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March 9, 2009
For immediate release

Prince Edward Island Hosts Atlantic Youth Addictions Conference

Office of the Attorney General

Over 130 Atlantic professionals who work in the field of youth addiction have gathered today in Charlottetown for a two-day conference. The Best Practice Youth Justice Addictions Atlantic Conference 2009, funded by the National Anti-Drug Strategy, through the anti-drug component of Justice Canada’s Youth Justice Fund, will bring together front-line workers, administrators, and policy and program staff from all four Atlantic provinces to establish networks and discuss best practices in youth addictions.

“We thank Justice Canada for providing funding for this conference,” said Attorney General Gerard Greenan. “Substance abuse issues are often present among youth who are in conflict with the law, and it is essential we address the underlying problems if we hope to reduce youth crime. Although the focus of the conference is justice, it is impossible to look at an issue as complex as youth addiction in isolation. Education and Early Childhood Development, Social Services and Seniors, the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI, the Provincial Youth Addictions Strategy, and Addictions and Community Mental Health all provided support in organizing this meeting. Together we are developing a framework for sharing knowledge and resources, so we can build innovative and effective programs that address the issues of substance abuse among our young people.”

“The Government of Canada is proud to support the Best Practice Youth Justice Addictions Atlantic Conference,” said the Honourable Rob Nicholson, PC, Q.C., MP for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. “Our Government is committed to the goal of making our communities safer and healthier and to protecting our youth from a life of drugs and crime. We are compassionate to those struggling with an addiction, but tough on the producers and distributors of illicit drugs."

Among those scheduled to speak are Lew Golding, Manager of the Substance Abuse Program for African Canadian and Caribbean Youth – Child, Youth and Family Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, and Elsbeth Tupker, formerly with the Centre Addiction and Mental Health and the author of several resources for working with youth. They will present workshops on “Strategies to Build Relationships and Partnerships” and “Youth and Drugs and Mental Health.”

As announced by Prime Minister Harper on October 4, 2007, the National Anti-Drug Strategy is a collaborative effort involving Health Canada, Public Safety Canada and the Department of Justice and includes three action plans: preventing illicit drug use, treating those with illicit drug dependencies, and combating the production and distribution of illicit drugs.

For more information about the Government of Canada’s National Anti-Drug Strategy, please visit the National Anti-Drug Strategy website

Media Contact: Joanne MacKinnon
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