U-FOLD highlights the challenges of addiction at Almedalen Week 2022
13 May 2022
The gambling market, Organised crime and Artificial Intelligence are some of the topics that will be in focus for U-FOLD's seminars at Almedalen Week 2022. "We are travelling to Visby with our strongest program to date," states Mathias Hallberg, Dean at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Chair of U-FOLD.
U-FOLD has presented its program at Almedalen Week 2022. With a total of four seminars, the forum will put the spotlight on a number of current challenges in the fields of addiction, as usual topped with presentations and contributions from highly distinguished panels. This summer's involvement in Visby will be the eighth consecutive Almedalen week for the Uppsala University Forum for Research on Drug and Pharmaceutical Addiction.
“After 18 months online, U-FOLD returned in November with a seminar in the Uppsala University Main auditorium. The response was tremendous and all seats were booked well in advance, confirming that our meetings fulfill a regionally very important function. At the same time, the discussions in the auditorium clarified a need for continued dialogue on the topics highlighted. Which is why we are now raising these issues to national level, and in this context, Almedalen Week is a natural arena for us to operate,” says Mathias Hallberg, Professor and chair of U-FOLD.
On Monday 4 July, U-FOLD will focus on the connections between the gambling market, gambling syndrome and organised crime. More than three years have passed since the Swedish gaming market was re-regulated in order to increase control and consumer protection. In a recent report, however, the Financial Police names online gambling and state casinos as arenas for potential money laundering linked to organised crime. In parallel, gambling addiction is developing into a rapidly growing public disease, during the pandemic alone, the number of women seeking help for their gambling increased by 300 percent.
“Several studies show how gambling addiction increases the risk of developing mental illness, which in turn can lead to substance-related problems. It is clear that the paths to addiction are becoming increasingly complex. Thus, we must shed light on the situation from a broad perspective. At this year's Almedalen Week, we gather leading experts and policy-makers from differing parts of the addiction area in order to make distinct and lasting impressions, bearing in mind that these are challenges that society will have to cope with for a long time to come. But of course, we will also highlight themes that we believe will make headlines in the foreseeable future,” says Fred Nyberg, Senior Professor and Advisor in U-FOLD.
On Sunday 3 July, the forum will address one of the hottest scientific fields of today: Artificial Intelligence. Today, self-learning machines are so integrated into our everyday lives that we barely notice when the robot vacuum cleaner sneaks by. Unfortunately, the algorithms also contribute to opening up new marketplaces for drug trafficking, and dealers of illegal drugs are constantly present on the digital platforms where young adults interact. On the other hand, self-learning machines can also strengthen society's capacity to quickly identify and classify newly designed drugs.
“U-FOLD's open and wide network gives us the opportunity to detect issues well before they appear on society's radar. Also, the fact that our regional model has proven effective at both Swedish and international level, contributes to the growing number of organisations that actively seek us out for potential collaboration. This summer we will travel to Visby with our, in my opinion, strongest Almedal program to date, and I am convinced that we will arouse new inspiration to take our joint work to the next level,” states Mathias Hallberg.
- Is Uppsala University's Forum for Research on Drug and Pharmaceutical Addiction.
- Was inaugurated in Uppsala in 2011 as a regional gathering of expertise against the challenges of addiction.
- Currently gathers about twenty organisations that work together for a better society.
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