AI and addiction treatment in focus at well-attended U-FOLD seminar

2023-12-05

With seminar Drug policies of the future, U-FOLD turned the spotlight on how new technology contributes to better addiction treatment. "Today's forum provided many interesting perspectives" states Mathias Hallberg and Fred Nyberg, U-FOLD, who now begin work on the Grand Seminar 2024 in Uppsala University Main Auditorium.

Shoresh Palanijafi, Min Framtid, and Maria Winkvist, Kontigo Care, lectured in Gunnesalen
Shoresh Palanijafi, Min Framtid, and Maria Winkvist, Kontigo Care, lectured in Gunnesalen

This Tuesday, U-FOLD arranged seminar Framtidens Beroendepolitik in the Uppsala University Hospital's Gunnesalen. The forum highlighted the recently presented Drug Commission of Inquiry We can do better (Vi kan bättre) and ways to turn it into effective preventive work, good care and a Sweden where no one dies as a result of drug and drug poisoning.

“We are facing a challenge without quick solutions, something that is not least confirmed by FHM's current calculation that up to 83,000 Swedes suffered from problematic use of narcotics in the years 2007–2020, which is significantly higher than previous surveys for the same years have shown. The Drug Commission of Inquiry proposes a consideration of changing the goal "a society free from drugs" to "a society with reduced harm from drugs", but above all presents 64 proposals to the government and 71 suggestions to other organisations for the work that lies ahead,” began Håkan Leifman who contributed in the work with the Drug Commission of Inquiry.

The seminar provided great scope to the possibilities enabled by new technology. Maria Winkvist, Director Innovation and Products at Kontigo Care, presented the work on a mobile app that signals if a person in treatment for alcohol addiction is approaching the risk zone of relapse.

“We are also developing an app for self-administered drug tests that, via AI scanning of the user's eyes, indicates drug influence and also the type of narcotics. We have just completed a successful study of the app in the Netherlands, and have also carried out a study in Region Uppsala which shows that people with active and long-term substance addiction can manage the tool themselves.”

Shoresh Palanijafi, CEO at Min Framtid, talked about digital tools to provide support to people trying to leave a criminal life and outpatient care for young people at risk. After ten years of working within treatment and care, Shoresh has turned his experiences into a mobile app that gives clients and therapists an effective platform to communicate about mood, motivation, challenges and advances.

“The app helps the client express feelings and reflections, which in turn helps the therapist get to know the person and give the right advice and support. We work with a belief that people are complex and that we must take one step at a time, which in turn has given better focus throughout treatment and, above all, measurably better end results,” noted Shoresh Palanijafi.

On 7 February, U-FOLD returns to the main auditorium
On 7 February, U-FOLD returns to the main auditorium

The auditorium also learned about current statistics showing that Swedish drug use has remained relatively low in international comparison. Likewise, that the percentage of junior and senior high school students who have tried narcotics in the last 30 days have not increased significantly despite a greatly increased access to drugs. In a closing panel talk with invited politicians, strong efforts were advocated to prevent the recruitment of young people to organized crime and – emphasized by Police Lennart – a continued investment in technological development.

“Today's seminar offered many interesting perspectives and was without a doubt a success. Now we continue with the preparations for our Grand Seminar 2024, which we will arrange 7 February in the Uppsala University main auditorium, where we will, among other things, focus on how TikTok and other screen activities affect us,” states Mathias Hallberg and Fred Nyberg of U-FOLD.

FACTS U-FOLD

  • Is Uppsala University's Forum for research on drug dependence and addiction.
  • Was inaugurated in Uppsala in 2011 as a regional gathering of forces against the challenges of addiction.
  • Gathers approximately twenty organizations working together for a better society.

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CONTACT

Mathias Hallberg Mathias Hallberg, chair, U-FOLD
Professor, Uppsala University
Mathias.Hallberg@farmbio.uu.se

Fred NybergFred Nyberg, Senior advisor, U-FOLD
Professor em, Uppsala University
Fred.Nyberg@farmbio.uu.se

Text: Magnus Alsne, photo: Mathias Hallberg, Stewen Quigley, Mikael Wallerstedt, 

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Last modified: 2022-11-08