2023 UVU Conference on Addiction 

Reading Time: 2 minutes On March 3, UVU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences hosted a conference about addiction recovery. “It was our biggest addiction-focused conference ever,” said Candida Johnson, head of marketing.

A picture taken in UVU's grand ballroom. People sit at round tables around the room while a speaker presents on the stage.Reading Time: 2 minutes

For the past 14 years, UVU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences has held a conference once every semester focused on mental health featuring various topics of focus. This semester’s conference concentrated on addiction recovery.

The conference ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., offered multiple speakers, and featured breakout sessions on various different topics.

“It has over 800 attendees … It’s our biggest addiction-focused conference ever,” shared Candida Johnson, head of marketing for the college of humanities. “The purpose of the conference is to share resources with the communities and providers.”

In correlation with her claim, the conference also boasted representation from various medical providers with addiction recovery programs, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Association of Utah Substance Abuse Professionals, Changes Parent Support Network, Charlie Health, Cirque Lodge, Highland Ridge Hospital, Narcotics Anonymous, Newport Healthcare, UVU’s Substance Use Disorder Counseling Certificate program and others.

Keynote speakers included Tom Arnold, comedian, and man twenty years sober from an addiction to painkillers, and Lipi Roy, medical director at Housing Works in New York City, as well as an assistant professor at NYU Langone Health.

Arnold spoke on his recovery from addiction, using it as a source of hope to inspire others. Alternately, Roy discussed some of the mechanics behind increased substance abuse in recent years, tying it to COVID-19 and other cultural issues.

Other topics from various speakers included: how childhood experiences affect substance abuse, harm reduction as a guide for substance abuse, the connection between substance abuse and suicide, positive methodology in addiction treatment, and addiction in work environments.

Students also had the opportunity to share short presentations on posters they had created, detailing aspects of addiction recovery. These presentations were done by graduate students and offered both pre-recorded and live presentation mediums.

The conference also rewarded attending professionals with continuing education units, which allow practicing clinicians to keep their current licenses. Up to eighteen possible units could have been earned at the conference.

The next mental health conference will be held on October 6th, replacing the bi-annual conferences with larger annual ones. 
For more information regarding addiction services provided at UVU, look here.