New perspectives and approaches in treating addictions were the focus of the Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute's 9th annual conference, Discovering Hope: Understanding Addictions. More than 300 participants attended the conference, held May 23 at Beth Emet Synagogue in Evanston, Ill., to hear from three expert panelists and to participate in discussion sessions.
The guest speakers, introduced by Dr. Carroll Cradock, president of TCSPP's Chicago Campus, included three panelists with both personal and professional experience in addiction.
Dr. Sheldon Miller, editor of the American Journal on Addictions, presented a history of developments in the field of addiction over the last 40 years. He discussed his work on a Navajo reservation in the 1960's when individuals had to be drug free before they could enter treatment. Dr. Miller highlighted new advances in the field, such as an immunization for cocaine that is currently in development.
Mark Sanders, a faculty member of the Addictions Program at Governors State University, touched on personal experiences, including his father's death from a cocaine addiction. Sanders said that over his 28 years in the field, he found that the most important ingredient needed for recovery is love.
Kathleen Kane-Willis, interim director of Roosevelt University's Institute for Metropolitan Affairs and founder/ director of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, shared her struggles with a heroin addiction and her long road to recovery. Kane-Willis discussed the difficulties that those seeking help for addictions are currently experiencing as treatment centers face severe budget cuts and possible closings.
Participants also had the opportunity to take part in discussion groups on a variety of topics such as personal recovery stories, the impact of addiction on the brain and body, advances in medication-assisted addiction treatment, and the effect of addiction in women.
The conference received much praise from participants who found it to be both a meaningful and informative experience.