Scott D. Miller, Ph.D. is the founder of the International Center for Clinical Excellence an international consortium of clinicians, researchers, and educators dedicated to promoting excellence in behavioral health services. Dr. Miller conducts workshops and training in the United States and abroad, helping hundreds of agencies and organizations, both public and private, to achieve superior results. He is one of a handful of “invited faculty” whose work, thinking, and research is featured at the prestigious “Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference.” His humorous and engaging presentation style and command of the research literature consistently inspires practitioners, administrators, and policy makers to make effective changes in service delivery.
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Listen to “TAP041 What Works In Therapy with Scott D Miller PhD” on Spreaker.
Posted in Addiction, Research, Treatment
Stanton Peele, Ph.D., J.D., is a seminal figure in the addiction field. All Treatment awarded him the Best Academic Addiction Blog for 2012. Dr. Peele has developed the on-line Life Process Addiction Program. His most recent book (with Ilse Thompson) is Recover! Stop Thinking Like an Addict and Reclaim Your Life with The Life Procss Program. Since the publication of Love and Addiction in 1975, Dr. Peele has been a pioneer in applying addiction beyond the area of drugs and alcohol, social-environmental causes of addiction, harm reduction, and self-cure of addiction. He has presented these ideas and data in a series of twelve books—including Love and Addiction, The Meaning of Addiction,Diseasing of America, The Truth About Addiction and Recovery, 7 Tools to Beat Addiction, and Addiction-Proof Your Child—and over 250 professional and popular articles. Recognition for his academic achievements in addiction has included the Mark Keller Award from the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Drug Policy Alliance. Dr. Peele lectures internationally on the meaning, treatment, and future of addiction.
Posted in Addiction, Disease Model, Policy, Recovery, Research
“We are treating the symptom and not the disease, and the disease is prohibition.” — Patrick Heintz regarding the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA)
With experience in both corrections and substance abuse counseling, Patrick Heintz has worked with incarcerated populations for over 20 years. Beginning as a child care worker in a maximum security Department of Youth Services facility, he spent the majority of his career at the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department as a counselor/corrections officer.
As a substance abuse counselor licensed by the State of Massachusetts working in a variety of corrections settings, he was witness to what he calls the “revolving door and intergenerational nature of the offender population”. Patrick explains, “Early on in my career, it became apparent that to a large extent, this revolving door phenomenon was a direct result of the prevailing laws associated with the war on drugs. It became a daily frustration that no matter how service-oriented and well intentioned treatment attempts were in a corrections setting, nonsensical drug laws such as mandatory minimum sentencing, school zone violations and other punitive consequences of drug arrests kept us from being optimally effective.”
As a human service worker in corrections, it was obvious to Patrick that substance abusing and addictive personality disorders were more mental health issues than a law and order problem. He experienced an avalanche of realizations upon first hearing a LEAP presentation where the speaker pointed out that after 40 years of being at war with drugs, the percentage of the population abusing drugs remains at approximately the same level as in 1971, when the war on drugs began. Patrick contends that “Sociologically there will always be deviations from the norm including substance abuse, but they cannot be legislated or enforced away.”
Posted in Addiction, Drug Enforcement, Drugs, Opiates, Police, Policy, Research, Trama, Treatment
HAMS is a peer-led and free-of-charge support and informational group for anyone who wants to change their drinking habits for the better. The acronym HAMS stands for Harm reduction,Abstinence, and Moderation Support. HAMS Harm Reduction strategies are defined in the 17 elements of HAMS. HAMS offers support via an online forum, a chat room, an email group, a facebook group, and live meetings. We also offer harm reduction information via the HAMS Book, the articles on this web site, and the HAMS podcast. HAMS supports every positive change. Choose your own goal – safe drinking, reduced drinking, or quitting alcohol altogether.
It does not matter how much or how little you drink; if you want to make a change you are welcome here. If you are concerned that you might have withdrawal symptoms if you quit drinking all at once, please visit our taper page for information about how to taper off alcohol.
Posted in Addiction, Alcohol, Depressants, Disease Model, Recovery, Research, Treatment
The emergence of new psychoactive substances (NPS) – often called “synthetic drugs,” “legal highs,” or “research chemicals” – pose a number of challenges for policymakers, media covering these issues, medical and social service providers, and people who use these substances.
Unfortunately, current media and policy responses to NPS – a broad category that includes everything from synthetic cannabinoids such as “K2”, to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, to traditional plants such as kratom – have been largely fueled by misinformation rather than facts. For example, in New York City, concerns about synthetic cannabinoids led to misleading media coverage and targeted policing in communities of color and among the homeless, missing a critical opportunity to lead with harm reduction and public health strategies instead of criminalization.
These substances often come on the market as legal alternatives to illicit drugs. In the U.S., they are routinely banned, leading chemists to come up with slightly new formulations to evade existing laws. This cat-and-mouse game has led to a proliferation of these substances, whose potential harms (and benefits) are largely unknown.
Seth Fitzgerald from The Drug Classroom attended an important conversation about novel psychoactive substances on the evening of June 9th – 10th in New York City hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance. At New Strategies for New Psychoactive Substances: A Public Health Approach, the discussion included what is currently known about these substances, strategies for intervening when use becomes harmful, exploring new forms of drug regulation, and examining how messaging and media about NPS can become more constructive. The gathering laid the foundation for a series of recommendations for policymakers, medical and social service providers, researchers, and media.
Posted in Addiction, Drug Enforcement, Drugs, Policy, Prevention, Psychedelics, Research, Synthetic Cannabinoids
Sheila Vakharia earned her doctorate at Florida International University’s School of Social Work. She received her Master’s in Social Work from Binghamton University and a Post-Master’s Certificate in the Addictions from New York University. She was most recently employed as a social worker at a grassroots HIV/AIDS and homelessness advocacy organization in Manhattan, where she provided harm reduction-based substance use counseling, facilitated harm reduction support groups, and conducted quality assurance activities. She was also a SIFI certified field instructor for B.S.W. students from New York University at that time. Prior to that, she worked at an OASAS-licensed rural outpatient substance use treatment facility where she conducted diagnostic assessments, made level-of-care treatment determinations, and facilitated aftercare groups for individuals with co-occurring disorders.
Jeannie Little has been at the forefront of developing harm reduction therapy for people with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders since 1990. Beginning with her work at the Department of Veterans Affairs, she developed the harm reduction therapy group model and has trained therapists nationally and abroad. She teaches and consults with staff in outpatient clinics, drop-in centers, and supportive housing programs. She directs a national group of researchers and harm reduction therapists that is working to bring harm reduction therapy into the mainstream of substance abuse treatment. She has authored many papers and, with Dr. Denning, she co-authored Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy and Over the Influence, a self-help book for consumers.
Posted in Addiction, Disease Model, Drugs, Policy, Prevention, Recovery, Research, Treatment
Frances first got involved with SSDP in 2011, when she co-founded the Northwestern University chapter as a freshman. Although she had known that the War on Drugs was irrational and ineffective before attending college, it wasn’t until she attended her first Midwest Regional Conference at Roosevelt University that she learned that drug policies were also unjust and inhumane. Since then, harm reduction has been a guiding principle behind all of her professional and personal pursuits, and she strives to educate people about the intersectionalities associated with the War on Drugs.In the drug policy world, Frances has served on SSDP’s Board of Directors, and has worked with cannabis law and industry organizations to research cannabis policy in various states, and write and review applications for cannabis cultivation centers and dispensary licenses. On campus, she was involved with Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators (SHAPE), Alpha Chi Omega sorority and and has served as the President of the Panhellenic Association.
Goals for SSDP Peer Education Program
- To promote open and honest dialogue around drug use, drug policy and drug culture
- To reduce drug-related harms through a lens of love, rather than stigma or punishment
- Convey factual information about drugs, including how to access further resources
- Convey factual information about drug policy, including how to access further resources
SSDP Peer Educators achieve this goal through three primary activities
- Facilitating small-group educational programs in residence halls, in fraternities and sororities, for other student groups and high schools, and during Orientation Week
- Providing students with informal counseling and professional referrals
- Planning campus-wide events in collaboration with other student groups, academic departments or community organizations
- Soliciting feedback and communicating to National staff to ensure that the program continually meets students’ needs
Posted in Addiction, Drugs, Policy, Prevention, Research
Rhana Hashemi author of “The Fallacies of a Drug-Free American Dream.”
Posted in Alcohol, Policy, Research
Adam Lowery is a mental health counselor, trainer, speaker, podcaster, activist and coach whose passion is helping others change and optimize their lives. Through an abusive childhood, he focused on his dream to play college football. But at age twenty-two, injury ended his NFL dreams. Disheartened and angry, he chose a life of addiction and crime. He survived the world of drug dealing and quickly became successful in the nightclub business. But the success did not fill the void. He walked away from it all and went on walkabout for two years — traveling from the Florida Keys to the Acoma Native American Reservation in New Mexico Adam was on his Spiritual Rampage.
Adam returned home on a mission to help others and obtain a masters mental health counseling. Before even graduating he was hired as a clinical therapist in a public rehabilitation facility. Within three years Adam founded Transrational Structural Behavior Theory, authored The Cognitive Rampage, a dose of authentic revelation (as the application of TSBT), launched TCR podcast now in 110 countries and all 52 United States and will be releasing his first documentary in the Winter of 2016 “Chemical Incarceration, addicted to the process” detailing the dark side of the addiction treatment industry.
Posted in Addiction, Disease Model, Drugs, Opiates, Policy, Recovery, Research, Treatment
Psychedelic therapy refers to the use of psychedelic (“mind manifesting”) drugs in therapeutic practice. Substances of interest like 3 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) are demonstrating the ability to enhance and augment the therapeutic relationship, a primary factor in emotional reprocessing and healing, allowing for a considerable amount of patient progress to occur in a relatively short amount of time and number of sessions. MDMA also suppresses the amygdala resulting in a decreased fight or flight response when recalling traumatic events potentially making it an ideal supplement for clients who may not be able to reprocess traumatic memories otherwise.
Psychedelics have a long history as therapeutic agents particularly with indigenous cultures in South America who use compounds like ayahuasca to facilitate emotional healing and purge individuals of negative psychic states. Now groups like the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) are researching and attempting to formalize the application of certain psychedelic medicines in the therapeutic setting as a result of finding significant positive effects in the areas of trauma, stress, and end of life issue reprocessing.
The Addictive Podcast is joined by Bryce Montgomery who is the social and multimedia manager of MAPS and also serves as a volunteer for their Zendo harm reduction project which applies the therapeutic principles and practices developed in their research settings to alternative real-world applications where users of psychedelic drugs can benefit from the support, guidance, and nurturance of well trained and caring staff.
There is a significant lack of curative short-term treatments for psychological distress in western allopathic medicine and these “rediscovered” drugs/tools that can help facilitate the therapeutic process and promote an internal condition that allows for improved psychic healing are a welcome and desperately needed addition to modern comprehensive behavioral health.
Posted in Psychedelics, PTSD, Research, Treatment