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Addiction training comes to China

November 24, 2009
by David J. Powell, PhD
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An April conference will feature demonstrations from experienced clinicians

Alcohol and drug abuse and dependence are worldwide concerns. As we saw recently with President Obama’s visit to China, the relationship between the United States and China is critical to the future of both countries. Yet there is one thing we share in common with China that rarely gets discussed: our common alcohol and drug abuse issues.

In China, the largest country in the world with an estimated 1.3 billion people, epidemiological studies have shown steady increases in alcohol consumption and the prevalence of alcohol-related problems since 1980. Recent studies indicate marked changes in drinking patterns and health status in the general population in China. In every category studied (alcohol consumption rates, unrecorded alcoholic beverage consumption, types of beverages consumed, expenditures on drinking, health status related to drinking, morbidity rates from drinking-related physical diseases, and prevalence rates of alcohol-related psychiatric disorders), significant changes were noted.

Prior to the end of the 1970s and especially during the period of the Cultural Revolution, the total amount of alcohol production and consumption in China was relatively low. However, since China has experienced rapid economic and social development, urbanization and modernization, alcohol production and consumption rates have skyrocketed. The number of patients admitted to healthcare facilities for alcohol-related physical and mental diseases has increased steadily from 1980-2005. Current figures predict that the number of women drinking to excess in China will dramatically increase in the early 21st century, as in many other developed countries. Although China’s alcohol consumption rates remain below those of developed Western nations, there is growing concern for the future if China continues to see the current rate of increase.

International efforts

Over the past 10 years, the International Center for Health Concerns, Inc. (ICHC) has been working in China to help develop 12-Step programs and addiction treatment. This has involved several conferences on addictions in Beijing, Shanghai, Changsha and Kunming.

For 2010 a unique training opportunity has been developed: For the first time, a select group of 20 U.S. students are invited to the training in China. ICHC and the Center for Interpersonal Development (CID) and Ningbo University have joined together to provide a five-day conference on addictions, April 5-9, 2010, in Ningbo, China, just three hours south of Shanghai. An international faculty has been assembled: David J. Powell, PhD; William L. Mock, PhD; David Mee-Lee, MD; Mark Publicker, MD; and Yu Liu. The topics to be presented include co-occurring disorders, family therapy, group counseling skills, suicide and depression, clinical supervision, smoking cessation and addiction treatment methodologies.

There will be a variety of learning methods employed: lecture, small and large group discussion, simulations and role plays, demonstrations with patients, grand rounds and learning games. U.S. participants must be fluent in English or Mandarin to participate.

What is unique about this training?

1. The chance to learn together about addictions from our Chinese friends and colleagues.
2. A world-class faculty.
3. Live demonstrations with clients. At most conferences we talk about what to do with clients. At this training, attendees will observe master clinicians at work with patients. The demonstrations will be conducted as grand rounds or counseling sessions, with Chinese patients, conducted by the four master clinicians. Rarely is this ever done in a training program—you might talk about a method of counseling, but rarely will you see it demonstrated with patients.
4. A cultural experience. In addition to the training, participants will be able to visit other sites in Ningbo, Shanghai and Beijing.

Included in the registration is tuition and day-delegate rates for five days of training; lodging in a four-star hotel for seven nights (April 3-10); breakfast, lunch and dinner for six days; transfers to/from Shanghai airport; all training materials; and CEUs from Ningbo University.

The cost for workshop participation is $1,507 and the non-delegate rate is $1,002. (Bring your partner along so they can see the sights of China, too).

China will be the country of the 21st century. Anyone who doubts that has never been to China and looked into the eyes of youths who know in their hearts that they are the future generation of the world. When the populations of China and India are combined, they total 40 percent of the world. With China’s breathtaking growth in technology, industry, economic development, urbanization and modernization, we would be wise to invest resources in addressing the social issues of this burgeoning region.

Those who wish to be part of this challenge and opportunity (a limited number of slots are still open) should contact Linda Mock at (440) 667-7873 or for more information or to register.

David J. Powell, PhD, is President of the International Center for Health Concerns, Inc. ( His e-mail address is