Shifting the Addiction Paradigm: The Reclamation of Third Places in Community-Centered Treatment

Friday, July 26, 2024 | 9 AM - 4:15 PM (PST) 

The 2024 Shifting the Addiction Paradigm conference promises to be an exciting and transformative experience, building upon the legacy of past conferences that have consistently challenged and reshaped the traditional approaches to addiction treatment. Since its inception, the series has been at the forefront of introducing groundbreaking ideas about more humane care. Many of the ideas initially seen as heresy by the larger addiction community have now become more commonplace in the care for individuals struggling with problematic habits. 

From the early focus on attachment and addiction, through the introduction of harm reduction modes of care, to the discussion regarding the psychedelic renaissance, each year's conference has played a pivotal role in shaping the discussion around the future of addiction care. What started as a novel psychotherapeutic lens of attachment and trauma has now evolved into an expansive exploration of harm reduction and non-coercive care. We’ve seen a shift from the dominant disease model to a more nuanced, humanistic approach that emphasizes individual autonomy and the role of community and environment in recovery.

In his book, "The Great Good Place" (Paragon House, 1989), sociologist Ray Oldenburg, Ph.D., defines a "third place" as an open, accessible, comfortable, playful, and safe public space where people from all backgrounds can come together and connect, essentially a "home away from home" where social hierarchy ceases to exist.

As people shuttle between work and home (or work remotely from home), third places play a vital role in establishing social connections and helping to evade isolation and alienation. Indeed, for those who struggle with addictive processes and might not have a stable and/or healthy home or workplace, having a third place is crucial for recovery. Mental health struggles and healing from addiction are always more difficult when in isolation. Therefore, accessible third places that foster healing connections and focus on a community-based harm-reduction approach are needed now more than ever.

But where have all the third places gone?

The disappearance of third places can be attributed in part to the privatization of public spaces. Another factor has been the global health pandemic, which has exposed the inadequacy of virtual spaces as genuine third places. Finally, there's the issue of funding—or the lack thereof. Potential third places such as safe consumption sites and walk-in centers, places that provide healing and community and are truly open and accessible to our most vulnerable, must fight for their existence every day.

This conference will explore how the future of addiction treatment lies in the reclamation of community-centered third places that truly welcome all. Join us as we continue to challenge the status quo and explore the future of addiction treatment through the reclamation of welcoming and healing community spaces. Be part of the movement that champions innovative, liberating approaches, and help shape a brighter future for addiction care.


Featured Speakers

Zoi Andalcio, LMHC
Zoi Andalcio, LMHC
Director of Addiction Services
Daliah Heller, PhD, MPH
Daliah Heller, PhD, MPH
Director of Drug Use Initiatives at Vital Strategies
Christopher B.R. Smith, PhD
Christopher B.R. Smith, PhD
Professor, Sociologist, and Researcher
Amanda Cowan, MS
Amanda Cowan, MS
Executive Director, Community Health Project Los Angeles

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