2021 UVU Conference on Addiction
Thursday, March 11, 2021 – Virtual Conference

Opening Keynote – Mackenzie Phillips (Livestream – 9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.)

Mackenzie Phillips is an American actress and author of the courageous New York Times bestselling memoir High on Arrival and her equally successful book, Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction. She is also currently enjoying her role as "Barb" in Season 6 / Netflix, Orange Is The New Black, and another Netflix show reuniting with series creator Norman Lear for the revival of One Day At A Time.

Phillips rose to fame with breakout parts in 1973's American Graffiti and '70s sitcom One Day at a Time and is now making a different impact as a director at the Breathe Life Healing Center in Los Angeles, where she specializes in trauma, drug, and alcohol treatment and recovery.

The daughter of The Mamas and the Papas' lead singer John Phillips, Mackenzie is a survivor of substance abuse and a visible and outspoken advocate for addiction awareness and education. She brings her knowledge and voice on the subject of recovery and shares her experiences for those who are trying to overcome addiction.

Mackenzie Phillips grew up in a dysfunctional environment and subsequently battled near-fatal drug addiction. She presents the wisdom she gained from her own personal journey through addictions and her understanding of practical treatment from her work as a rehabilitation counselor. Using her own life experiences as examples of proven recovery methods, she shares the tools and holistic approaches that are available to help those on their way to recovery.

Morning Concurrent Sessions 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.   

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Use Disorder Dr. Robert Joel Bush, FASAM (Pre-Recorded)

Opioid Use Disorder is claiming more and more lives and destroying families and communities.  Medications to treat this disorder have been a disputed topic in the past. Is methadone or buprenorphine treatment simply trading one addiction for another? In this session we will briefly discuss the history of opioid use in our nation and the evidence behind medications for the treatment of addiction to this deadly class of chemicals. Dr. Bush is experienced in using medications to help treat patients with opioid addiction, and will explain the proposed mechanisms of action in the brain as well as medication effects, dosage and long-term recommendations, and side effects to consider. 

*This session may be of particular interest to profesionals with advanced understanding.

The Many Pathways of Recovery: Within a Pandemic Deb Dettor, (Pre-Recorded)

Join us for this discussion of the different pathways used by people who recover from the ravages of alcohol and drug addiction. More avenues are widely available, making recovery accessible in our communities. This session will focus on considerations that can point individuals to the strategies that will be most helpful to initiate and sustain recovery. We will also discuss the challenges faced by those who are seeking recovery during these historic pandemic times, as well as our beliefs about what recovery looks like. We were already amidst an epidemic caused by rising opioid overdoses and deaths along with alcoholism rates when this global health crisis erupted, and our current systems are more overtaxed than ever. This is a time to explore new ways we can reach those who are suffering from addiction to offer the hope and support of recovery during extraordinary times. Join Deb to explore these issues and themes.

*This session is appropriate for all audiences.

Seeing Pornography Addiction Through a Trauma-Informed Lens: What If the ‘Problem’ is Actually Part of the ‘Solution’ Martin Roundy (Livestream)

“A sexual tsunami is coming!” This statement by Dr. Patrick Carnes, who is a leading expert in the field of sexual addiction, can aptly be applied to the explosive and destructive “tsunami” of cybersex and pornography. To be successful in reducing the impact of this wave, we need to understand the forces that drive youth and adults toward sexual and pornographic addiction. In this session, we will explore the relationship between childhood trauma, childhood traumatic stress, personal vulnerabilities, and pornography addiction. We briefly summarize the landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study and its relationship to later health and behavioral problems (i.e., addiction). Then we will examine the concept of “childhood traumatic stress” and how this stress can become a major driver toward a search for relief; and consider ways to mitigate the effects of childhood trauma, manage chronic stress and reduce vulnerabilities to stress.

*This session is appropriate for all audiences.

Improving Treatment & Retention Through Systems Change and Evidenced-Based Practices Todd Molfenter, Ph.D. (Pre-Recorded)

* THIS IS AN EXTENDED WORKSHOP Workshop will conclude at 2:45 p.m.

Join Dr. Molfenter as he leads this extended workshop outlining the principle concepts of retention improvement. Participants will review the utility and uses of simple quantitative and qualitative data in ensuring that change leads to improvement. He will explain the strategies used for organizing, running, and sustaining a retention improvement effort and how to start your own retention improvement initiative.

Understanding the Relationship Between Alcohol, Drugs, and Intimate Partner Violence (Domestic Violence) Eric F. Foster, AM, CADC (Livestream)

Whether you work in education, healthcare, behavioral healthcare (addiction and mental health), child welfare, law enforcement, or other criminal justice, chances are you have witnessed or dealt with the consequences of alcohol/drugs and domestic violence.

  • We live in a world where one in three women and one in seven men are victims of domestic violence.
  • Substance abuse has been found to co-occur in 40-60% of intimate partner violence (IPV) incidents across various studies.
  • Spousal abuse has been identified as a predictor of developing a substance use disorder;
  • Women who experience IPV have a higher prevalence of substance misuse and high-risk alcohol use.

We must look at these issues as co-occurring and provide services accordingly, in order to increase an individual’s potential for safety and recovery. This session will provide participants with an understanding of the complex relationship between alcohol, drugs, and IPV (also known as domestic violence), as well as barriers to accessing treatment and intervention. The presenter will also discuss evidence-based practices for treatment.  

*This session is appropriate for all audiences.


Lunch, Exhibit Fair, and Student Poster Presentations 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.


Plenary Session 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.



The Credibility Crisis - Jeffrey Quamme (Livestream)

This presentation takes an honest and often troubling and uncomfortable look at the substance use disorder (SUD) prevention/treatment/recovery industry in the United States identifying and addressing some of the issues of credibility that those outside of the field often recognize. The presentation is designed to identify several credibility issues (including those both unique to the field and shared with others), examine the industry’s role in perpetuating them including commonly accepted practices and how these issues can be improved and ultimately eliminated. Designed to provoke internal intellectual and emotional responses and foster ongoing discussion, this presentation will attempt to encourage attendees to look at our industry through an objective lens and develop an acknowledgment of the need to always maintain a quality improvement perspective.

Afternoon Concurrent Sessions 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

‘Wanna Get Gassed?’ Trends/Terms and the Impact of Social Media on Adolescents Martha Thompson, PsyD, LPC, CAADC (Livestream)

The increased access to social media and other web-based sources has continued to impact the ever-changing drug trends around the world daily.  Come chill with all the new kids for this interactive workshop exploring new drug trends, terms, and the impact of social media on substance use and adolescents. We will talk about gettin' awesome while talkin’ bout flippin’ chickens and scalavanting around’. Participants will engage in an exercise to learn several new drug/drug-related terms explore new substances of use/abuse on the market today, and be able to identify new drug use patterns and methods of use (i.e., vaping). 

*This session is appropriate for all audiences. 

Suicide Prevention Priciples and the Interplay of Substance Use Nichole Cunha & Allison Foust (Pre-Recorded)

This presentation will provide a comprehensive overview of the theological underpinnings of suicidality and posit how substance use offers key vulnerabilities for the suicidal state. Offering supportive research and relevant data, the presentation will also pose attendees to offer key prevention and intervention strategies for working with substance use populations with regard to suicidal behavior.

*This session is appropriate for all audiences.

Family Recovery: Building Partnering Friendships for Loved Ones and Exchange Harmful Messages by Creating Constructive Interactions H. Gray Otis, Ph.D., LCMHC (Livestream)

True recovery is a family matter. Too often, the missing piece in substance use recovery is the lack of changes that are needed to overcome adverse family relationships. When family members become effective partners, enduring progress can be sustained. Rather than simply focusing on the person with the addiction issue, the best chance for lasting success includes a structure for all family members to cultivate mutually supportive interpersonal skills. This model of interacting provides an easy-to-understand approach that creates improved communication between all family members, and a more resilient sense of self for those in recovery.

*This session is appropriate for all audiences.

Improving Treatment and Retention Through Systems Change and Evidenced-Based Practices Todd Molfenter, Ph.D. (Pre-Recorded)

* THIS IS THE 2ND HALF OF AN EXTENDED WORKSHOP Workshop will conclude at 2:45 p.m.

Join Dr. Molfenter as he leads this extended workshop outlining the principle concepts of retention improvement. Participants will review the utility and uses of simple quantitative and qualitative data in ensuring that change leads to improvement. He will explain the strategies used for organizing, running, and sustaining a retention improvement effort and how to start your own retention improvement initiative.

Empowering Youth and Families in Times of Crisis and Beyond: A Multigenerational Family and Community Approach to Resilience & Healing Gale Saler, Ph.D. (Pre-Recorded)

This workshop intends to move our conversation about youth from problem-based to strength-based and future focused. It aims at broadening the clinician’s skills and expanding their comfort to draw on a broad range of disciplines and community resources beyond their immediate practice (or program). We will interweave knowledge from multiple related fields to help young people take long-term control of their recovery. Knowledge will be drawn from evidence-based and promising practices including individual/family therapies; rehabilitation counseling; expressive therapies (e.g. music, art, recreation, dance); life coaching; creating connection and communication.

Guiding youth toward self-reliance and self-efficacy requires that clinician and family be prepared to support them through exploration and experimentation, to determine the treatments, knowledge, activities and supports that work best for them. If well done, they will move forward successfully with a “toolbox” that balances belief, agency and communion with appropriate timing, people and places.



Using a Recovery Toolbox To Better Connect With Clients and Provide Practical, Daily Sobriety Tools for Relapse Prevention Success – Ann Weight, CMHC (SC 213AB)

Latest research shows that the clinician’s ability to help the client create a personal treatment connection results in higher success rates for making positive change. An important and effective tool for developing such a connection is the Wellness Toolbox. Often our clients have been through several treatment experiences, yet are unable to recall many specific strategies for sobriety once they leave the office. The toolbox has the personalized ideas, methods, and reminders most effective for maintaining one’s own wellness, readily available for quick reference. Several possible methods of toolbox modalities will be shared to give variety for individual styles (including youth), effective for any type of behavioral addiction, along with a summary handout. This presentation will not be a “death by PowerPoint” presentation but will include a lively discussion and interesting clips and examples to keep the interest level high. An opportunity for attendees to experience hands-on interaction with their own toolboxes will also be presented.

Brain Balance: Restoring Damaged Neurotransmitter Connections – Melissa Warner (SC 206 ABC)

The ability to be fully alive, engaged and productive occurs naturally when the brain has enough of the nutrients necessary to manufacture all of the neurotransmitters needed to communicate every message of life. Thus, healing the physiological imbalances in the addictive brain should be an integral part of treatment for addiction. The safest and most effective way to restore cognitive health and to help heal the addictive brain is by implementing a specific nutrient-rich diet and nutritional supplementation program. Melissa will review the nutritional principles that will provide the body and mind with the fuel needed for optimum performance.

Afternoon Plenary Session 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Aaron Williams, MA: The Substance Use Professional for the 2020s  (Livestream)

Behavioral health professionals working in substance use and addiction treatment have seen their area of practice evolve significantly over the last few decades, and more changes are on the horizon. Along with these changes, the demand for substance use services continues to grow. A recent analysis indicates that “demand for addiction counselors may increase anywhere between 21 to 38 percent by 2030, resulting in a deficit of addiction counselors.” What are the core competencies that substance use professionals will need in the next decade, and how will organizational leadership ensure that clinical staff possess and apply the necessary core competencies for effective practice into the next decade and beyond? How will behavioral health organizations ensure that they have enough competent staff to meet the demand going forward?

This plenary session will explore relevant topics such as: working with primary care, addressing social determinants of health, improving clinical supervision, the use of peer and recovery support staff, and more.

*This session will be of particular interest to substance use professionals and organizations.