Substance abuse costs – in human suffering and in community millions. Now we have a model for how collaboration on addiction issues can be organized nationally – the interdisciplinary Center for Education and Research on Addiction, CERA.
Eight inauguration speakers presented aspects past and future of collaboration on the problems of addiction in the region and in Sweden. Included were County Governor Lars Bäckström, Dean Olle Larkö, Professor Bo Söderpalm and CERA head Claudia Fahlke.
The founding of CERA has formalized a ten-year cooperation among actors that have functioned as an active network, a meeting place for research and practice. The actors are the university, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, the Västra Götaland county administrative board and the R&D units in Västra Götaland and the Gothenburg region’s local government associations.
“CERA offers a model for how we at national level wish to see cooperation all over the country. Not just in how research and practice meet but also that education is included”, said Maria Renström, Ministry of Health and Social Affairs.
She is responsible for, among other things, the government’s ANDT secretariat (alcohol, narcotic, doping and tobacco).
Internationally, substance addiction is a vigorous research area in psychiatry. One exciting field is epigenetics, research into how genes are affected by environmental factors.
CERA head Professor Claudia Fahlke, Department of Psychology, referred to the 2011 state Substance Abuse Report proposing the setting-up of knowledge centers to increase the dissemination of research and experience regarding substance abuse issues.
“CERA is entirely in line with this”, said Claudia Fahlke in her address.
The agenda includes not least research into preventive measures and support for introducing new evidence-based treatment methods.
Alcoholism, a disease Bo Söderpalm showed how attitudes towards the abuser have changed over time.
“In times gone by drug dependence was considered the work of the Devil. Today we view it as a psychiatric disease. Alcoholism is half genetically conditioned, half dependent on individual and social environmental factors”, said Bo Söderpalm.
More about CERA
CERA, the Center for Education and Research on Addiction, is the central University of Gothenburg unit for research and education regarding risk use, abuse and dependence. CERA is tasked to strengthen and develop R&D in the area. Direct link: www.cera.gu.se