Program 2021

Impact of Alcohol on States and Local Governments

The full playlist for the 2021 Law & Mental Health Conference is now available here. 

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.

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.


Andrew Dyke, PhD
Joel Ainsworth

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

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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.” 

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


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. 


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