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Trail blazing doctor recognized for treating alcohol use disorder

Trail blazing doctor recognized for treating alcohol use disorder
Dr. Jeff Harries is presented the BCCSU Trailblazer Award by his brother Bruce Harries during a Zoom ceremony.

“Trail blazer” is an apt way to describe a physician who has travelled to every corner of the Interior Health region and beyond to spread the word about effective but largely under-prescribed medications to treat Alcohol Use Disorder. He has provided close to 150 educational presentations across B.C.

On March 10, 2021 Penticton-based physician Dr. Jeff Harries was honoured with the inaugural Primary Care and Substance Use Trailblazer Award from the BC Centre for Substance Use.

Not only is Dr. Harries the inaugural recipient of the new award, he is the inspiration behind it.

“It’s such a tremendous honour to be able to recognize Dr. Jeff Harries for his many, many contributions,” says Cheyenne Johnson, executive director of the BC Centre for Substance Use. “His tireless leadership as a health advocate and his unwavering commitment to improving how we treat people with alcohol use disorder has inspired colleagues and impacted the lives of countless people. We thank him from the bottom of our hearts.”

Interior Health Addictions Medicine Lead Dr. Leslie Lappalainen described how three words came to mind for her: humility, conviction, and the ability to inspire. “Doing 150 talks across B.C. is amazing,” she said.

Dr. Harries has now retired from practice but continues to provide inspiration and guidance in Alcohol Use Disorder treatment. In 2020 he helped establish the Canadian Alcohol Use Disorder Society.

To learn more about his work, check out the video.