Substance Use

A list of titles, brief descriptions and past presenters are provided below. Click here to learn more about our faculty.

Alcohol and High Risking Drinking


Panelists discussed the prevalence and incidence of underage drinking and parents’ legal liability for their teen’s underage alcohol consumption. They also provided ways for parents to influence their child’s decisions to drink underage and prevention strategies.

Dr. Jason Kilmer
Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington
Shelly Marshall
Michael Smith
Program Director, Behavior Sciences and Social Medicine, Florida State University
Dr. Jerry Phelps
Clinical Director, Counseling and Psychological Services, University of California San Diego

Alcohol and High Risk Drinking


Presenters discussed alcohol’s effects on brain function and sleep, risk factors, and warning signs for alcohol addiction. They also described the correlation between high functioning teens and alcohol abuse, the role of peer pressure, and explanations for why teens choose the drink. Finally, the panelists emphasized the importance of role modeling, effective communication, and supportive resources.

Sarah Allen Benton
Co-Owner of Benton Behavioral Health Consulting
Katherine Sancken
Former President, Drug & Alcohol Peer Advisors, Harvard College
Dr. Ryan Travia
Former Director, Office of Alcohol & Other Drug Services, Harvard University

Alcohol’s Implications on the Mind and Body

Panelists discussed recent research on teen cognitive development, the physiological effects of alcohol, and alcohol’s effect on teen memory development. Additionally, experts provided guidance for students on how to navigate situations in which alcohol is present, how to assist their peers who struggle with substance use, and how to be an active bystander.

Dr. Barbara Green
Co-Founder, Center for Integrative Counseling and Wellness
Evita Ochel
Dr. Marisa Silveri
Director, Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health, McLean Hospital

Brain Chemistry and Impact of Alcohol


Panelists discussed alcohol’s impact on the biochemistry of the teen brain, and research research on teen cognitive development. Presenters also provided tips for parents on how to mitigate teen alcohol use.

Jane Jones
Assistant Director, Shaw Wellness Institute, Colgate Institute
Dr. Ryan Travia
Former Director, Alcohol & Other Drug Services, Harvard University
Dr. Edward Wahesh
Associate Professor of Counseling, Villanova University

Drugs and Addictions

Presenters identified drugs most frequently used by adolescents, explained why prescription drug abuse is common among teens, and provided parenting tips to assist parents in preventing teen drug use. They expanded on how a parent’s behavior can impact a teen’s drug use, and gave suggestions for productive conversations between teens and parents about drug abuse.

Dr. Stacy Andes
Director, Office of Health Promotion, Villanova University
Dr. Amelia Arria
Director, Center on Young Adult Health and Development, University of Maryland
Dr. Michael McNeil
Chief of Administration, Columbia Health, Columbia University

Drugs and Addictions


This webinar discussed drugs’ damaging effects on a user’s health. Other topics included ways to recognize a peer’s addictions, ways to help a peer recover from an addiction, and ways to resist peer pressure. Many different types of drugs were discussed including steroids and tobacco.

Brenda Conlon
Prevention Specialist
Dr. John Fleming
Minden Family Care Center
Gladys Smith
Trauma Therapist, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Dr. Mann Spitler
Certified Prevention Professional
Katherine Sancken
Former President, Drug & Alcohol Peer Advisors, Harvard College
Frank Uryasz
Founder, The National Center for Drug Free Sport

Family Dynamics & Addiction


Panelists described family dynamics that can unintentionally perpetuate addiction. The presenters also discussed strategies to support an individual’s recovery and restore hope to those facing addiction.

Simone Keyne
Substance Abuse Specialist
Sandra VanCampen
Owner, Mandala Counseling
Dr. Steven Tsao
Co-Founder, Center for Anxiety & Behavior Therapy

Living on the Edge: Sports, Drugs and Risk-Taking Behaviors

Presenters discussed substance abuse and risk-taking behavior among adolescent athletes. They advocated against the use of steroids, and discussed varying experiences surrounding binge drinking for men and women. Finally, they advised athletes on how to move after their career ends, and educational initiatives for athletes moving forward.

Dr. Yifrah Kaminer
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut
Dr. Toben Nelson
Professor of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota
Dr. Stanley Teitelbaum
Clinical Psychologist

Marijuana: Myths, Motivations, and Medicine


Experts described the myths surrounding marijuana and students’ motivations for using marijuana. They also discussed the ways in which medical marijuana is changing the landscape of what is known about marijuana and how individuals use it.

Katie Dunker
Former Director of Health and Wellness, University of Denver
Dr. Betsy Foy
Health Educator
Dr. Nora Volkow
Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse

The Teen Brain and Today’s Chemical Culture


Panelists discussed alcohol’s effect on the biochemistry of the teen brain and recent research on adolescent cognitive development. They also gave important tips for students on how to navigate the college social scene and prevent substance use.

Dr. Cynthia Kuhn
Professor of Psychiatry, Duke University
Dr. Linda Spear
Professor of Psychology, Binghamton University