Program 2021

Impact of Alcohol on States and Local Governments

The 2021 Law & Mental Health Conference was held July 19th & 20th. It was available online to registrants for 30 days following the conference – until August 19, 2021


Keynote – Drinking in America—Our Hidden History

Susan Cheever
Susan Cheever

Susan Cheever, best-selling author
Bennington & The New School, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

From 1620 when the Pilgrims landed illegally on Cape Cod because they were low on beer, through the Civil War arguably won by an alcohol-fueled Ulysses. S. Grant and prohibition which created a new criminal class and a generation of drunken writers, to the present and the Me Too movement, drinking has changed our politics and our way of looking at the world—mostly invisibly.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. I hope my audience will be alerted to the power of alcoholism both in history and in their understanding of contemporary events.
  2. I hope they will learn to look for drinking in particular and addiction in general in understanding the important stories of the 21st century.
  3. I want to drag alcoholism out of the closet, bring it into the light and redefine our lives accordingly.

READ – My Name Is Bill Wilson
READ – Drinking In America

Keynote – Alcohol and Social Justice: Peeling Back the “Wallpaper”

David Jernigan
David H. Jernigan, PhD

David H. Jernigan PhD, Professor
Department of Health Law, Policy and Management, Boston University School of Public Health

This presentation tells an important back story of alcohol’s role in health: how alcohol and those in control of its production and trade have, across history, helped to support and spread social injustice.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand alcohol as both a physical and a social determinant of health
  2. Describe the role of alcohol and the alcohol trade in social injustice historically and in the present
  3. Recognize how current alcohol marketing relates to contemporary structures of injustice and oppression

Andrew Dyke, PhD
Joel Ainsworth

Alcohol Harms and Economic Burden in Oregon
Joel Ainsworth & Andrew Dyke, PhD

Our analysis synthesizes existing research and state-level data to quantify the economic burden of excessive alcohol use in Oregon.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the economic costs associated with excessive alcohol use in Oregon
  2. Provide context for how those costs affect Oregon’s social and economic systems
  3. Give a brief overview of how pricing strategies can help reduce these social costs

READ – Alcohol Harms – Interim Report – Ainsworth & Dyke

Linda L. Chezem, Judge(ret)

FASD: Undetected, Complicated, and Devastating
Linda L. Chezem, Judge(ret), Professor Emerita, & Adjunct Professor
Indiana Court of Appeals, Purdue University, & Indiana University School of Medicine

This session will examine the science and current practices in the justice system in accommodating or not accommodating the needs and disabilities of persons who have an FASD.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify and describe the most common characteristics associated with FASD
  2. Assess justice system responses to FASD related characteristics
  3. Evaluate strategies and practices to improve the justice system management for persons who have an FASD

Don Coyhis

The Wellbriety Movement Four Directions Approach: From Treatment to Recovery to Wellness to Discovery
Don Coyhis
White Bison, Inc. & the Wellbriety Movement

This presentation introduces the concept of Wellbriety as balance and connection to the natural laws that create healing within the native community and looks at the interconnectedness of intergenerational trauma and current social issues. 

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Discover how the past connects to the present in order to understand the significance of connecting to the culture to bring healing to our communities.  
  2. Learn how to change community consciousness about recovery and how to shift the focus to demand instead of supply 
  3. Explore solutions beyond evidence-based approaches

Paul A. Gilbert, PhD

Bringing Data to Policy Makers: Lessons Learned from Recent Advocacy Efforts
Paul A. Gilbert PhD, Assistant Professor
Department of Community and Behavioral Health, University of Iowa College of Public Health

This session will relay key lessons learned from recent alcohol-related activities, including testimony on the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, a policy statement and subsequent journal article calling for population-level response to recent increases in alcohol-related deaths, and efforts to develop a network of state advocates to take local action to address alcohol-related harms.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe common barriers that impede the translation of scientific research into public policy
  2. Explain principles of plain language writing
  3. Identify strategies to mobilize stakeholders

Tiffany Hall

Raising Revenue & Decreasing Death: Implementing an Alcohol Tax
Tiffany Hall
Recover Alaska & US Alcohol Policy Alliance

After 7 failed attempts, Anchorage, Alaska finally voted to pass a 5% sales tax on alcohol in April, 2020. Come to this session to learn about one city’s lessons and leverage points on the path to improved health.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Advocate effectively for an alcohol tax
  2. Identify champions and partners
  3. Explain the benefits of an alcohol tax

Bruce Lee Livingston, MPH

Deregulation and Marketing by Big Alcohol During COVID-19 Times
Bruce Lee Livingston, MPP
Alcohol Justice

Closures during the COVID-19 pandemic have been opportunistically used by alcohol retailers and producers to push for once-in-a-generation local and state deregulation. There is a national, coordinated Big Alcohol effort in state houses, city halls and county seats to make pro-small-business relief measures permanent by law.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn the variety of temporary bar and restaurant deregulation, and alcohol and hospitality industry coordinated attempts to make these permanent by law
  2. Learn of the harms in youth perception of public drinking, ease of access, recover, mental health and neighborhood impacts
  3. Learn of local, state and national actions you can be involved in to resist this liberalization of alcohol venues, and how to counter the “struggling small business and job loss” rhetoric used to promote public health and safety harms

Mike Marshall

Operation Alcohol: Tackling Oregon Policy Makers Addiction to Alcohol
Mike Marshall
Oregon Recovers

In 2020 Oregon Recovers began to shine a spotlight on the economic and human damage caused by alcohol in Oregon. In this session, we’ll review the statistics that have been key to changing the narrative about alcohol, discuss groundwork laid prior to engaging the alcohol industry, and provide a path forward for advancing meaningful, impactful system change.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. The importance of creating a narrative
  2. Understanding what motivates stakeholders
  3. Creating a plan of action

Rebecca Perl
Dr. Nandita Murukutla

“The Sobering Truth” &  “Trouble Brewing”: How Alcohol Policies and Practices Harm Health and Wellbeing
Dr. Nandita Murukutla & Rebecca Perl
Vital Strategies    

This session will present findings from two reports: “Trouble Brewing: Making the Case for Alcohol Policy” and a first-of-its-kind report, “The Sobering Truth: Incentivizing Alcohol Death and Disability.” 

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Explain the health, social and economic consequences of harmful alcohol use
  2. Describe the types and amounts of economic incentives that governments and development agencies give to the alcohol industry in countries across the world
  3. Reexamine alcohol policies and industry practices and identify key public health recommendations for national and international bodies to implement

READ – TROUBLE BREWING Making the Case for Alcohol Policy

Timothy S. Naimi MD, MPH

Alcohol’s Impact on States and Municipalities: Public Health and Clinical Perspectives
Timothy S. Naimi MD, MPH
Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research & Department of Public Health and Social Policy, University of Victoria

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the distribution of alcohol consumption in the population and different drinking measures, and how they relate to alcohol-related harms
  2. Understand factors and risk factors for alcohol-related harms
  3. Understand the range of possible intervention strategies of how to prevent and reduce excessive drinking and alcohol related harms

Alicia Sparks PhD, MPH

Alcohol Use & COVID-19: Trends, Harms, and Opportunity
Alicia Sparks PhD, MPH
Abt Associates & US Alcohol Policy Alliance

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand alcohol consumption rates during the COVID-19 pandemic
  2. Describe opportunities for communities and states to form alliances to combat deregulation
  3. Explore unique partnerships and partners in alcohol policy advocacy and implementation

Mike Tobias

Fighting the Good Fight in Michigan
Mike Tobias
Michigan Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking

This session will share some of the ways that the Michigan Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking is working on alcohol policy issues in the State of Michigan. 

Key learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the importance of advocacy in alcohol policy work
  2. Identify the challenges surrounding advocacy for alcohol policy (in Michigan)
  3. Identify and apply tools and resources available to community coalitions for policy work

Cassandra Tourre, MPA

Alcohol Regulation: National Debate and State Implications
Cassandra Tourre, MPA
National Alcohol Beverage Control Association

Key Learning Objectives: 

  1. Review the history of alcohol regulation and its importance in protecting public health and safety
  2. Discuss the national regulatory debate and its implication for state alcohol regulation
  3. Learn how data collection, science and policy surveillance can help provide the rationale nexus between alcohol regulations and public health and safety

Law & Mental Health Conference