2022 UVU Conference on Addiction

Opening Keynote 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.


Tom Arnold

As one of Hollywood’s most entertaining funnymen, you would think TOM ARNOLD has a lot to laugh about. But life has never been easy for this comedian, producer and actor. He has struggled with addiction and multiple health scares for decades. Sober for nearly 20 years, Tom relapsed after a motorcycle wreck led to an addiction to painkillers in 2007. He relapsed again several years ago and sought treatment once again. This summer, he celebrated five years of sobriety and the loss of 75 pounds after a mini-stroke.

Now sharing his incredible journey with others, Tom imparts a powerful message of hope to those who have been affected by addiction. Walking proof that it is possible to recover and dramatically improve your life, health and relationships, Tom discusses his path to recovery and how there is always hope—no matter what stage of addiction you’re in.

Morning Concurrent Sessions 10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. 

Prescription Digital Therapeutics (PDTs) with Dr. Fulton Velez

This presentation will highlight the treatment challenges faced by patients in recovery, and will summarize the peer-reviewed literature about prescription digital therapeutics (PDTs) that are FDA-authorized for the treatment of substance use and opioid use disorder in adults. The presentation will help the audience better understand the many barriers to treatment, including the shortage of substance use disorder clinicians and counselors, stigma, long waiting times to access treatment, economic and geographic barriers to continued participation in treatment, high rates of treatment drop out, and the current lack of comprehensive neurobehavioral treatment and contingency management available to patients in recovery. Dr. Velez will also focus on the clinical trial and real-world data related to reSET® and reSET-O®, two FDA-authorized PDTs available to patients in recovery from substance use and opioid use disorder, respectively, and will seek to familiarize the audience with how PDTs can help expand patient access to and engagement with treatment. He will also describe the patient and clinician experience with these therapeutics, and review the effectiveness of these products across clinical trials and real-world settings where these therapies have been prescribed by clinicians.

*This session is appropriate for all audiences.

Addiction in the Workplace: 101 with Jason D. Coombs, MPC

This is the story of a successful corporate salesman, Jason Coombs, who found himself on the streets and in jail due to addiction. There was nothing in his background to suggest his life would go that way. However, all it took to push him into addiction was one line of crushed OxyContin that a co-worker offered for his back pain. Addiction leaves clues, and so does successful recovery. In the session, Jason guides the audience through his journey through the Stages of Change until he fully recovered in mind, body, and spirit. Going deeper, he provides specific examples of what his employers, co-workers, parents and family did that contributed to Jason’s addiction, and what they learned to begin helping him the right way. Now, Jason shares profound insights and illuminates the path for audiences around the country to influence their addicted loved one the right way while protecting the company from the wrath of addiction.

*This session will be of particular interest to business leaders and HR professionals.

Fentanyl: A Tragic Wave Approaches with Dr. Joel Bush, MD

For years, the opioid epidemic has ravaged our communities and deaths have been at increasing levels due to overdose on opioids. Heroin has traditionally been the primary illicit opioid in the United States, but recent trends show alarming rates of heroin-free “heroin” which consists mainly of fentanyl or one of its stronger derivatives. Many areas of the US are now plagued with death rates that break records again and again due to this highly potent and synthetic opioid that does not show up on typical drug testing panels. We will discuss the rise of fentanyl contamination in the illicit drug supply, the ramifications, and the need for better awareness and harm-reduction practices. We will also discuss implications for treating Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) in the fentanyl age.

*This session is appropriate for all audiences.

The Clinical Application of the Neuroscience of Addiction with Joseph Rosenfeld, PsyD, CRADC, HS-BCP

Since the mid 1990’s our understanding of the neurological impact of substance use disorders has grown at a tremendous pace. The neurological impact of substances is felt during a person’s using period and well into recovery. Observable behaviors stemming from Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) include difficulties with memory; decision-making; interpersonal relationships; impulse control; mood regulation; sleep disorders; and visual-spatial functioning to name a few. This presentation will present the history of PAWS; review the behavioral manifestations of these neurological impacts; and present concrete recommendations for addressing each behavior in clinical settings, within families, criminal justice settings, and places of employment. Finally, Dr. Rosenfeld will discuss the impact of PAWS on the assessment of co-occurring disorders.

*This session is appropriate for all audiences.


Plenary Session 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.



From Hardship to Heroism: The Urgent Need to Understand and Treat Substance Use Disorder with Dr. Lipi Roy, MD (Live Session – Grand Ballroom and Streaming Virtually)

Dr. Lipi Roy is a physician, keynote speaker, Forbes Contributor, sought-after medical media personality and host of the YouTube series, "Health, Humor and Harmony." She currently serves as a Medical Director at Housing Works in New York City as well as clinical assistant professor at NYU Langone Health. She will share her personal pandemic experience (stress, burnout), discuss the drug overdose epidemic (worsened by COVID), impact on healthcare workers (including mental health professionals), address stigma as a major barrier to care, and the urgent, evidence-based tools to treat addiction.

*This session is appropriate for all audiences.



Lunch, Exhibit Fair, and Student Poster Presentations 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

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

ETHICS SESSION: The Ethics of Countertransference with Chaz Franke, MSW, LCSW

Countertransference is often viewed through a negative or avoidant lens despite the fact that it is present in any clinical social work relationships and/or transaction. The result of this avoidance means we lose touch with a uniquely special and helpful piece of our work. The inner life of the clinician gives countless insights to the helping process. In this session we will look deeply into our own reactions and experiences in all professional helping settings to determine the most effective and ethical applications of countertransference. We will explore the ethical implication of countertransference and the appropriate use of reflection, supervision and mentorship across clinical settings.

*This session will be of most interest to those working in a clinical environment.

The Role of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in the Development of Substance Abuse Disorders with Dr. Aaron Hunt, MPH, PhD

Join Dr. Hunt as he discusses the role adverse childhood experiences (ACES) and trauma play in the development of substance use disorders, including the impact on brain development. The session will be interactive with a brainstorming session to identify potential positive childhood experiences (PCEs) that exist in communities or that could be developed to counteract high ACE scores. In addition, Dr. Hunt will cover other evidence-based approaches to screening and lowering the risk associated with childhood trauma including social-emotional learning programs, strengthening family’s program, and trauma informed care. Participants will leave with a basic understanding of the impact of childhood trauma on brain development and increased risk for substance use as a coping mechanism to stress. Additionally, participants will be able to identify key prevention approaches to limit the impact of childhood trauma through positive childhood experiences (Feeling heard & prioritized, feeling safe, having peers, having positive adult in life, participating in social activities, etc.) and also by improving social-emotional skills such as coping with stress in health ways, becoming less impulsive, and regulating emotions.

*This session is appropriate for all audiences.

Substance Use Disorder and Suicide: A Deadly Risk with Jeffrey Quamme – SUICIDE PREVENTION SESSION

Attempted or completed suicide generally begins as an idea before turning into an act or behavior, so before someone can attempt to, or die by suicide, the idea of death of the self must be conceived. Early intervention can be used in this “ideational phase” to aid in prevention of suicide Gatekeepers are those persons in a community that assist with the identification and referral of those at risk of suicide, which was named a national problem by the Surgeon General of the United States in 1998. The risk for suicide is significantly increased when someone has a substance use disorder. Join Jeff as he presents information on interventions such as QPR that can save lives.

*This session is appropriate for all audiences.

Beyond the Box: Harm Reduction as a Guiding Framework for Problematic Substance Use with Mark O. Bigler, LCSW, PhD; Mindy Vincent, LCSW, MPA; and Lindsay Robinson

Over the course of U.S. history, problematic drug use has evolved from being considered a non-issue to a personal issue to a public health issue to a criminal issue. Since the 1970s, while giving some acknowledgement to the importance of treatment, U.S. policy and practice have been driven largely by a “War on Drugs” mentality focused on supply reduction and a punitive approach to the use of illicit substances. Likewise, for more than five decades, theoretical models of intervention from treatment to public policy have approached the issue from an all-or-nothing perspective, demanding global change and the total elimination of risky substance use behavior, resulting in relatively limited tangible success. In sharp contrast, the harm reduction model has emerged as a prevention, practice, and policy framework that views any positive change in problematic drug use as a successful educational, therapeutic, and/or public policy outcome. In this presentation, participants will be introduced to the harm reduction model, its history, and its basic tenets. Presenters will discuss the application of harm reduction to look beyond traditional approaches to drugs and addiction to consider innovative, realistic, and more compassionate responses to substance misuse treatment and drug policy. Participants in a recent study trip to Switzerland, where harm reduction has been a key pillar in national drug policy for more than 20 years, will share insights from their experience visiting with health and social service providers, corrections and law enforcement professionals, educators, policy makers, and substance use treatment service consumers. Finally, presenters will consider common criticisms of harm reduction and offer specific responses to this opposition, concluding that harm reduction provides an ideal framework for compassionate, collaborative, and non-shame-based drug policies and addiction treatment.

*This session will be of particular interest to addiction professionals who have at least a basic understanding of problematic drug use, addiction treatment and public policy.



Afternoon Concurrent Sessions 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Building Recovery Capital in Co-Occurring Disorders with Natalie Noel, PhD and Angelea Panos, PhD

Individuals with mental health issues are likely to have a co-occurring substance use disorder. People with dual diagnoses differ from those with only a substance use disorder by reporting lower levels of hope, resiliency, and well-being (Ujhelyi et al, 2016). Risk factors, such as stress or trauma, are common to both, mental health disorders may promote substance use disorders, and substance use disorders may promote the development of mental health disorders. Individuals who have received co-occurring disorders or dual diagnoses tend to have poorer prognosis for their emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing (Drake and Mueser, 2000).

Recovery Capital was defined two decades ago, but research on building it has lagged behind. Positive psychology is a science of positive subjective experience, positive individual traits and positive foundations. It strives to improve the quality of life, and prevent mental and physical illness that can arise when life appears depleting and overwhelming. This session will suggest that widening treatment focus from just reducing dysfunctional, addictive behaviors to creating meaningful and positive experiences that lead to increased hope, resilience, and wellbeing, establishing "recovery capital." Incorporating more recovery capital such as existential life meaning, spirituality, and social support, into individuals' with dual diagnosis everyday lives generates a greater likelihood of positive recovery outcomes (Krentzman, 2021; Best & Hennessy,2022).

*This session will be of most interest to those with at least an intermediate level of understanding in addiction treatment.

The Benefits of Positive Psychological Methodology in Addiction Treatment with Trish Henrie-Barrus

Using the framework of positive psychology and the existing research on the benefits of positive psychological methodology in addiction treatment, Dr. Barrus has created a new program and approach to recovery treatment centered around the 10 Principles of Recovery. In the session, she will discuss in detail the existing literature that supports these 10 Principles, the protocol, interventions, and the benefits of using this program in recovery. The supporting benefits and research based approach to using positive psychology applied to addiction and subsequent recovery can be explored in terms of the loss and recreation of the person’s identity by informing and accepting identity shaping character strengths, finding meaning and purpose in life, defining and strengthening the spiritual self, engaging in altruistic activities, practicing gratitude, forgiving self and others, and cultivating hope for a more satisfying life. This new way of looking at addiction and recovery may provide alternative forms of treatment that may be beneficial to many programs and patients. 

*This session is appropriate for all audiences.

Walking in a First Responder’s Shoes: Understanding the First Responder Culture and How It Negatively and Positively Effects Their Mental Health & Wellness with Dr. Tia White, DSW, LCSW

First responders are regularly called to “handle” those that are struggling with mental health, behavioral and addiction challenges. We do not often stop and think about the first responder personally and that they might be battling their own mental health, addiction, or behavioral challenges. These personal struggles are both relieved and aggravated by their job’s culture and their service to the communities they love. The internal battles they are fighting is reflected in the critical increase in suicide rates and unhealthy coping. In Utah 29% of first responders are experiencing regular suicidal thoughts, 18% are abusing alcohol, 13% are engaging in risky behaviors and 3% admit to abusing medications. They need more support from professionals that understand their passion and drive to serve as well as the gaps and demands of their jobs and within the culture that surrounds it. Dr. White will provide insight into the culture of emergency dispatchers, corrections officers, firefighter, medic, and police officers. Professionals and community members alike will gain a fresh perspective and improved understanding of the first responder experience. Participants will take away information that can guide them to more effective efforts to support the first responder and their families’ healing processes.

*This session will be of most interest to those working with First Responders.

Emotional Competence of the Addiction Counselor with Amanda L. Riggs, ACMHC and Michael Gerald, PhD

The emotional competence of the Addiction Counselor is an important aspect of professional proficiency. This competence includes the counselor’s self-knowledge of their own strengths and weaknesses, including their abilities and limitations for providing mental health counseling. The goal of this session is to examine work life balance. In general, the addiction counselor chose this field because he/she wanted to make a difference in the world. This profession can be very rewarding, as well as very difficult. Ideas of self-care as well as the paradoxes of self-care for counselors will be explored. Amanda will define Emotional Competence and how it relates to self-awareness and self-care, how ethics ance self-care go hand in hand, using humor for stress relief and defining career sustaining behaviors.

Pre-Recorded Sessions

The LGBTQ+ Population and Addiction with Mason Turner, MD

The LGBTQ+ population suffers from addictive disease at far greater rates than the general population. This presentation will present a historical perspective on the drivers of this difference, as well as a focus on the role of minority stress in the increased rate of disease burden. Additionally, the presentation will describe the diagnostic and treatment needs of the population and discuss terminology that will help to provide an understanding of the full spectrum of sexuality and gender identity. A review of the demographics and risk factors for the population will also be presented. Dr. Turner will focus on the increased risk of suicidal ideation and completed suicide among the gender diverse population, and discuss unique ways of approaching that issue in client encounters.

*This session will be of particular interest to addiction professionals.

The Role of the ADA in Substance Use Disorders with Tess Stanton

Join Tess Stanton as she overviews the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its definition of disability. You will understand how the ADA plays a role in the recovery of substance use disorders, and how the law applies to the various titles under the ADA for individuals with disabilities. We will explore how ADA protections vary based on substance use status, and attendees will walk away with more knowledge on their rights and responsibilities under the ADA as it relates to substance use disorders specifically.

*This session is appropriate for all audiences.

A Buddhist Approach to Supervision in Addiction Treatment with Matthew Draper, PhD; Jamison Law, EdD and Michaela Thackeray

Addiction counseling entails a great deal of uncertainty, stress, and burnout (Vilardaga et al., 2011). One predictor of burnout in addiction counseling is the difficulty of the work itself. Success rates in addiction treatment (usually meaning lifelong sobriety), are low with relapses within the first year as high as 40% (Andersson et al., 2019). Another predictor of professional dissatisfaction and burnout is the relationship that the supervisee has with their immediate supervisor (Enlow et al., 2019). Unfortunately, the supervisory style can unintentionally interfere with the rapport between supervisor and supervisee and disproportionately lead to supervisee stress.

There are approaches to Buddhist Psychotherapy supervision that increase supervisor/supervisee rapport and facilitate the development of attitudes and skills in the supervisor that perpetuate a healthier environment for the supervisee (Johnson et al., 2019). This presentation will present examples of how supervisors might practice mindfulness, contextual flexibility, humility, acceptance, compassion, and gratitude. The application of these skills will be tailored to the remarkably demanding practice of mental health work and addictions, and the common challenges mental health professionals face when attempting to apply these attitudes and skills. Case examples will be shared liberally throughout to illustrate applications of these concepts.

*This session will be of most interest to those who supervise students, interns or other therapists.

Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) with Dr. Joel Bush, MD

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. We will discuss 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 professionals with advanced understanding.