Work Drug Free conference raises “uncomfortable” topic

Sea storm by Andrea Lebate on Flickr

Sea storm by Andrea Lebate on Flickr

What is addiction? About 400,000 people in BC – as well as their loved ones, friends, and coworkers – have an idea. That’s the estimated number of people who struggle with what Dr. Ray Baker – and many others – describe as “the disease of addiction.”

Dr. Baker is one of the speakers at the Ninth Annual Work Drug Free Conference in Prince George, BC, April 11 and 12, 2013. He’ll talk about how people become dependent on substances or misuse them – “be they legal or illicit, over the counter and prescription medications, or behaviours such as gambling and gaming.”

One aim of the conference is to get people talking about something that remains taboo in our culture. “Often people avoid dealing with drugs and alcohol because they are uncomfortable or don’t know how to handle the situation,” reads the website. “Taking responsibility for safety – for ourselves, our co-workers, our employees, and for the public requires leadership and honest open assessment of where we are today. This is a very human issue and the adage ‘Start where you stand’ applies to us all.”

The theme of this year’s conference is Wrestling with the Elephant in the Room. It offers people a chance to “strengthen their skill-sets to effectively deal with this complex issue.” The aim is to build workplaces that are “safe, productive, healthy and free from impairment by substance use.”

Video: A Deadly Silence

This video, sponsored by MacMillan Bloedel Limited, IWA Canada, and WorkSafeBC, profiles four workers whose personal and work lives have been affected by substance abuse.


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