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Agency plans conference on addiction prevention

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) will host a National Prevention Network Conference for health professionals later this month in Buffalo.

The conference, Sept. 13-15 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, is expected to draw hundreds of addiction specialists and researchers from across the nation to network and discuss best practices in alcohol and substance use prevention.

“Preventing addiction is a communitywide effort,” OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said in a news release. “We are excited to host this national conference, where we will all learn from each other about evidence-based prevention techniques and can share our successful prevention strategies with other states.”

The conference comes in the midst of a national opioid crisis that has claimed the lives of more than 230 people this year in Erie County alone. Attendees will learn more about prevention in an era of health reform, emerging drug issues and trends, building prevention partnerships and collaborations, prevention-focused media messaging, and prevention workforce development.

Presentations and workshops will focus on the conference theme: “Advancing a Prevention Agenda in an Era of Health Systems Reform.” Several members of the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions will be among workshop panelists.

The keynote address on Sept. 13 will feature Dr. Jeff Levi, professor of health management & policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University in St. Louis, where his work focuses on the intersection of public health, the health care systems and collaborations required to improve health. OASAS also will host a special reception at 5 p.m. the same day to honor longtime Western New York prevention supporters, Bob and Mindy Rich.

Register for the conference at

Parents, educators and community members can find resources to help prevent alcohol misuse and drug abuse – including a Parent Toolkit, prom and graduation tips, information to prevent underage drinking on college campuses, and educational materials – New Yorkers also can find help for addiction by the toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at (877) 846-7369.

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