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Arrested Development: The Teenage Brain and Substance Abuse

Arrested Development: The Teenage Brain and Substance Abuse

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

The Aspen Brain Forum Foundation

Science Translational Medicine

The New York Academy of Sciences


An archived recording of this event is available via Livestream under "Archived Events" at:

Join us for a panel discussion among the nation's top experts in neurobiology, psychology, and criminal justice that will focus on science-based approaches to address youth alcohol and substance abuse in the U.S. By increasing public knowledge of this issue, every family and community will have the power to help improve the prospects of teenagers as they transition into adulthood.

The panel discussion will be of particular interest to adolescent educators, public and social workers in the addiction treatment or criminal justice systems, pediatricians, neuroscientists, mental health and addiction care providers, other psychologists, community leaders, and parents of teens.

Longitudinal studies have shown that the human brain undergoes structural and functional changes during the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Brain circuitry during this developmental stage is particularly vulnerable to substances of abuse. Teenagers are more likely than adults to experiment with alcohol, cigarettes, and illegal/prescription drugs, and also to develop addictions. Recent research has shown that alcohol and substance abuse during adolescence may have long-term impacts on brain maturation into adulthood.

Although rates of adolescent alcohol and substance use have declined in recent years, both remain pervasive problems in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, by the time they are seniors, almost 70% of high school students will have tried alcohol, half will have taken an illegal drug, nearly 40% will have smoked a cigarette, and more than 20% will have used a prescription drug for a nonmedical purpose. Underlying youth addiction is a complex network of neurological, psychological, social, and political factors that interplay with one another. Changes in the brain's inhibition and reward centers that promote the transition from voluntary to compulsive drug use, psychosocial influences that shape both the process and treatment of addiction, personal family perspectives, and the diversion of eligible, drug-addicted offenders into substance abuse treatment programs by drug courts, exemplify some of these elements.

Featuring special Introductory Remarks from New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray (via video address).

Open to the public with reception to follow. Registration is required.

Special Notice to The Addicted Brain and New Treatment Frontiers Conference Registrants:

This public lecture is part of the conference, The Addicted Brain and New Treatment Frontiers — Sixth Annual Aspen Brain Forum. Registration for this public lecture is not required for conference registrants.


Claudia Wallis

Managing Editor, Scientific American Mind


Honorable Gregory P. Canova, JD

Judge, King County, Washington, Superior Court (2000–2015), King County, Washington, Drug Court (2012–2015)

Jeremy Waletzky, MD

Clinical Professor, The George Washington University

Nora D. Volkow, MD

Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, U.S. National Institutes of Health

Cheryl Healton, PhD

Director, NYU Global Institute of Public Health

Registration Pricing

Member (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$20
Nonmember (Academia)$35
Nonmember (Corporate)$35
Nonmember (Non-profit)$35
Nonmember (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$25


This panel will be presented at no charge via Livestream. To view the Livestream or add it to your calendar, use this link:


* Presentation times are subject to change.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

5:00 PM


5:45 PM

Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Includes special Introductory Remarks from New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray (via video address)

6:00 PM

Public Lecture: Arrested Development—The Teenage Brain and Substance Abuse
Claudia Wallis, Managing Editor, Scientific American Mind
Honorable Gregory P. Canova, JD, King County Superior Court (2000–2015); King County Drug Court (2012–2015)
Cheryl Healton, DrPH, MPA, College of Global Public Health, New York University
Nora D. Volkow, MD, National Institute on Drug Abuse, U.S. National Institutes of Health
Jeremy Waletzky, MD, The George Washington University

7:00 PM


7:45 PM

Public Lecture Adjourns


Claudia Wallis

Scientific American Mind

Ms. Wallis is the Managing Editor of Scientific American Mind, a bimonthly magazine that features stories by leading scientists and top journalists about mental health, psychology, neurology and the workings of the brain. Previously, Ms. Wallis served as science editor, editor-at-large and writer at Time magazine, where she authored 40 cover stories in additional to hundreds of other articles. She was the founding editor of Time for Kids magazines, overseeing the launch in 1995 and growing the circulation to 4 million readers in seven years. A two-time National Magazine Award finalist, Ms. Wallis has won journalism prizes from the American Psychiatric Association, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the Education Writers Association, and the National Women's Political Caucus, among other organizations. Ms. Wallis's work has appeared in The New York Times, Fortune, Parade, Scientific American and Rolling Stone. She graduated summa cum laude from Yale University with a BA in Philosophy and was a 2008–2009 Spencer Fellow at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Before joining Scientific American Mind, Ms. Wallis served as Associate Dean for Strategic Communications at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health.


Honorable Gregory P. Canova, JD

Former Judge, King County Superior Court (2000–2015); King County Drug Court (2012–2015)

Judge Canova earned a JD from the University of Southern California Law School in 1972. He served as private practice attorney from 1972–1974, practicing law for complex civil cases. He handled felony prosecution and supervision of deputy prosecuting attorneys in the Office of the King County Prosecuting Attorney from 1974–1981, performing appellate briefings and oral arguments. In the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Washington, as the Senior Assistant Attorney General, Judge Canova formed and led the Criminal Division to assist local prosecutors, at their request or that of the Governor, in investigation and prosecution of felonies involving white collar crime, corruption, and cases where there was a conflict of interest or insufficient expertise or resources to investigate or prosecute. He also briefed and argued appellate cases in State and Federal Courts. He was elected Judge in 2000, and presided over a wide variety of felony and civil trials and proceedings. He taught for six years at the State Judicial College for new judges; from 2012–2014, Judge Canova presided over Drug Court, a felony diversion court modeled on therapeutic model currently established nationwide. During this tenure, he worked full-time with 275–325 participants suffering from addiction, often with co-occurring disorders), and with staff and outside providers utilizing evidence-based practices. Judge Canova retired in 2015.

Cheryl Healton, DrPH, MPA

Dean, College of Global Public Health, New York University

Dr. Healton is Dean of the College of Global Public Health at New York University. Dr. Healton was the first President and chief executive officer at Legacy Foundation, which was created by the Master Settlement Agreement between the States Attorneys General and the tobacco industry. In this role she worked to further the foundation's mission to build a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. During her tenure with the foundation, she has guided the national youth tobacco prevention counter-marketing campaign, Truth®, which was credited in part with reducing youth smoking prevalence to near record lows. In her capacity as Director at NYU Global Institute of Public Health, she is responsible for building the Institute's academic, service, and research programs in collaboration with partners at NYU and throughout the public health community. The Institute focuses on domestic and international health issues with an emphasis on prevention, systems intervention, and innovation in public health practice.

Nora D. Volkow, MD

Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, U.S. National Institutes of Health

Dr. Volkow is Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the NIH. She pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the effects of drugs in the human brain and has demonstrated that drug addiction is a brain disease. She has published more than 600 scientific articles and edited three books. She has received multiple awards, including membership in the Institute of Medicine, named one of Time magazine's "Top 100 People Who Shape our World", included as "One of the 20 People to Watch" by Newsweek magazine and named "Innovator of the Year" by U.S. News & World Report.

Jeremy Waletzky, MD

Clinical Professor, The George Washington University

Dr. Waletzky is a clinical professor of psychiatry at The George Washington University. He has been in private practice since 1974, specializing in the treatment of patients with bipolar and depressive illnesses. Following the death of his son from a cardiac arrhythmia due to cocaine use, Dr. Waletzky established the Jacob P. Waletzky Award in 2003. Given by the Society for Neuroscience to a young scientist within 15 years of receiving their MD or PhD, the award honors a recipient whose independent basic or clinical research has led to significant conceptual or empirical contributions to the understanding of drug addiction.


For sponsorship opportunities please contact Erick T. Tatro at or 212.298.8648.

Bronze Sponsor

Braeburn Pharmaceuticals

Academy Friends

Addiction Technology Transfer Centers

Gosnold on Cape Cod

The Newport Academy

The Peter G. Dodge Foundation

Grant Support

Indivior Inc. has provided unrestricted funding to support the program.

This event was supported by the National Institute On Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R13DA041813. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Media Partner

Promotional Partners

8th Annual Mississippi Addiction Conference


Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

Addictive Behaviors

Addictive Behaviors Reports

Botec Analysis Corporation

College on Problems of Drug Dependence

The Dana Foundation

Greater NYC Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience

International Journal of Drug Policy

International Society of Addiction Medicine

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

NAADAC – The Association for Addiction Professionals

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.


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