“What you always do before you make a decision is consult. The best public policy is made when you are listening to people who are going to be impacted. Then, once a policy is determined, you call on them to help you sell it.”
— Elizabeth Dole

"On this issue of mental health, you know, one way to think of it is this: If you knew someone who broke their arm, you would help them.  You would make sure they went to the hospital to get a cast.  And after they came home — well, on their way home, you’d probably open the door for them, you’d help them when they got home to get the support they need to heal through the point that they are feeling pain and then just need to heal. We have to do the same when it comes to mental health." Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States (May 2022)

News - 27 Mar 2023

Georgia wins put Schumer in control of Senate, Democrats in charge of committee agenda
The double wins in Georgia put Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in charge of the Senate with the slimmest of majorities, in a big boost to President-elect Joe Biden's agenda. More
Elaine Chao to resign as transportation secretary in wake of riot
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is resigning, a White House official and a person familiar with the situation tell CNN. More
After Capitol riots, AOC demands Cruz, Hawley resign from the Senate
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resigns after Capitol rioting
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced Thursday that she is stepping down from her post, a day after the rioting on Capitol Hill -- making her the latest member of the administration to resign over Trump’s conduct, and the first Cabinet member to do so. More
West Virginia lawmaker under pressure to resign after recording himself storming the US Capitol
A Republican lawmaker from West Virginia is being pressured to resign after posting and then deleting a video from social media of himself storming the nation's Capitol building Wednesday with hundreds of other pro-Trump protesters.  More

Drug and Substance Abuse Among People with Mental Health Disorders:
Tackling the correlation between mental health and abusing drugs and other substances

Key Speakers

Kyle Brewer, Peer Support and Recovery Services Manager for NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals.
Karen Larsen, CEO of the Steinberg Institute
James Tobin, Former Officer and Director of College Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention Programs at Yavapai College
Rebecca Zornick, Deputy Director of the National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory.

This event was held on Wednesday, March 15th 2023.


According to BetterHelp “roughly 50% of individuals with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse. 37% of alcohol abusers and 53% of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness. Of all people diagnosed as mentally ill, 29% abuse alcohol or drugs.” When mental health goes unnoticed, ignored or even undiagnosed, the person is more likely to resort to alcohol and drugs as a means of treating their symptoms. “Alcohol and drugs are often used to self-medicate the symptoms of mental health problems… Alcohol and drug abuse can increase the underlying risk for mental disorders.” As BetterHelp continues to exemplify, alcohol and drug abuse can also lead to developing mental health problems, leading to issues such as isolation, depression, anxiety, and many other disorders. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “serious mental illness is defined by someone over 18 having a diagnosable mental, behavior, or emotional disorder that causes serious functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. Substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home.” The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says that the most abused drugs among people with mental health struggles are opioids, alcohol, and nicotine.

Drug and substance abuse combined with mental health disorders not only affects the person experiencing this obstacle, but also families and friends of the individual, and their environment as the person begins to disengage themselves from their usual social activities and work. The person suffering the effects of mental health and substance/drug abuse begin to isolate themselves from their usual routines. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) highlights as well, the use of drugs can trigger serious mental health illnesses, such as schizophrenia. “Patients with schizophrenia have higher rates of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use disorders than the general population.”  As a response to the rise in drug and substance use during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the government passed the SUPPORT Act, which as SAMHSA explains “the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act of 2018, was made law to address the nation’s opioid overdose epidemic. The legislation includes provisions to strengthen the behavioral health workforce through increasing addiction medicine education; expand access to high-quality care; and cover medicine in a way that facilitates the delivery of coordinated and comprehensive treatment.”

The science community has been increasingly working on integrating science-based evidence and practices into the field of clinical care, particularly in the substance abuse field. While the SUPPORT Act was designated to aid patients that struggle with substance and drug over-use and help people struggling with mental health, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that “about 2 million times each year, people with serious mental illnesses are booked into jails. Nearly 2 in 5 people who are incarcerated have a history of mental illness (37% in state and federal prisons and 44% held in local jails). NAMI continues to say that “many factors have contributed to the criminalization of people with mental illness, including the assumptions that people with mental illness are violent and the lack of a robust mental health crisis response infrastructure. Jails and prisons have become America’s de-facto mental health facilities.”

Keeping this in mind, this symposium seeks to address the gap between policy and how individuals suffering from mental health and substance abuse disorders are aided. We will cover topics such as the rise of substance abuse during COVID-19 and how that led to an increase in mental health disorders, and also discuss the way the current incarceration system addresses mental health and drug abuse with inmates.


  • Examine the relationship between Federal and state mental health architectures to identify gaps in funding or treatment.
  • Discuss the positive impact that expanded access to mental health care through Federal or State programs can have on mental health outcomes and identify ways to build on or replicate policy successes.
  • Raise awareness of the fact that 5-20% of emergency calls to law enforcement are mental health related, and evaluate the feasibility of moving to more specialized crisis response teams.
  • Consider the wider determinants of drug dependence and draw constructive conclusions for further action.
  • Discuss the successes of drug and alcohol prevention programs as a means to decrease crime, improve health, and reduce hospital admissions locally.
  • Share best practice on successfully raising awareness of drug related harm amongst at-risk groups.
  • Plan and implement successful preventative measures.

Who Should Attend?

  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Local, Regional and National Health Services
  • Drug and Alcohol Action Teams
  • Academics and Researchers
  • Community Safety Teams
  • Counselling Services
  • Family Support and Outreach Teams
  • Adult and Community Education Providers
  • Employment Support Teams
  • Educational Psychologists
  • Early Intervention and Prevention Teams
  • Central Government Department and Agencies
  • Prison Management Justice Representatives
  • Police and Crime Commissioners
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Legal Criminal Advisers
  • Campaigning Organizations
  • Local Authority Officers and Councilors
  • Third Sector Practitioners
  • Social Exclusion Officers
  • Pharmaceutical Industry
  • NGOs
  • Behavioral Health/Mental Health Administrators, Coordinators, Providers
  • SUD/Mental Health Clinicians
  • Wellness Providers
  • First Responder Organizations
  • Emergency Services Organizations
  • Law Enforcement
  • Substance Misuse Counselors
  • Recovery Services Staff
  • Sober Living Providers
  • County SUD Administrators and Prevention Coordinators
  • SUD Researchers and Academics
  • SUD Policy and Advocacy Workers
  • AOD Counselors/Case Managers/Support Staff
  • Coalition, Community and Faith-based Organizations
  • Veteran Service Providers
  • DUI Service Providers
  • Health Care Administrators, Planners, Providers
  • School Health Clinicians


This event was held on Wednesday, March 15th 2023.

Sponsorship and Exhibition Opportunities

If you’re interested in promoting your company, products and/or services at our events, please click here to enter your details and we will contact you directly. Alternatively, please call
+1424 258 9080 for more information.

How to Book

+1424 258 9080