ECR Addictions Conference 2023

Early Career Researchers Addictions Conference

21st April 2023 Kings College London

After a week of mithering about train disruption and remortgaging to buy a ticket, off I set with my backpack, looking like a (nearly) middle aged turtle in Docs, to Kings College London. This was the venue for the Early Career Researchers Addictions Conference hosted by the Society for the Study Of Addiction.

While I certainly can’t be considered ‘early career’ in addictions having been in it since I was barely out of college, the research arena is new to me. As I felt for the SSA conference in November, it’s still daunting to be in a more academic world rather than at events with treatment services and service user focused events like DDN where I know everyone.  No pastries but posh biscuits were welcome and I do love a good lanyard.

Early Career Research Conference Lanyard

(We were told they are recyclable which is of course great for my green credentials but where’s the fun in that when I can keep them for all eternity in my bedroom drawer instead!)

The day was based around carousel presentations where people presented their research for five minutes at each table before moving on. Pretty hardcore to do the same thing eight times over but for my attention span, perfect. The presentations were varied and all really interesting.

In the afternoon’s lived experience themed session, one all round fab person I had met before was April Shaw from Stirling University.  She presented on mid-life and older women’s health care in recovery and considered the effects of the menopause. It threw up a lot of ideas and I wondered what other research there is on relapse rates for women at this stage of life.

Ben Shuh presented on a study of harm reduction services in Vancouver, Canada and Sandwell, UK. I was particularly interested in the peer involvement aspect of the Drug Consumption Rooms research and how their involvement facilitated engagement of people who inject Heroin on the streets. The pictures alone of the conditions people use in is plenty enough reasoning for me. Where is the care? If we can keep people as safe as possible while they are still using, they are then more likely to stay alive to be able to access other support to reduce, abstain or  do whatever they choose to improve their quality of life. Why is that so hard for people to understand? I prefer my humans to be alive to make healthier choices. What a weirdo.

Other presentations of note include Beth Meadows who won the award for best carousel presentation of the day for her research on substance free spaces for the LGBTQI+ community.

I start my own research project in the Autumn as part of my Masters so I’m fired up and motivated to aim to present myself next time. If you’ve read this far congratulations! You can follow me on Twitter @StaceyInspire for professional and @StaceInspire for less professional!

Thanks to the Society for the Study of Addiction for a great day.