Addiction Studies Program for Journalists Workshop
June 13-14, 2008
San Juan, Puerto Rico
The June 2008 Workshop of the Addiction Studies Program for Journalists, held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, was sponsored by Wake Forest University School of
Medicine, National Families in Action, and the Treatment Research Institute.
|June 2008 Participating Journalists
Health Reporter, Las Vegas Sun,
Marshall Allen spent five years in the
ministry and earned a master's degree
in theology before becoming a
journalist in Los Angeles. Mr. Allen
has worked at the Glendale News-
Press and Pasadena Star-News,
where he wrote about crime and
religion - the "sin and salvation"
beat. In 2006, he came to the Las
Vegas Sun where he now covers
health care. Allen's 2007 body of
work placed second nationally in the
Association of Health Care Journalists'
beat reporting contest. His
journalism has also been recognized
by the Best of the West contest, the
Associated Press, the Los Angeles
Press Club, the Nevada Press Association,
the Religion Newswriters
Association, and with a 2007 Casey
Staff Writer, Navy Times, Springfield,
Chris Amos has been a reporter at
the Navy Times in Springfield, Virginia,
since May 2006. He covers
criminal justice, health care, aviation,
and the Navy Reserve. Prior to coming
to the Navy Times, he was a
reporter at the Carroll County Times
in Westminster, Maryland, for two
years. While there, he covered
county government and courts. He
is a graduate of Howard University
and the University of Michigan Law
School and is originally from Charlotte,
Medical Editor & Senior Reporter,
WVEC-TV, Norfolk, Virginia.
Kathryn Barrett has spent the last 25
years at WVEC-TV, the ABC News
affiliate in Norfolk. Kathryn's international
assignments have taken her to
Iraq, Germany, Croatia, Honduras,
Thailand, Vietnam, China, Italy and
Spain. She received an Emmy Award
in 2000 for "Operation Smile: Helping
Honduras," a series of reports on the
Norfolk-based international medical
mission. In 2006, she was embedded
with the U.S. Air Force at a combat
hospital north of Baghdad to produce
the series, "Healing the Heroes:
America's War Wounded," which
received an Emmy nomination, a
2007 Clarion Award from the Association
of Women in Communications,
and recognition from the Association
of Health Care Journalists.
She holds a BA in speech communications-
broadcasting from Penn State University.
Michael L. Biesecker
Staff Writer, The News & Observer,
Durham, North Carolina.
Michael L. Biesecker, 35, has been a
staff writer at The News & Observer
in Raleigh, North Carolina, since
2003. He recently completed an
investigative series on failed mental
health reforms in the state that
found $400 million in wasted government
money and 82 questionable
deaths in an overwhelmed and underfunded
system of state psychiatric
hospitals. A reporter for 12 years,
his 2006 reports about a coverup by
the City of Durham's municipal water
department of widespread lead contamination
was part of a series of
stories named as a finalist for national
prizes in investigative and
environmental reporting. Biesecker
also teaches courses in journalism at
North Carolina State University.
Elisabeth K. Bonis
Medical Reporter, WKRC-TV, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Liz Bonis is a registered dietitian,
certified personal trainer, and former
diabetes educator with a Masters
Degree in Public Communication and
Radio Television News from Syracuse
University. She is currently employed
as a national radio and television
health and medical reporter for Clear
Channel Communications and Newport
Television. Liz is the former host
of the weekend call-in health program,
"Lighten Up with Liz" and the
"Liz and Carson Morning Show." She
currently publishes an on-line newsletter
which can be found at
www.Lightenupwithliz.com. She is
also the former writer of a monthly
newsletter and holds seminars
across the country on weight management,
women's health, diabetes
management, fitness and nutrition,
and foods for better health.
Medical Reporter, Baltimore Sun,
Jonathan Bor has covered medicine
and public health for the Baltimore
Sun for the past 20 years. He has a
particular interest in inner-city health
issues ranging from HIV and sexually
transmitted diseases to drug addiction
and violence. Last year, he
wrote a series on the link between
addiction, prostitution, and the
spread of HIV in inner-city Baltimore.
Jonathan previously worked for
newspapers in upstate New York.
He is a native of Washington, D.C.
José de la Isla
Columnist, Scripps Howard News
Service, Houston, Texas.
José de la Isla’s columns appear in
about 142 newspapers around the
United States, and in print and Websites
in the Dominican Republic, Honduras,
Ecuador, United Kingdom,
Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and
Uruguay. His features, columns, and
op-ed pieces have appeared in publications
serviced by Los Angeles
Times Syndicate and the Chicago
Tribune Media Group. His work has
also appeared in the Houston Chronicle,
The Houston Post, Texas Magazine,
ArtLies, and the e-zine Tertulia.
He wrote The Rise of Hispanic Political
Power (Archer Books, 2003), a
book that has become a classic in its
field about the Latino role in national
politics, dating back to the 1960s. He
holds two master’s degrees—one
from the University of Oregon and
the other from the University of California
Senior Producer, Information Television
Network, Boca Raton, Florida.
Penelope Douglas has been with
Information Television Network since
1995. In that time she’s produced
many award-winning documentaries
that have aired on Discovery Health
Channel, PBS stations, and in syndication
in 48 countries around the
world. The programs included a
parenting series on Discovery Health
Channel that addressed the health
issues of children in the United
States that won a Freddie Award for
Children’s Health. Her woman’s
health series on PBS won an American
Women in Radio and Television
Gracie Allen award (the Gracie) for
best National Network documentary
series. An hour-long special shot in
Tokyo and Shanghai on building the
world’s tallest skyscraper won a New
York Festivals gold award. Before
joining ITN, she was a local television
reporter and line producer in
markets as diverse as Anchorage,
Alaska, and West Palm Beach.
Anthony J. Gottschlich
Reporter, Dayton Daily News, Dayton, Ohio.
Anthony J. Gottschlich is a health
care and general assignment reporter
for the Dayton Daily News.
Prior to joining the Daily News in late
2002, Gottschlich worked for the
Springfield News-Sun, where he won
several awards for his investigative
reporting on local charities. A Dayton
native, he holds bachelor’s and master’s
degrees from The Ohio State
University. The 10-year reporting
veteran also teaches media writing
at the University of Dayton.
Producer, ScienCentral News, Fulton, New York.
In her nearly two decades as a science
journalist, Joyce Gramza’s stories
have been seen by many millions of
local and network TV news viewers
nationwide, as well as Web, national
magazine, and local newspaper audiences.
Over the past ten years she
has written, produced, assigned, edited,
and shot science news for the
Manhattan-based ScienCentral News,
a public service company dedicated to
providing news and education about
science research to regular folks. She
has considerable experience covering
the neuroscience and genetics beats,
and has also blogged about mentalhealth
issues as they affect her community
and family. Joyce has a BS in
chemistry as well as an MA in journalism
from New York University’s science,
health and environmental reporting
Associate Producer, ABC News Medical
Unit, ABCNEWS.com, New York, New York.
Aina Hunter is an associate producer
for ABC’s Medical Unit. A former
Village Voice staff writer and health
columnist, Ms. Hunter is a contributor
to Multiculturalism in the New
Japan: Crossing the Boundaries
Within (Berghahn Books, 2008);
Transculturalism: How the World is
Coming Together (True Publications
2004); and was a Livingston Award
finalist for an investigative feature
published by Village Voice Media's
Cleveland Scene Magazine in 2004.
She has received several national
journalism awards since taking an
MS from Columbia Graduate School
of Journalism in 2003. She did her
undergraduate work in Japanese at
Reporter, Press-Register, Mobile, Alabama.
Brendan Kirby has worked as a reporter
for daily newspapers for more
than a decade. For the last eight
years, he has served in a variety of
capacities as a reporter for the Press
-Register in Mobile, including the last
three covering federal courts and
corrections issues. His work has
been recognized by the Alabama
Press Association, the Associated
Press Managing Editors competition,
and the Press Club of Mobile. He
was a 2004 fellow at the Institute for
Justice and Journalism at the University
of Southern California, for which
he produced a series of stories exploring
the impact of increased paroles
on Alabama and its prisons.
Wendy Harris Magas
Reporter, The Post-Crescent, Appleton,
Wendy Harris Magas is a reporter for
The Post-Crescent newspaper in
Appleton, Wisconsin, where she
specializes in computer-assisted
reporting and also writes about
health and social issues. Prior to
moving to Wisconsin four years ago,
Wendy spent 10 years of her journalism
career in Washington state,
where she worked for the Yakima
Herald-Republic and then The
Spokesman-Review in Spokane.
Harris, a 1990 graduate of the University
of Michigan, is now pursuing
an associate’s degree in information
technology at Fox Valley Technical
Graduate Student, University of North
Carolina-Chapel Hill, Carrboro, North Carolina.
Prashant Nair is the fourth recipient of
the Pfizer minority medical journalism
scholarship in the Medical Journalism
Program at the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill. A native of
India, Prashant earned an integrated
master’s degree in life sciences from
Bharathidasan University, India, in
2000. He went on to do a PhD in
biochemistry at the Friedrich Miescher
Institute in Basel, Switzerland before
obtaining his doctorate from the University
of Basel in 2004. Following a
two-year post-doctoral stint in cell
biology at the University of Geneva,
Switzerland, Prashant decided to pursue
his foremost passion: science
writing, with a specific focus on health
and medical issues. Prashant has a
basic research background and an indepth
understanding of the scientific
enterprise. He hopes to bring this
edge to his science journalism.
M. Alexander (Alex) Otto
Medical Reporter, Tacoma News
Tribune, Tacoma, Washington.
Alexander Otto began his career with
a journalism degree from Syracuse
University but then trained as a physician
assistant at George Washington
University before returning to
journalism as a medical reporter.
While working for a pharmacists’
magazine, Otto became “alarmed”
by drug industry practices and began
freelancing investigative pieces to
The Washington Post and other
outlets. Most recently he has been
the staff medical reporter for the
News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington,
covering drug addiction, among
other topics. His work has won
several awards, including recognition
from the Society of Professional
Journalists. Alex recently won a
Knight Science Journalism Fellowship,
and will be spending the 2008-
09 academic year studying at Harvard
University and the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology.
Elizabeth M. Piazza
Master’s Degree Candidate, Philip
Merrill College of Journalism, University
of Maryland, New Market, Maryland.
Kate Elizabeth Queram
Graduate Student, Philip Merrill College
of Journalism, University of
Maryland, Middleton, Wisconsin.
Producer, KLRU-TV, Austin, Texas.
M. Elena Ramirez is an Emmy nominated
producer and director for
KLRU, the PBS Station in Austin
Texas. She has more than 12 years
of experience directing promotional
spots, handling live television events,
and producing weekly public affairs
programs such as Austin at Issue,
Austin Now, town hall meetings,
political debates, and a live production
of The Point with Greta Van
Susteren for CNN. She holds two
Bachelor Degrees from the University
of Texas at Austin, one in radio,
television, and film, and the other in
Associate Producer, House Call w/
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Atlanta, Georgia.
Sabriya Rice is associate producer
for medical news at CNN where she
writes and produces a weekly oneminute
segment of medical news
headlines called The Pulse for air on
Weekend House Call with Dr. Sanjay
Gupta. Fluent in Spanish and conversational
in French, she has a
background in both broadcast and
online story telling. Before her work
with Dr. Gupta, she researched and
pitched medical stories for air on
Anderson Cooper 360 and Paula
Zahn. She oversees the production
and editing of medical news packages
and writes articles and blogs for
Staff Writer, The Independent
Weekly, Durham, North Carolina.
Mosi Secret graduated from Harvard
University in 2002 and learned narrative
journalism at the academy for
alternative journalism at Northwestern
University. After brief stops at
the Village Voice and the Houston
Press, he joined the staff of the Independent,
a weekly newspapercovering Raleigh, Durham and
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 2005.
He covers criminal justice and local
politics, and any other good stories
he can find. He is a finalist in the
Society of Professional Journalists'
Green Eyeshade Award contest this
year and won the Casey Medal for
Meritorious Journalism last year.
The North Carolina Press Association
awarded him first place for news
feature writing in 2006 and first
place for investigative reporting in 2007.
Reporter, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma
Susan Simpson has worked at The
Oklahoman newspaper for five years,
after spending five years with The
Associated Press in Dallas. She covers
higher education, but also has
covered health and medicine and
social issues. She lives in Oklahoma
City and is a graduate of the University
of Central Oklahoma.
What Journalists Said about the June 2008 Workshop
On the history of drug abuse and addiction in
--Very insightful, some real surprises, well-presented.
--My fave part of the day. Visuals were great and the info was very interesting and surprising.
--Very interesting presentation. I liked Sue’s style and her willingness to carefully explain the history and yet make it interesting.
--Knowledgeable presenter; lively discussion.
--I really did love how accessible he was.
--Provocative discussion of the concepts of prevention.
--I thought Chris had an easy-to-grasp engaging
manner and I found the topic interesting.
On pharmacological terms
--Great background knowledge that cleared up somemisconceptions.
--Excellent job of explaining how drugs work in the
brain by using graphic artwork and “Bobby” so that
even I could grasp these scientific explanations!
--Very interesting graphics! Good artistry! Helped to
explain some of the tough-to-understand topics.
On the neurobiology of addiction
--Slides (pictures) were helpful in visualizing and understanding the biology.
--Hard to find room for improvement. Very well organized and presented.
--This is the cornerstone of the conference. Is addiction a moral failing or a disease of the brain? And it was well handled.
--A very informative section. Black and white film ofthe monkey was effective in illustrating the powerful force of addiction.
--Excellent comparison with heart disease.
--Very helpful info! I found this presentation so interesting! Really fascinating stuff!
On proposed database to connect with the experts
--This was probably the most useful part of today,
--I am excited about the database. My only complaint is a lament that it’s not presently available.
On a personal view of addiction
--Great speaker. Giving insight into the human element of addiction should help journalists key in on interview techniques and styles.
--An excellent presentation. Raw. Authentic. And eyeopening for people who do not know addiction firsthand. I appreciated Susan’s candor.
--Thanks to Susan for her candor. It helps to see how someone so prominent could be dealing with these issues. I kept wanting for her to give me a happy ending, where she regained all she had lost. It never came. That showed that these illnesses are devastating for everyone.
--It takes a lot to move a roomful of journalists to
absolute silence and tears. Susan had that ability. Jaw-dropping.
On the effectiveness of treatment
--Good stuff! I particularly liked his pointing out the
contrast between the way physician health plans deal with addiction compared to what’s available to the rest of us.
--By showing us all the things wrong with the system, Tom gave us great leads for stories/investigations. Great talk.
--One of the highest compliments a TV journalist can give someone is he/she is a talking soundbite. Tom McLellan is an interviewer’s dream – putting complex science into simple concepts and language Tom McLellan is a talking soundbite
--Excellent. Exactly what I had hoped to get from this meeting.
On treating drug offenders
--I wish we had more time allotted for this presentation in order to answer all the questions and cover all
the material. Doug is an engaging speaker with great humor. This is key info on policy and can lead to great stories.
--Great practical advice – good subject knowledge
one of the best at giving appropriate steps for intervention.
--This is the matrix I needed to help re-frame how to
look at and how to address issues, and maybe reforms.
On scientifically reliable Internet resources
--Such great resources. Wish I had my laptop with
me right now to start going thru the sites. Sue has a
great presence and is so efficient!
--The flash drive and examples are terrific. Appreciate the clarity and discussion.
--Good Websites to visit to learn more. I didn’t know
--I needed these resources, especially concerning
references to new approaches such as Parent Corps. I also need references to national, regional budgets.
On treatment medications
--♥ [A hand-drawn heart!] He’s so knowledgeable
and quite a soothing speaker with great stories and
--Again, great information from a world-class expert.
--Excellent presentation for the type of information
we can turn into stories.
--Very knowledgeable source. Will certainly tap him
as a continued source in future.
On a word from the director of the National
Institute on Drug Abuse
--Nora was great.
--I thought she did a good job, but would love to
hear more from her. She’s an excellent speaker.
--Fun review of messages! Helped it all sink in!
--I want to follow up especially about the introduction of adaptation and evolution to this discussion.
On the consequences of smoking
--Gender specific medicine is great field. Would appreciate more of it.
--I would love to know more about all health aspects of Native-American Cultures.
—Great group discussion on smoking.
—Isn’t it important to differentiate between men and women in all forms of addictive substances? Good discussion of cigarettes as the delivery device for nicotine.
--This program was excellent. Well thought out to
help me now and in the future.
--I didn’t know what to expect and I am so glad I
came to this workshop because I’ve learned so
much. I was afraid it was going to be too scientific,
but is was not. It was very easy to follow.
--One of the best journalists’ workshops I have ever
--World-class experts with relevant information for
my job. It was excellent.
--Top-notch experts and information. Very well organized for limited amount of time. Great to get perspectives of fellow journalists too.
How participants think the workshop will help
them with their reporting on substance abuse
--I learned a lot that I did not know and came away
with some story ideas. I also came away with some
resources that I think will help me down the road.
--I’m more inspired now to report on this topic, particularly growing prescription drug abuse.
--I did not know much about addiction, but I have
learned so much that I’m eager to produce some
local documentaries on addiction.
--I’ll have better sources, have a much better grasp
of the science, which was my goal.
--I’ll try to include more of the science of addiction
to demystify/debunk myths of the disease.
--Before this workshop I thought that addicts didn’t
want to quit doing drugs because of will power. Now I know that drugs alter their brain.
--Neurobiology really helped me understand addiction in a different way; appreciate why it is so powerful and hard to control.
--I admit that I did not know what addiction was. I
had more of the “moral failure” point of view,
though I did not think I was right about it. I just didn’t understand it.
--I’m less moralistic, judgmental of addicts.
--I knew it was a disease of the brain, but now I’m
in a much better position to explain and articulate
that concept in my writing.
—The brain chemistry and the changes to it in addicted patients will always be at the center of my
reporting on addiction.
—I have a little deeper understanding of the issues;
more importantly, I think I will be able to find
sources more easily.
—Gave me up-to-date info on addiction, provided
clarity, and raised some wonderful story ideas.
June 2008 Workshop Faculty
David Friedman, PhD
Director, Addiction Studies Program
Deputy Associate Dean and Professor
Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Patricia Nez Henderson, MD, MPH
Vice President and Research Associate
Black Hills Center for American Indian
Rapid City, South Dakota
Herbert Kleber, MD
Addiction Studies Program
Professor of Psychiatry and Director
Division on Substance Abuse
Columbia University College
of Physicians and Surgeons and
New York State Psychiatric Institute
New York, New York
Tom McLellan, PhD
Sponsor and Partner
Addiction Studies Program
Chief Executive Officer
Treatment Research Institute
Douglas B. Marlowe, JD, PhD
Section on Criminal Justice Research
Treatment Research Institute
Health Matrix, Inc.
Chris Ringwalt, PhD
Senior Research Scientist
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Co-founder and Co-Director
Addiction Studies Program
President and CEO
National Families in Action
Nora Volkow, MD
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institutes of Health
Andrea Ebbers Williams
Center for Creative Leadership
Research and Innovation
Greensboro, North Carolina
Friday, June 13, 2008
Welcome and Introductions
David Friedman and Sue Rusche
A History of Drug Abuse and Addiction in the U.S.
Introduction to Pharmacological Terms
David Friedman for Shelly Schwartz-Bloom
Neurobiology of Addiction
Neurobiology of Addiction II
David Friedman for Shelly Schwartz-Bloom
Preventing Adolescent Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Connect with the Experts
Reception and Dinner
Dinner Speaker Susan Rook
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Does Treatment Work?
Treating Drug Offenders
Scientifically Reliable Internet Sources
A Word from the
Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse
Consequences of Smoking
An Introduction to CPDD