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New executive education program launched in Europe focused on effective drug policy

April 25, 2011

Michele Barrett
(315) 443-6172

The College of Human Ecology’s addiction studies program and SU Europe have partnered with the Council of Europe’s Pompidou Group to create a new trans-Atlantic executive education program focused on implementing effective drug policy and governance.

The five-day summit will take place Sept. 18-24 in Budapest, Hungary, with an agenda of interest to public health and drug policy professionals, researchers, addictions treatment providers and practitioners, as well as graduate students interested in health policy and cutting-edge addiction prevention and treatment. The program seeks to link policy, research and science with a trans-Atlantic dimension focusing on the promising and problematic issues of developing more coherent drug policies.

By sharing insights on emerging trends and research about drug use, drug policies and treatment programs occurring in the United States and Europe, participants will share and learn about new and emerging research and innovative policies geared toward preventing, treating and reducing the use of addictive substances.

As the global scope of drug trafficking grows at an alarming rate, collaboration among U.S. and European drug policy experts is essential to develop consistency in relative policies. Discussions and training modules for the executive education summit will be led by U.S. and European experts and will include research presentations and best practices, complemented by site visits to harm-reduction and treatment programs. Topics will include prevention, harm reduction, effective treatment, neuroscience of addiction, current trends in drug use and trafficking by global regions.

The program’s purposeful location in Europe provides current and future professionals from the United States with opportunities to observe European drug services that are not permissible in the United States. Participants will have safe and structured opportunities to meet people struggling with addiction in a decriminalized context, offering professionals the opportunity to see treatment perspectives focused on public health vs. the criminal aspect of addiction.

According to Dessa Bergen-Cico, assistant professor of public health who is leading the program, the United States and Europe each have unique expertise and contributions to the interdisciplinary field of drug prevention, intervention and interdiction, with policies shaped by each country and region’s own political and social systems. However the stigma, judgment and politics of drug issues have long overshadowed the science of recovery, prevention and harm reduction.

“The translation of evidence-based scientific knowledge into solid and effective policies and treatment programs at the state, regional and local level is only as successful as the knowledge and skill of the mid-level professionals who ultimately implement and administer these policies and programs,” says Bergen-Cico, who notes there is a gap between the science of evidence-based prevention and treatment and what is put into practice. “To improve the quality of drug abuse prevention and treatment systems, we must develop a well-trained addictions workforce.”

The cost per U.S. attendee is $1,490, which includes: conference participation, program materials and accommodations for six nights in Budapest, including meals during the summit. Participants are responsible for their own travel arrangements.

Participants are eligible for 40 contact hours of continuing education (CEU’s) under the addictions and prevention specialist categories to be awarded by Syracuse University. CECHs will be offered for Certified Health Education Specialists. For an additional fee, participants may also choose to register for three graduate course credits through SU. For more information, contact Bergen-Cico at, or 315-443-0250, or visit

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