Opening Keynote

The “Dis” Ease of Addiction by Dan Trolaro, MS, Assistant Executive Director, Council on Compulsive Gambling of NJ

For those who struggle with addiction, the drug or behavior of choice is a solution to a deeper problem which includes varying degrees of pain including physical, psychological, emotional, or financial to name a few. Pain that results from trauma, PTSD, abuse, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and neglect and goes unresolved will continue to manifest itself in the solution of addiction. A comprehensive, holistic approach that treats the whole person from deep within can lead to a sustained and meaningful long term recovery. This workshop will examine the “DIS”ease of gambling addiction as well as the importance of community and connection in the recovery process. Participants will:

  • Explore the role that pain, fear, and vulnerability play within those who struggle with addiction.
  • Identify the impact that trauma and ACEs have on the individual struggling with Disordered Gambling.
  • Describe the importance of establishing principles for a meaningful recovery from gambling addiction.

Plenary Session

Molecular Adventures in the Brain with Alcohol & Cannabis by Thomas Hagan, PhD, Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Elizabethtown College

Addiction. Almost everyone has heard of this term, and a significant percentage of the population has experienced the impact of addiction on their lives.  Many people, however, are not acquainted with the intricacies of addiction at the biological and chemical levels.  Addiction is a multi-faceted phenomenon which develops from a multitude of internal and external inputs.  The rich interplay among psychological, social, biological, and pharmacological factors is responsible for the diversity of the addiction experience which is unique for each person.

In this discussion, we will explore some of the biological and chemical factors which are instrumental in substance use disorder, with a focus on two substances: alcohol and cannabis.  In order to accomplish this, we’ll establish how the brain’s anatomy, neurotransmission, and genetics work together to impact mood and behavior.  We’ll identify key regions within the brain which are affected by the presence of alcohol and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal psychoactive component of cannabis) and establish how their presence can alter normal neurobiological operation.  By understanding the neurobiochemical impact these substances have on the brain, participants will better appreciate the complexity of the addictions process and why it is so unique for each individual.

By the conclusion of the talk, participants will:

  • Better understand the operation of the brain as it relates to addiction behaviors.
  • Identify key areas of the brain which are affected by cannabis and alcohol.
  • Appreciate how the structure of a foreign molecule, like alcohol or THC, allows it to interact with molecular targets within the brain.
  • Gain insight into the role of genetics in the addictions process.

Short & Sweet Talks

See descriptions under Breakout Workshops below

Bounce Boosters: Fostering Resilience to Promote SAP Engagement by Leah Mundy-Maher, Children & Adolescent Training Specialist, Behavioral Health Training & Education Network

Vaping & Youth: An Epidemic by Deborah McCoy, SAP Program Coordinator, Compass Mark

Gambling Treatment Highlights by Pat Gadsden, Founder and Director, Life Esteem

The Phoenix Model: Building Sober, Active Recovery Community by Bob Lamb, MPH, Chapter Coordinator, The Phoenix

Kids of Promise: Working with Children Impacted by Addiction by Argiroula Hansen, Lead SAP Specialist, Caron Treatment Center

Blurred Lines: Gaming to Gambling by Dan Trolaro, MS, Assistant Executive Director, Council on Compulsive Gambling of NJ

Breakout Workshops / SAP Track

Bounce Boosters: Fostering Resilience to Promote SAP Engagement by Leah Mundy-Maher, Children & Adolescent Training Specialist, Behavioral Health Training & Education Network

SAP teams strive to intervene early and often to address student concerns, but not all students and families are willing to engage with SAP. When facing overwhelming and dangerous issues, from trauma to substance misuse, how can SAP teams reach the students they are most concerned about? Building resilience is the first step. All students and families have the capacity to be resilient and “bounce back.” Increasing a SAP team’s ability to tap into a student’s unique resilience can increase the team’s ability to effectively navigate the SAP process. The team’s engagement approach is just as important as the process itself.

This session will explore existing engagement challenges, what resilience is and how to foster it, and how a resilience-building approach within SAP can encourage students and families to work toward better outcomes in partnership with their SAP teams. Participants will be able to:

  • Define resilience and engagement.
  • Identify at least 2 resilience-building strategies.
  • Outline at least 2 methods for encouraging youth/family engagement with SAP teams.

Vaping & Youth: An Epidemic by Deborah McCoy, SAP Program Coordinator, Compass Mark

The Surgeon General officially declared e-cigarette use “epidemic” among our youth in December of 2018. Surveys, research and the practical experience of school staff and agency personnel attest to the extraordinary growth of vaping among teens and pre-teens. While tobacco use rates among youth have steadily dropped for years, that trend is reversing with the significant numbers of youth consuming nicotine via vaping. This workshop will examine vaping trends among youth and present solutions. Participants will:

  • Understand the growth and prevalence of vaping and e-cigarette use among adolescents.
  • Gain knowledge about the impact of vaping and e-cigarette use.
  • Learn about effective prevention resources for schools and agencies.

The Toughest Tool in the Box. . . The SAP Team by Susan Billy, MEd, Manager of Behavioral Health Support Services, Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13

School SAP teams are faced with the challenge of removing barriers to student learning. The right tools are needed in order to meet the most challenging of student needs. This session will focus on revisiting the key tools that each team needs in their toolbox to accomplish this task. Attendees will be provided with simple, yet key, tools that can be used time and time again, without fail. Participants will be able to:

  • Describe the essential functions of a SAP Team.
  • Identify the essential tools of a SAP Team.
  • Assess the effectiveness of their SAP Team.
  • Develop a plan to address areas of need.

Breakout Workshops / Treatment Track

Gambling Treatment Highlights by Pat Gadsden, Founder and Director, Life Esteem

Opportunities for gambling in PA are increasing, and gambling disorders have a profound, negative impact on families, employers, and taxpayers. Participants will review the scope of American adults and adolescents with gambling disorders and receive an overview of treatment concerns, including:

  • Definitions and types of gamblers.
  • Prevalence of co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness.
  • Diagnostic criteria and screening tools used to identify clients already in treatment who need their gambling addressed.

The Phoenix Model: Building Sober, Active Recovery Community by Bob Lamb, MPH, Chapter Coordinator, The Phoenix Philadelphia

This session will provide an overview of The Phoenix, a national nonprofit organization that provides free peer-based addiction recovery support to anyone with 48 hours of continuous sobriety. Through pursuits such as CrossFit, yoga, hiking, biking, and running, The Phoenix leverages the undeniable power of physical activity and social connection to dramatically improve recovery outcomes and eliminate the stigma associated with substance use disorders. This workshop will:

  • Provide a thorough understanding of The Phoenix model and why, where, and how it works to improve recovery outcomes.
  • Demonstrate how social connection and physical activity impact addiction recovery and improve outcomes.
  • Explain how professionals can connect their clients to The Phoenix or start their own Phoenix-like model of free recovery support.

Harm Reduction as a Tool to Defeat the Overdose Crisis by Devin Reaves, MSW, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Coalition

This breakout session will give the audience a broad overview of harm reduction as a set of evidence-based public health strategies that save lives and provide a pathway to recovery. Important topics covered will include syringe service programs (SSPs), medication assisted treatment (MAT), naloxone, and law enforcement assisted diversion (LEAD). We will also discuss our current partnerships with the Pennsylvania Sheriffs Association and other critical advocacy work we are engaged in across the state. Participants will:

  • Understand harm reduction and how it can be a part of the solution.
  • Understand specific harm reduction strategies (SSP, MAT, naloxone, LEAD, etc.) and the evidence that supports them.
  • Understand the barriers to implementing evidence-based harm reduction strategies.
  • Learn the best ways to engage with stakeholders to advocate for drug policies that put people first.

Breakout Workshops / Prevention Track

Kids of Promise: Working with Children Impacted by Addiction by Argiroula Hansen, Lead SAP Specialist, Caron Treatment Centers

Approximately 12% of children in the U.S. live with a parent who struggles with substance misuse. This breakout will highlight the scope of the problem and provide an overview of the behavioral, emotional, and physical consequences of growing up in a home where addiction is present. We will also discuss identifying children who may be impacted by a loved ones’ addiction and how to provide them with appropriate support. Participants will be able to:

  • Define COA (children of addicted families).
  • Understand addiction as a family disease.
  • Describe the increased risks that COAs face.

Blurred Lines: Gaming to Gambling by Dan Trolaro, MS, Assistant Executive Director, Council on Compulsive Gambling of NJ

Consistently, there are more creative and fast paced forms of entertainment to help people escape, cope, or adjust to the stressors of life. Whether finding it through substance, social media, YouTube, or a variety of other methods, individuals are becoming more daring, tech savvy and tech dependent. From a technology perspective, one area that has seen explosive growth exists in the world of skill-based, social, video gaming and internet gambling. This workshop will explore the psychological aspects and gambling-like mechanics that are becoming more commonplace in video games while looking at emerging trends, laws and future considerations. Participants will:

  • Analyze the connection and risk of progression from social gaming to internet gambling, with corresponding impact on the brain.
  • Recognize and explain the similarities and differences between substance use disorder and ‘gaming’ disorder.
  • Discuss issues surrounding the behavioral and psychological aspects of social gaming and disordered gambling, including gambling fallacies, fear of missing out, and the scarcity principle.
  • Learn about support and resources available for those struggling with problematic gaming or a gambling.

Scare Tactics: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly by Allison Sharer, OCPC, Senior Trainer & Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant, Working Partners

We hear all the time: “Scare tactics don’t work.” Yet we continue to see them used in addiction prevention. With the current opioid crisis, we are seeing preventionists and others falling back into this comfort zone. Why do we fall back on this approach? Does it work?

While it intuitively sounds like an effective approach, over 60 years of research shows that relying on fear alone to prevent alcohol, other drug use or gambling simply does not work, and can actually increase the problem behavior. This workshop will explain why scare tactics backfire based on teen brain development, and participants will:

  • Identify the difference between fear arousal techniques and scare tactics; and the pros and cons of each approach.
  • Understand the research on the effective and ineffective uses of fear arousal in prevention messages.
  • Learn ways to adapt common scare tactic based messages and activities into more appropriate and effective strategies.

Closing Keynote

Prevention with a Capital “P” by Allison Sharer, OCPC, Senior Trainer & Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant, Working Partners, & Christine Glover, Community Prevention Mobilizer, Compass Mark

The opioid crisis. Methamphetamine on the rise. Cultural shifts and the changing legal status of marijuana. And let’s not forget alcohol, our most misused drug. Substance use continues to present challenges in our communities. Yet we cannot be left to only react to the resulting problems. Like any other public health issue substance use requires a public health response, which means embracing and championing prevention. Join us and gain a foundation from which to further your engagement in and support of comprehensive, evidence-based prevention in your community! Participants will:

  • Increase their understanding of the full spectrum of prevention and its place in the continuum of care.
  • Expand their vision of prevention for their community.
  • Be better prepared to champion prevention in their community.

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