I am taking a brief break from my ongoing Blog Series about the Ten Reasons for the Heroin Epidemic to highlight some special people doing great work in the field of Addiction. I had the distinct pleasure to meet and talk with them at the recent American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Conference in Austin, TX. I shared ideas and passions with Representative Patrick Kennedy (3rd from Left) & Dr, Kevin Sabet (3rd from Right) - leaders of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM); Penny Mills (2nd from Left) – Executive VP and CEO ASAM; Dr. Stuart Gitlow (2nd from Right) – President of ASAM; and Gary Mendell (Not in photo) - Founder of Shatterproof. We discussed issues of reducing stigma and changing hearts and minds about best approaches to prevent and treat addiction and how my book (written as a murder mystery/legal thriller to entertain while educating through the back door) can be used to reach a wide segment of society that may not otherwise understand the magnitude of a scourge that knows no socioeconomic boundaries. I look forward to further collaboration with The Kennedy Forum, SAM and Shatterproof.
I am also looking forward to using my “Novel” approach of Addiction On Trial as a launching pad to discuss the issues related to the need for expanded medical school education about addictive illnesses and to highlight the binge drinking and marijuana use amongst medical students. I have been invited to talk to 35 Medical School Curriculum Deans in Charlotte, NC on May 8th at the Coalition on Physician Education in Substance use Disorders (COPE).
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention that ASAM honored Bess O'Brien with the 2015 Media Award for her documentary The Hungry Heart during the ASAM meeting in Austin, TX. “The Hungry Heart has been recognized for its intimate look at the often hidden world of prescription drug addiction through the world of Vermont pediatrician Fred Homes, who works with patients struggling with this disease.”
As a reminder, please continue to pass the word that I am still Skyping in to groups and book clubs to discuss my novel and/or to chat about the disease of addiction. And a special thanks to the 96 readers who have posted Amazon Reviews of my book. I am overwhelmed by the positive comments and 4.9 rating, but most appreciative of the impact the book seems to be making.