Actress Mackenzie Phillips to Speak on Addiction at UVU


On March 13, UVU College of Humanities and Social Sciences will host the annual Conference on Addiction for the 10th consecutive year. For the past decade, this one-of-a-kind addiction conference has provided education, inspiration, and hope for professionals and community members alike.

"With some of the highest rates of opioid and prescription drug abuse in the nation, it's imperative that Utah communities be given the information they need to help build awareness and encourage treatment," said Toni Harris, assistant dean for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "Addiction comes in many forms and touches our lives in many ways, but one thing remains clear — those battling addictions need support. They need to know that people care about what happens to them and that they get the help they desperately need." 

Richard Nance, director of the Utah County Department of Drug and Alcohol Prevention, has been involved with the UVU Conference on Addiction since day one. To him, this conference is unique in its affordability and accessibility. “The UVU Conference on Addiction fills a niche for people who need CEU [continuing education unit] hours for licensing, and the curriculum we assemble is heavy on evidence-based and emerging practices, not fringe or unproven treatments,” said Nance. “Our goal all along has been to provide training that elevates the quality of addiction treatment in Utah County and the Wasatch Front.”

This year’s conference will feature a keynote presentation from actress and author Mackenzie Phillips. Phillips rose to fame with breakout parts in 1973’s “American Graffiti” and the ’70s sitcom “One Day at a Time.” After struggling with and overcoming a near-fatal addiction, Phillips became a visible and outspoken advocate for addiction awareness and education. In addition to roles on “Orange is the New Black” and the Netflix revival of “One Day at a Time,” Phillips works as a director at the Breathe Life Healing Center in Los Angeles where she specializes in trauma, drug, and alcohol treatment and recovery. Phillips is also the author of The New York Times bestselling memoir “High on Arrival.”

Phillips will be joined by two plenary speakers, Jeffrey Quamme and Aaron Williams. Quamme has over 25 years of experience in nonprofit agencies, with expertise in medication-assisted recovery, co-occurring recovery, and group treatment. He currently works as the executive director at the Connecticut Certification Board. Williams is currently an adviser on all substance use initiatives at the National Council of Behavioral Health. He brings over 16 years of experience in substance abuse treatment services and mental health services integration.

In addition to the keynote and plenary speakers, the conference will include a variety of concurrent sessions on topics such as recovery support, pornography addiction, the impact of social media on adolescents, the relationship between substance use and domestic violence, and more.

“The annual UVU Conference on Addiction is a clearinghouse for information and education on various aspects of addiction,” said Harris. “We need this information. We need this inspiration. And, above all, we need to better understand the addict – and how to actually support them in the best, most impactful, effective ways. The conference is a step in that direction. UVU is proud to be a part of this annual event.”

The UVU Conference on Addiction will be held on March 13, 2020, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Attendees will be able to earn up to five NASW-endorsed CEUs, plus one ethics credit. Registration is $75 and includes parking, lunch, all conference materials, and CEUs. Registration will remain open until March 11 or as long as seats are available. Current UVU students are welcome to attend the conference free of charge.

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