Fentanyl was a factor in over 100,000 overdose deaths in 2022 - July 2023 

* Drug Addiction Science and the U.S. Overdose Epidemic
   Wilson Compton, M.D., M.P.E., Deputy Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse Finance
* Fentanyl and the Drug Crisis
   Jaime Zerbe, Chief of Staff, Foundation for Drug Policy Solutions

  • Fentanyl’s ubiquity and potency, alone or mixed with other drugs takes lives, but equally important to SIG members are the shattered lives of workers and children who cannot function properly within the environment of the drug. We will talk about the looming threat from fentanyl and what is being done to counter its spread from China through the Mexican border and elsewhere.

Should Maternal Illicit Drug Use During Pregnancy Be Considered Child Abuse? - November 2022
* Should Illicit Drug Use During Pregnancy Be Considered Child Abuse?
   Nancy Young, Children and Family Futures & Project Director, National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare

Best Practices in Addiction Treatment and the Changing Landscape of Marijuana Use​​ - June 2022
* Improving Addiction Treatment
   William Compton, Deputy Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse
* Lessons Learned in Legalized States
   Luke Niforatos, Smart Approaches to Marijuana

  • Addiction treatment is often inaccessible to those who need it. Further, treatment programs that are available frequently fail to provide quality care. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has identified 13 principles of effective treatment based on practice and research findings.  Most states use addiction treatment vendors or state hospitals to administer treatment programs.  But are they using the most effective approaches?  How can states monitor and use performance contracting to addiction treatment vendors to improve results?
  • The second part will describe three new studies which highlight the danger of legalizing marijuana:
    Study 1: Largest-Ever Commercial Marijuana Study Reveals Widespread Mislabeling Issues Among State-Legal Products
    Study 2: Marijuana is associated with significantly increased risk for many health conditions, especially behavioral health and HIV
    Study 3: Marijuana vaping, especially very frequent use, is on rise among U.S. adolescents; highly associated with other drug use.

Parental Drug Use and its Consequences​​ - June 2022
*  SIG Child Welfare Day
    Sarah Font, Pennsylvania State University
* Parental Drug Use
   Nancy Young, Children and Family Futures

  • Drugs have been estimated to be the primary or contributing factor in three quarters of child welfare cases in New York City and other urban areas, and informal estimates are even higher.  Child welfare directors are reporting that the severity and effects of parental drug use are increasing.   Family drug courts can help motivate parents to recover, but they should be paired with known principles of treatment.  State child welfare agencies should be at the forefront of testimony about the effects of drugs on families and from their informed positions should be advocates in efforts to reduce the spread of legalization of soft and hard drugs.

Drugs - - The Demand and Supply - November 2021
* Addressing Mental and Substance Use Disorders in the United States
   Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, Chief Medical Officer, RI Slater Hospital

  • Dr. McCance-Katz served as Assistant Secretary Substance Abuse and Mental  Health Administration (SAMHSA) and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency  (DEA), having held positions in both Trump and Biden administrations.  
    With her extensive knowledge both academic and practical on drug use and  government policy, Ellie McCance-Katz will discuss the current state of play in this  national issue in which much of what is known about the use and treatment is not  prominent in the movements toward acceptance and legalization. Interviews with foster parents suggest that there are very few cases of children in  the system that don’t involve substance abuse, not even considering the hundreds of  thousands of children who are in the care of a single parent or other guardian  because of a mother or father’s drug use. In a recent paper from the National Bureau  of Economic Research, three professors estimated that “if drug abuse had remained  at 1996 levels, 1.5 million fewer children aged 0-16 would have lived away from a  parent in 2015.” Decriminalization efforts will likely exacerbate these problems.

Standard treatment alone is insufficient if it makes no demands for action on the drug dependent personality.  A proven alternative. - August 2021

* Work Works America: A Comprehensive Model

   Isabel McDevitt, Executive Vice President, The Doe Fund

  • We will hear about the Work Works model as a solution to address homelessness, recidivism and addiction. Ready Willing & Able, the original Work Works location in New York, is a 12-month residential program combining paid work in social enterprises, workforce development training, continuing education, and sobriety. It is the first program to combine paid work with comprehensive support services to help people with histories of substance abuse, homelessness and incarceration get onto the economic ladder and into mainstream housing. We will meet with individuals who have benefitted from the program in New York City who will describe how they overcame their condition with a combination of commitment to sobriety and work. The Work Works model has been adapted in six communities across the country and ready to be scaled nationally.

​Holiday Time in Oregon - November 2020
Marijuana, Psilocybin, Oregon Measure 110: Where We Go From Here
Luke Niforatos, Executive Vice President, Smart Approaches to Marijuana

Medical Marijuana - July 2019

Cannabis/Cannabinoids: What the Science Tells Us
   Dr. Jack Stein, Chief of Staff, National Institute on Drug Abuse
Lessons Learned from Medical Marijuana Legalization in Other States
   Garth Van Meter, Vice President of Government Affairs, Smart Approaches to Marijuana

  • Medical marijuana has been used as the gateway to state recreational legalization ever since Gorge Soros was reported to have told his employees “start with medical marijuana”. It has been a spectacularly successful strategy. But leaving the strategy aside, is there any basis for the claim that for certain symptoms there are no FDA approved safe and effective alternatives to marijuana?

Update on Marijuana Legalization - November 2018

The Current Landscape
   Garth VanMeter, Vice-President of Federal Affairs, SAM

  • Our human services and workforce departments are overwhelmed by the consequences of drug use, hard, soft and prescription.   As it relates to marijuana, never has a society adopted widespread legal use of a mind altering drug which is known to reduce mental functioning, parental care, and dedication to employment, since the British Empire forced China to permit commercial distribution of opium. 

Trump Drug Policy - December 2017

The Opioid Epidemic: HHS Response

   Chris Jones, Acting Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary (Science and Data Policy), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and ​        ​     

   Evaluation, HHS
Marijuana: Impacts on the Opioid Crisis and the Workforce
   Garth VanMeter, Vice-President of Federal Affairs, SAM

  • By the time of our meeting, the Trump administration be near publication of its National Drug Control Strategy paper.  The administration is also considering an anti-drug media campaign, and opioid addiction is one of three HHS high priorities.  Separately, the Food and Drug Administration is considering taking on as an issue the alleged “science” behind medical marijuana.  It is essential that our democratic society converge to confront this fatal growing infection.

Operating a Recovery House without Subsidies - December 2017

Where Work Works
   Bill McGrahan, Founder, Georgia Works!

  • With a philosophy periodically touted, rarely tried and almost never achieved, Georgia Works is a drug recovery home that accepts no government funds yet earns an operating profit from fees paid by working residents.  The 130 residents must work 40 hours, pay for living expenses and services (including case management) from their own earnings and move out once they have permanent employment. Before being accepted, residents must be handout free - - e.g. no Food Stamps or disability. About 80% are employed and off drugs at the two-year mark.  

Marijuana and Employee Productivity - July 2017

Cannabis: What We Know and What Keeps Us Up at Night
   Dr. Susan Weiss, Director, Division of Extramural Research, Office of Science Policy, National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH
Marijuana and Employee Productivity
   Jeffrey Zinsmeister, Executive Vice President, Smart Approaches to Marijuana & Senior Fellow, University of Florida Drug Policy Institute

  • The two most commonly heard comments in employer focus groups are “I can’t find reliable workers” and “I can’t find applicants who can pass the drug test”.  Marijuana use, legal and illegal, has major negative effects on economic productivity, unemployment, and family functioning. Where recreational use is legal, employers increase testing because they are faced with lower employee dedication to their job, higher illness and injury, and twice the level of absenteeism, voluntary and otherwise.  Our society appears poised to add a third legal mind-altering drug to tobacco and alcohol. Is this a good idea? This session takes a steely-eyed look at the scientific evidence and the predictable consequences of large scale use of the drug in schools and the workplace.  We will discuss what workforce directors can do in their states to mitigate these effects.    

Criminal Justice - Substance Abuse and Work - July 2017

Overview of Swift Certain Fair—Principles, Practices, and Innovations
   Sandy F. Mullins, JD, Marron Institute of Urban Management, New York University
BetaGov: Innovate with Us
   Jonathon Stewart, Research Scholar, Marron Institute of Urban Management & Chief of Staff, Litmus, New York University

  • Workforce directors interact with the state and local criminal justice systems around probation and parole, which often include requirements to work and stay off drugs.  This session will describe the randomized controlled trial of Hawaii's Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) program which produced big positive impacts on recidivism and is now deployed in many places across the country.  The program was initiated by Judge Steven Alm in 2004 and its distinctive feature is that it seeks to reduce crime and drug use through swift-and-certain-sanctions to manage high-risk probationers. Former US Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske identified HOPE as the most promising initiative that "not only prevents recidivism, but also actively assists individuals to transition to productive lives."

Substance Abuse, mental health and returning offenders - November 2016

Moral Reconation Therapy
   Dr. Kenneth Robinson, President, Correctional Counseling

  • Moral Reconation Therapy or MRT, is a premiere cognitive-behavioral program for substance abuse treatment, mental health, welfare and offender populations which has been tested for over 30 years.  More than 120 published outcome studies show that, in comparison to appropriate controls, MRT treated offenders have re-arrest and re-incarceration rates between 25% to 75% lower than otherwise expected.   Along with its lower recidivism rates the program, when applied to welfare and mental health, leads to increased participation rates, increased program completion rates, decreased disciplinary infractions, and desirable personality changes. 

Marijuana - June 2016​

Marijuana and Health
   Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM)
What Can We Do in Our Own States
   Sue Rusche, President, National Families in Action
Lessons from Colorado (Statistics from post-legalization in Colorado)

Marijuana Fast Facts​ (Sheet of various facts regarding marijuana )

  • The Drug Enforcement Agency announced April 6th it intends to decide whether to reduce the status of marijuana from a category one substance (highest) to lower.  Meanwhile Colorado’s decision to legalize is wreaking havoc. America could be about to deliver a deadly wound to the next generation.  What we can do about it. 

Marijuana -November 2015

*Marijuana: What Does Science Tell Us?         
   Dr. Jack Stein, Director, Office of Science Policy and Communications, National Institute on Drug Abuse 
The Coalition Approach to Reducing Marijuana’s Impact
   Sue Thau, Public Policy Director, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
State-Level Marijuana Legalization: Myths and Facts
Why We Believe Marijuana is Dangerous
Want to Legalize Marijuana? Colorado School Counselor Would Like to Have a Word with You
Year One of Colorado's Marijuana Law
Colorado's Marijuana Industry Violates Federal Law and Even Obama Guidelines
   John Walters, Chief Operating Officer, Hudson Institute; & former cabinet member and director of White House Office of National Drug Control

   Policy (ONDCP) second Bush Administration

  • Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows regular marijuana use among teens 17 and under retards the development of the hippocampus (the brain switchyard); reduces IQ as much as 8 points; and sets back development of the frontal cortex. In addition to these physiological changes, use while in school reduces concentration and motivation  Reports from high school teachers in Colorado post-legalization are not promising.  Why is the legalization movement sweeping the country and what can we do about it?

​Substance Abuse - November 2015

Opioid Medication Assisted Treatment
   John Wernert, Secretary, Indiana Family and Social Services Agency    
Indiana Initiatives Addressing Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction
​    Chris Johnson, Chief of Staff, Indiana Family and Social Services Agency
Executive Order 15-09: Addressing Indiana's Drug Abuse Crisis
Indiana Pain Management Prescribing Final Rule

Marijuana - June 2015

Marijuana Health Effects on the Brain and Body
   Dr. Nora Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse
Marijuana Issues​         
   Kevin Sabet, Director, Drug Policy Institute and former Senior Advisor, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
The Coalition Approach to Reducing Marijuana's Impact
   General Arthur Dean, Chairman and CEO, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, U.S. Army, Retired
* Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use
NIDA Review Summarizes Research on Marijuana's Negative Health Effects
Conflict Between State and Federal Laws Testimony
What Will Legal Marijuana Cost Employers?   
Marijuana Legalization Issues     

Marijuana and School Failure

  • Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows regular marijuana use among teens 17 and under retards the development of the hippocampus (the brain switchyard); reduces IQ as much as 8 points; and sets back development of the frontal cortex. In addition to these physiological changes, use while in school reduces concentration and motivation  Reports from high school teachers in Colorado post-legalization are not promising.  Why is the legalization movement sweeping the country and what can we do about it?

Conference Materials: Drug Abuse and its Effects

**To view power point presentations and supporting materials, click on * bold, underlined title.

Secretaries' Innovation Group