Plenary Sessions

PLENARY-A. Opening Plenary Session 1 (Monday, 7/30/18 (12:00 pm – 2:00pm)  When the Solution is Worse than the Problem:  The Dilemmas of Opioid Addiction

Presenter: John Dyben, DHSC, MCAP, CMHP, ICADC

Description: Opioid substance use disorder is confounding in a number of psycho-neuro-social dimensions, and solutions are never simple. With pressures put on the medical profession not to prescribe opioids past 3-7 days, the “quick fix” of ongoing MAT, and the insistent voice of chronic pain, we look at key issues: current dilemmas and ethics, trauma, age and generation and dual diagnosis.  While the role of the family, Twelve Step support and continuing care all influence relapse prevention, what is authentic recovery? We focus on how the individual fits into holistic treatment today, and how ongoing recovery is realized.


  1. Relate steps in resolving ethical dilemmas in substance abuse treatment.
  2. Explain challenges of older adult opioid and alcohol addiction and treatment that effectively and humanely addresses chronic pain and substance use disorder.
  3. Relate how the patient’s relationship with pain impacts the sensations of pain and quality of life, and how opioids for pain are ineffective over time in all dimensions
  4. Describe the generational, relational and co-morbidity aspects of opioid and alcohol addiction, and effective interventions and collaborative long-term solutions.

(Sponsored by Origins Behavioral Healthcare)

PLENARY-B. Midafternoon Plenary 2 (Monday, 7/30/18 (2:00 pm – 2:45pm)  Outcomes: Why Do They Matter and How Can I Measure Them?

Presenter: Bebe Smith, MSW, LCSW

Description: This session will describe why outcomes are important in evidence-based behavioral health practice, and identify simple strategies to measure outcomes to guide quality practice. Real life examples of collecting useful outcome data will be included in this presentation. At the conclusion of this session attendees should be able to describe why outcomes are important in evidence based practices and describe three simple strategies for measuring outcomes. 

(Sponsored by the NC Evidence Based Practices Center)

NCSAPPB Evidence-Based Treatment (EBT) Approved

PLENARY-C. Afternoon Plenary Session 3 (Monday,7/30/18) (3:30-5:45pm) Understanding Addiction “Science”: Lies, More Lies, and Statistics

Presenters: Al Mooney, MD

Description: In a clinical world of ever increasing emphasis on evidence, substance misuse counselors must possess more skill interpreting science than their profession has previously required. This presentation will introduce the audience to strengths and pitfalls of the evidence which underpins our work. The science behind terms such as “Harm Reduction” and “Pain Management” will be addressed, and important emerging concepts of addiction science coming from recent and often underemphasized neuroscience and pharmacology will be discussed. The audience will be introduced to some simple yet effective tools to independently evaluate scientific investigations as that are made public.

NCSAPPB Evidence-Based Treatment (EBT) Approved

PLENARY-D: Closing Plenary Session 4 (Friday, 8/3/18)( 1:00-2:15pm) Surviving Moral Injury: Learning to Live With the Idea You Are Not a Hero

Presenter: Kindra Bradley, JD; and Joanna Nunez, LCSW

Description:. This session will define and discuss moral injury, as well as examine the history of moral injury in veterans of combat as denoted by historians and artists. Moral injury in the veteran community and moral injury as a significant element of high suicide, substance abuse, divorce rates, etc. in veterans will be explored. My personal struggle with moral injury will be shared, juxtaposing my personal experiences with the symptoms and manifestations of moral injury. The treatment of moral injury will be identified, including what works, what doesn’t work, and what the VA and other organizations are doing to address moral injury.

NCSAPPB Substance Use Disorder and Veterans (SUDV) Approved

Concurrent Plenary Sessions (3.5 hours) 7/31/18 (12:45-4:30pm)


CONCURRENT-A. The Opiate Epidemic: The Politics, Failed Promises, Changes and Progress

Presenter: Robert Martin, JD, CEAP

Description: The opiate epidemic has been constantly in the news. Every major politician has identified we have to do something.  Little specifics have been offered. The death rate continues to rise. Where the death rate has not risen, the number of non- fatal overdoses has dramatically increased.  Saving addicts has become controversial. This course will examine the politics, the profits and the legal changes. The changes in use from prescription drugs to heroin to fentanyl will be explained.  Why does the demand for fentanyl increase even though the likelihood of death in apparent. New promising changes will be examined. Tele-medicine medically assisted treatment will be explained.  New drugs of abuse and methods for distribution will be discussed.

(Sponsored by REM and Associates)


CONCURRENT-B. Ethics in Addiction and Beyond

Presenter: Leslie McCrory, LPCS, LCAS, CCS

Description: Participants will have an opportunity to explore challenges to practice in our field.  Ethical codes will be reviewed briefly and  a comparison of  our different licensures’ code of ethics will be examined.  We will discuss cases on various topics in our field including but not limited to social networking, supervision, boundaries, and other challenging changes in our field.

(An additional .5 hour of NCSAPPB credit is available for participants needing 4 hours ethics – must complete additional assignment; CRCC credit not available for this session)



CONCURRENT-C. Substance Use and Suicide: Theory, Evidence and Opportunity; Panel Discussion – Opioids and Suicide: Community Approaches to Addressing Linked Epidemics

 Presenters: Kenneth R. Conner, PsyD, MPH; Mark Wolfson, Ph.D., Suzanne Mizsur-Porter, Margaret R. Rukstalis, MD

Description: This American Foundation for Suicide Prevention “Research Connection” presentation will be conducted by Dr. Kenneth Conner, an AFSP researcher. Dr. Conner will discuss the link between drug use and suicidal behavior, gaps in understanding the link, and opportunities for prevention and intervention including his newly funded study with hospitalized suicide attempters.

The panel will discuss connections between opioid misuse and suicide from the perspectives of community prevention coalitions, public health and medical experts, and Lived Experience consumers. What do we know? What can we teach one another? How is that knowledge and understanding helping address these linked epidemics in our North Carolina communities? What is working in our communities? What more can we do?

(Sponsored by: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)


CONCURRENT-D. Mindfulness and Yoga in Recovery: Evidence-based Neuroscience

Presenters: Lisa Marzilli, Pharm.D

Description: This presentation will discuss the roots of mindfulness and the commonality of its philosophy to the ancient practices of yoga. Traditional yoga practices include: postures and meditation, direct attention toward one’s health, and acknowledging the spiritual aspects of one’s nature. Mindfulness meditation practices, such as gentle Hatha yoga and mindful-breathing are increasingly being integrated into secular health care settings. Current theoretical models suggest that the skills, insights, and self-awareness learned through yoga and mindfulness practices can target multiple psychological, neural, physiological, and behavioral processes implicated in addiction and relapse. Several small but well designed clinical trials will be reviewed, presenting objective evidence (fMRI) supporting the utility of basic breathing meditation in both long-term practitioners and novice subjects. Current practice applications of mindfulness in various medical settings will be discussed. Ongoing research increasingly supports yoga and mindfulness as promising complimentary therapies for treating and preventing addictive behaviors.

(Sponsored by: Dominion Diagnostics)

NCSAPPB Evidence-Based Treatment (EBT) Approved


CONCURRENT-E. Filling the Void: Intertwining Mental Health with Substance Use to Improve Crisis Intervention for Clients with Co-occurring Disorders

Presenters:  Natasha Holley, LCSW, CSAC, CCS; Mona Townes, LCSW, LCAS, MAC

Description: Counselors and the clients who are served become frustrated with the complicated overlapping of co-occurring disorders. They may have few people in their personal lives that have an understanding and compassion for the complications of their struggle.  Thus, it is crucial that we stay hopeful and encouraging to them. We may be an oasis for them in a desert of support and our engagement can provide them with hope as well as encouragement to continue on their recovery journey.

This training will offer strategies to having a positive, empathetic attitude toward clients’ experiencing co-occurring disorders and how they form the platform on which effective, proactive services can be built. The facilitators will review the most common issues in assessing and treating co-occurring disorders including Anxiety Disorders and Depressive Disorders along with crises associated with them. Additionally, participants will engage in case reviews to apply skills for integrating evidenced based treatment.

(Sponsored by: Trillium Health Resource)

NCSAPPB Psychopathology (PSY) Approved


CONCURRENT-F. Recovering Joy After Addiction [CANCELLED]

Presenter: Oliver J. Johnson, Ph.D., LCSW, LCAS, CCS

Description: This session will highlight the use of evidence-based approaches for promoting personal contentment and joy as a recovering person. We will explore the etiology of negative emotions specific to addiction, the dynamics of facilitating emotional intelligence, particularly with reference to phases of recovery, and strategies for fostering long-term happiness.

NCSAPPB Evidence-Based Treatment (EBT) Approved