, social justice, and intersectional issues surrounding the overdose crisis. She spends her time working with her community and as a student at Carleton University.

Leo Beletsky. Professor of Law and Health Sciences and Faculty Director, Health in Justice Action Lab, Northwestern University School of Law, Boston.

Matthew Bonn is a former IV substance user, formerly infected with HCV. Matthew is a Harm Reduction/Hepatology Advocate & Consultant. Member of the Halifax Area Network of Drug Using People (HANDUP), Lead Peer with Peers Assisting & Lending Support (PALS), Outreach Worker with Mainline Needle Exchange & relief worker with 'Out of the Cold' Emergency Shelter.

Eric Costen. Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Controlled Substances and Cannabis Branch, Health Canada.

Terry Lake.  Terry Lake teaches corporate social responsibility in two sections of Business and Society in the School of Business and Economics at TRU. Lake is a veterinarian by profession and taught for eight years in the TRU Animal Health Technology program. Terry served as a councillor and then Mayor of the City of Kamloops before being elected as Member of the Legislative Assembly in 2009. He served as Minister of the Environment from 2011-2013 and as Minister of Health from 2013-2017. He was awarded “Canada’s Health Hero” by the Canadian Public Health Association for his leadership in mounting a response to the opioid overdose epidemic. 

Shanell Twan is currently an Outreach Worker and the Core Team Supervisor at Streetworks- Edmonton’s Harm reduction program. She is also Facilitator of the local Edmonton chapter of AAWEAR (Alberta Addicts Who Educate Advocate Responsibly).

Skills Gained

  • Collaborate with key stakeholders from around the province to discuss provincial efforts to treat and care for people with substance use disorders.
  • Select the appropriate pharmacological and psychosocial treatment interventions based on the best evidence as well as individual patient needs, circumstances, and preferences.
  • Provide safe and effective treatment to patients and their families throughout the induction, maintenance, and/or discontinuation process across the continuum of care for substance use disorders.
  • Appreciate the complexity of substance use disorders, diversity of care, and providing access to evidence-based support services.
  • Promote recovery, safety, wellness, and harm reduction to improve patient care and support for those with substance use disorders.
  • Describe new evidence-based research findings and innovative implementation models from around the province.


Rates (early bird only until April 20)

(5% GST applies to all fees)

Physician, NPs $500.00  ($600 Late)
Allied Health (nurses, social workers, pharmacists), Health Authority Employee, Government, Community Advocate $200.00  ($225 late)
Residents/Students (proof of status required on-site) $100.00 ($110 late)
Peer/Person with lived and living experience (code required)
BCCSU staff member (code required)


JW Marriott Parq Vancouver
39 Smithe Street
Vancouver  British Columbia  V6B 0R3

If you require accommodation and would like to stay at the JW Marriott Vancouver Parq hotel then we encourage you to book your hotel accommodation using the special link below. Our group rate starts at $299 CDN per night (current hotel rates are over $400 a night). Book using this special link online https://book.passkey.com/go/BCCSU2020 to receive the correct rate. Please note that this rate does not include applicable taxes or parking.  In order to take advantage of the special conference rate, reservations must be made by May 5, 2020. Please note that rooms sell out quickly, and you may not get the conference rate if you book late.  

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