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Haight Ashbury Free Clinics Anniversary Conferences

The Haight Ashbury Free Clinics and the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs sponsored annual conferences for close to 40 years on various topics, including “Culturally Competent Substance Abuse Treatment,” “Critical Issues in Addiction,” and “Dual Diagnosis.” The proceedings of some of these conferences were published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

National Free Clinic Council Conference, 1970

Attended by over 300 clinic workers, the proceedings were published as The Free Clinic: A Community Approach to Health Care and Drug Abuse (David E. Smith, David J. Bentel and Jerome L. Schwartz, eds. Beloit WI: Stash Press, 1971). This meeting demonstrated the many, and often conflicting, philosophies of free clinics, their mission, and their funding strategies. Held at University of California, San Francisco, January 1970.

National Free Clinic Council Conference, 1972

What could have been a show of the strength of the free clinic movement, which then counted over/about ????? free and community clinics, dissolved into a contentious swirl of controversies: who was the movement’s leader? did the movement want or need a leader? should the clinics accept governmental funds? With no unifying philosophy, the proceedings disintegrated into a shouting match. Some of the clinics, including the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic accepted funding, others didn’t. Some survived, some didn’t. Held at the Shoreham Hotel, Washington DC, January 1972.

Vocational Rehabilitation of the Drug Abuser, 1973

Co-sponsored with the California Department of Health, Education and Welfare’s Social and Rehabilitation Services, this national conference resulted in a four-volume proceedings and a grant to the clinic to develop a vocational rehabilitation program. Held at ???, March 1973.

National Drug Abuse Conference, 1977

A week-long conference attracting 3000 attendees, a major attraction was its display of actual drugs, zealously guarded by a coterie of clinic staff. Held at the Hyatt Regency, San Francisco, May 1977.