Opening Ceremony of the 6th Freemind International Congress

Mesa de Abertura 6º Congresso Internacional Freemind 2019
Francisco Rojas Fotografia

The 6th Freemind International Congress, organized by the Freemind Mobilization and ISSUP Brazil, was held in the city of Águas de Lindóia / SP, Brazil from December 4th to 7th, 2019.

The event was held at Hotel Majestic, which has one of the most complete and versatile event centers in the state of São Paulo, less than 160 kilometers from the capital. There are several lounges with different characteristics and capacities and support rooms distributed in four integrated segments, offering spaces that can comfortably accommodate up to 2,000 people.

The Majestic Hotel Convention Center was small for the more than 2,000 people present at the opening ceremony, attended by representatives of major international and national entities, as well as representatives of the Brazilian Government at its municipal, state and federal levels.

The gates were opened at 3 pm for accreditation and delivery of materials to congressmen. In an exhibition area of ​​1,350 m² there were more than 40 exhibitors from the most varied segments, who had their booths visited until they opened the entrance to the Freemind Auditorium, where the Opening Ceremony and the Magna Lecture with Dr. Augusto Cury would be held.

The event began with a tribute to dear Father Haroldo Rahm, one of the great inspirers of the Freemind Mobilization and who would have been one of the speakers of this new edition of the event, but who passed away the week prior to the Congress. Father Haroldo was the founder of the Father Haroldo Institute (IPH), an institution founded in 1978 that welcomes people in vulnerability and risk, providing care, education and specialized care for a healthy community life. He was also the founder of Christian Leadership Training (TLC) and Love-Demand (an NGO that provides support and guidance to family members of people with substance use disorders), and co-founded the Latin American Federation of Therapeutic Communities (FLACT), the World Federation of Therapeutic Communities (WFTC), the Brazilian Federation of Therapeutic Communities (FEBRACT) and the Pastoral of Sobriety (a concrete action of the Church that evangelizes the pursuit of sobriety as a way of life), among many other activities.

So many seeds have been scattered and bearing good fruit that on the opening table all speakers bore the name of the beloved Father so that everyone would remember that the Father would live eternally in the attitudes of each one present at this great event and in their daily work.

The speakers at the opening ceremony included:

- Eric Siervo - Vice President, International Programs, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)

- Matej Košir - Director of the Utrip Research and Development Institute - Slovenia and Vice President / President-Elect of the International Confederation of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Associations (ATOD) (ICARA)

- José Luiz Vasquez Martinez - Medical specialist in addiction treatment. Representative of CICAD / OAS Drug Demand Reduction Unit

- Willian Crano - Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director, Claremont Graduate University Institute of Health and Prevention Psychology

- Carolina Marty - Psychiatrist and President of the National Chapter of Chile - ISSUP

- Livia Edegger - Deputy Director of ISSUP - International Society of Substance Use Professionals

- Adalberto Calmon - President of the National Confederation of Therapeutic Communities - CONFENACT and Project Director of Fazenda da Esperança in Brazil

- Dr. Claudia Leite - Director of the National Department of Prevention, Care and Social Reintegration

- Father Hans Stapel - Founder of the Farm of Hope and Consultant of the Pontifical Council for the Laity

- José Eduardo Martelli - Creator of Freemind Mobilization

- Quirino Cordeiro Junior - National Secretary for Drug Care and Prevention at the Ministry of Citizenship

In addition to these people and no less important than them, were also present Pastor Nelson Massambani (Celebrating Restoration, Fortaleza), Rolf Hartmann (Blue Cross in Brazil), Nelson Giovanelli Rosendo dos Santos (Farm of Hope), Lúcia Sdoia (Padre Institute) Haroldo and FEBRACT), Father Renato Chiera (House of the Minor of Nova Iguaçú - RJ), Dr. Larissa Sandoval (BRAPEP), Dr. João Paulo Becker Lotufo (Dr. Bartô), Denise Ferreira (Sobriety Pastoral and FNCTC), Dr. Mário Sérgio Sobrinho (MPSP and Alcoholics Anonymous), Dr. Miguel Tortorelli (Federation of Love-Demanding), Lauro Franco (Tourism Secretary of Águas de Lindóia), Célio Barbosa (FENNOCT), Débora Malheiros (representing the Secretary of Justice of State of São Paulo), Dr. Elias Francisco Baracat Chaid (representing the Attorney General of the state of São Paulo) and André Alves Dias (Tikin) (Ruar´t).

Speaking at this ceremony, our guests reminded everyone that the Freemind Congress has already become a reference and is one of the largest drug addiction events in the world. It is an extremely important event, as it brings together competent and experienced people who in 3 activity-filled days work on daily issues related to care, prevention and treatment of substance use, empowering each person present and enabling them to continue their work within the same goal and perform them more effectively.

Eric Siervo reminded us that while problems related to substance use are a worldwide problem, local solutions are needed to solve the problem.

Matej Košir, who, along with his wife Sanela Talić, would teach a course on how to develop School Prevention Programs during the Congress advocated for prevention and said that “Prevention is life”. He also mentioned that he and his wife would share their experiences with everyone in the school prevention program course.

For José Luiz Vasquez Martinez, the strategy that countries have signed here in the Americas shows to everyone the importance of prevention, treatment and recovery and that this is crucial to achieving our goals.

William Crano stressed that everyone needs to be engaged in a big fight especially against the people who profit a lot from everything we see today about drugs and also against legislators who are against our actions.

Carolina Marty came from Chile, which is currently experiencing numerous and serious protests over the promises of the Chilean political class to improve citizens' quality of life, with educational, constitutional, tax and health reforms that, in many cases, have not been met. These protests led to deaths, violence, airport closures and highways. In Carolina's opinion, substance use is also a cause and consequence of the difficulties faced by her countrymen.

Livia Edegger spoke about ISSUP and its objective to bring together the drug demand reduction workforce and provide them with access to networking, training and accreditation in the area of ​​substance use prevention, treatment and recovery support and ended with words of encouragement to all to continue to make a difference in their communities.

The event featured a 2,000-person Auditorium to address prevention issues, a 700-person Auditorium on Care and Treatment, and various parallel courses, meetings, and events such as: Anonymous Alcoholic Brotherhood (AA) Meeting, Narcotic Anonymous Brotherhood Meeting (NA) ), Family March Leaders Meeting, Community Coalition Leaders Meeting (CADCA), Love-Demand Groups Meeting, Therapeutic Justice Course, Collegiate Meeting of State Drug Policy Chairmen, National Chapters Meeting Latin America, International Course on How to Develop School Prevention Programs, Prevention Course in Corporate Environments, ICUDDR (International University Consortium) Meeting, Good Practice Course for Interventions with Family Members of Psychoactive Substance Users, and a range of playful activities for the children and adolescents from public and private schools of the Municipality of Águas de Lindóia.