Keynote Speaker: Maia Szalavitz, Award-Winning Neuroscience Author, Journalist & Mental Health Advocate
Maia Szalavitz is an award-winning author and journalist who covers addiction and neuroscience. Her most recent book, Undoing Drugs: The Untold Story of Harm Reduction and the Future of Addiction, is the first history of the movement aimed at focusing drug policy on minimizing harms, not highs. Her previous New York Times bestseller, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction wove together neuroscience and social science with her personal experience of heroin addiction to explore how reframing addiction as a learning disorder can transform prevention, treatment and policy. It won the 2018 media award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She writes regularly for The New York Times and has written for numerous other publications including TIME, Wired, Elle, The Nation, Vice, The Guardian and Scientific American.
Her 2006 book, Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids, was the first to expose the damage caused by “tough love” youth treatment and helped spur Congressional hearings. She has also authored or co-authored five other books, including the classic on child trauma, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, with Dr. Bruce D. Perry. With Dr. Perry, she has also written Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential—And Endangered, which laid out why empathy is essential for social trust and how inequality can erode it. With Dr. Joseph Volpicelli, she wrote Recovery Options: The Complete Guide, the first evidence-based guide to addiction treatment.
Maia Szalavitz's work speaks to people with addiction, their family members, policy makers, concerned community members, politicians, treatment providers, physicians, social service agencies affected by mental illness and addiction, university communities, criminal justice officials and others who want to improve the way we prevent, treat and manage drug problems.