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Brain Development in Adolescence and Substance Use in the Context of Prevention Science & Practice

Keynote speakers:

Dr. Wilson M. Compton

Dr. Diana Fishbein

Wadih Maalouf

Chair of the webinar: Matej Košir

In many countries (including in Slovenia) prevention professionals and other prevention program and intervention providers often do not take into consideration the remarkable findings of developmental neuroscience in the last decades regarding brain development during childhood and adolescence. A dramatic growth in scientific knowledge and practical experience in this field should have significant implications in prevention policy and practice nationally and internationally. However, there are still (too) many ineffective or even harmful interventions in place all over the world, which are not supported by the science (including developmental neuroscience) and should not be implemented in practice and financially supported by the authorities anymore. In many discussions among people who are involved in prevention work, many of them still believe that experimental or occasional substance use (e.g., alcohol or cannabis) has no or very little impact on physical and mental development of children and adolescents and also many believe about the effectiveness of one-off lectures and workshops (usually organized as massive events or so-called prevention days in schools and communities), scare tactics, testimonials of ex-drug users or addicts or traffic accidents victims etc. Due to those never-ending discussions and misunderstandings in prevention professional community, this thematic webinar with three of the most relevant international speakers was held to help us to advocate for investment in evidence-based prevention and overcome the doubts and concerns about the brain development in adolescence and substance use in the context of prevention science and practice. The webinar was organized by Slovenian NCD Alliance and supported by the ACF Program funds in Slovenia, 2014 - 2021. The webinar was held in June 2021.

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