Conference at WCSU to focus on epidemic of addiction

DANBURY, CONN. — A daylong conference at Western Connecticut State University will focus on aspects of evidence-based care from risk assessment, family therapy, proper use of medication for young people in early recovery and engaging hard-to-reach adolescents. The conference will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, at the Westside Campus Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. Cost for the conference is $120, including lunch and materials, with 7 CEUs through NASW, ACA and 6.5 CMEs for physicians.

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Keynote speaker Alan Schwarz, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated New York Times writer, will speak about “Innovations in Addiction with Young People: What Works and Why.” Schwarz will present overwhelming evidence of a disturbing national trend toward the use of prescribed amphetamines as a means to obtain unreasonable academic and other goals, even by young people who would not be at risk for illegal drug use. He has spurred the national dialogue about the overprescription of amphetamines and the deadly consequences since 2012.

Additional speakers will include renowned trainer, author and pioneer of experiential therapies Dr. Tian Dayton and Connecticut-based master therapist, author and teacher Dr. Pat Dechello, both of whom will provide keynote addresses focused on evidence-based care for young people.

“We have organized this conference to spotlight the epidemic of addiction in today’s youth as well as to present positive and sustainable paths to prevention and treatment,” said Jamison Monroe Jr., CEO of Newport Academy, the primary sponsor of the Nov. 1 event.  “As a society, we have decided it’s too costly to modify a child’s environment to create both a healthy and reasonable environment for sustainable learning and growth. Instead, we increase pressure on them for external success and then medicate them when they show signs of distress or can’t keep up.”

Newport Academy will open an adolescent treatment facility in Bethlehem next month to broaden the successful impact of its California-based residential programs. The Newport Academy treatment philosophy is based in care that identifies and treats the underlying problems that teens and young adults suffering from mental health, addiction and other destructive behaviors experience. 

The conference will teach counselors, social workers, physicians and affiliated health professionals how to help teens and young adults heal through a trust-based, family-focused treatment model.

“I’m thrilled to help bring this conference to Western as part of our mission to provide prevention and early-intervention services to our student community and share what works with our colleagues,” said Sharon Guck, coordinator of the CHOICES Office at WCSU, a co-sponsor of the event.

Additional sponsors include the Western Connecticut Health Network and Turning Point, a treatment and extended care program for young adult men in New Haven and Hamden.

“This conference will address so many of the most difficult clinical issues with teens and young adults, and provide real skills that will also help clinicians and programs build their evidence-based services,” said Liz Jorgensen, consultant to Newport Academy and planner of the conference. “As we know, the ACA will allow for a dramatic increase in third-party payments for psychiatric and substance-abuse programs and services, but only evidence-based services will be eligible. We are sharing this information with our colleagues and all who are interested in improving the quality and outcome of their care.

“Evidence-based treatment is not only the smart business decision to make now in planning services, but it also leads to more compassionate and effective care for young people and their families,” Monroe added. “It is an honor we can share Newport Academy’s philosophy with as many colleagues as we can to make a collective difference.”

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Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs.  Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York.  Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

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