5th Congress of the Assistance Network for Addictions in Córdoba and Collaborative Meetings between ISSUP and ISAM in the Latin American Region

On August 31st and September 1st, the 5th Congress of the Assistance Network for Addictions in Córdoba, Argentina (RAAC), took place. This event is the most important of its kind in the country for addiction and mental health related to substance use disorders.

The event brought together more than 4,000 people. The activity, organised by the Secretary of Prevention and Assistance for Addictions of the Ministry of Health, featured the participation of more than 110 national and international speakers who addressed a wide range of topics including prevention, research on the impact of addiction phenomena, types of psychotherapies, therapeutic approaches, recovery, relapse prevention, public policies, continuous education, mental health, neuroscience, addiction medicine, motivational interviewing, comorbidity, and many other subjects. Various workshops and spaces for sharing knowledge and best practices based on scientific evidence were also held.

Barbara Correa, Regional Coordinator of ISSUP National Chapters in Latin America and Spain, participated in the event as part of a roundtable discussion involving representatives from ISSUP and ISAM. They discussed the importance of being part of international specialist institutions. The roundtable was chaired by Alex Baldaccino, President of ISAM, and Darío Gigena Parker, ISAM Regional Ambassador for Latin America. It also included the participation of Roberto Canay (ISSUP Argentina) and Lorena Contreras (ISSUP Chile). On behalf of ISAM, Pablo Fielitz (Uruguay) and Teobaldo Llosa (Peru) also participated, along with Romina Capellino (Argentina).

Additionally, an inter-institutional meeting involving ISSUP, ISAM, ICUDDR, and CICAD was held to strengthen the regional workforce. Jimena Kalawski, Head of the Demand Reduction Unit of the OAS/CICAD, Alfonso Abarca from the same unit, who actively coordinates ICUDDR's efforts in the region, and members of ISSUP and ISAM participated in the meeting. This meeting represents a collaborative effort among representatives of leading international organisations in the field of demand reduction of drugs. Its objective was to address the strengthening of the regional workforce dedicated to prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and support for addiction recovery. The meeting marked the beginning of a new phase of joint efforts to address substance abuse, reaffirming the shared commitment of ISSUP, ISAM, ICUDDR, and CICAD/OAS to the health and well-being of communities in the Latin American region.

It is worth noting that this is a scientific event that is free and open to the public. It featured seven presentation modalities and eight simultaneous rooms. This fifth edition included the novelty of the Prevention Expo, which included interactive and engaging talks for the general public. Over the course of two days, there were conferences, roundtable discussions, workshops, poster presentations, and free papers.

Legislators from across the country, as well as authorities from NGOs of the Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations in Argentina for the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Abuse (FONGA), also participated.

The Secretary of Prevention and Assistance for Addictions considers it of utmost importance to promote training and awareness in this field through these events, not only involving professionals in the fields of health, education, and law enforcement but also the general public.