A Look Back... Staying Ahead of Youth Drug Trends Conference




Pioneer Award Recipient:

A special tribute during the awards presentation will 
honor the achievements of Ellen Morehouse

Ellen Morehouse is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor, Credentialed Prevention Professional, and the Executive Director of Student Assistance Services, a non-profit, corporation in Tarrytown, New York. She is the creator of three national model alcohol and drug abuse prevention and early intervention programs: the Westchester Student Assistance Program; the Residential Student Assistance Program; and Project SUCCESS (Schools Using Coordinated Community Efforts to Strengthen Students). Project SUCCESS is currently being implemented in over 60 secondary schools in New York State, and is being replicated nationally. She also currently serves on the New York Advisory Council on Underage Alcohol Consumption and Youth Substance Abuse and is the New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers Prevention Committee Co-Chair. 

Mrs. Morehouse has been the recipient of grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Centers for Disease Control, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the Department of Education and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. She has provided training and has presented at conferences in 44 states and taught at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. 

Mrs. Morehouse has published several articles in professional journals, has appeared on a number of television shows including the McNeil/Lehrer Report, Good Morning America, Nightline, Court TV and ABC Network News and has been interviewed by People Magazine, Reader's Digest, Psychology Today, Family Circle, Womens Day, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Harpers Bazaar, and Parents Magazine. She has been the recipient of the NYS Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers Social Worker of the Year Award and the NYS Association of Prevention Professionals Prevention Professional of the Year Award, and was one of the founders and is an advisory board member of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics. 

Mrs. Morehouse has an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a Masters in Social Work from New York University.

Keynote Speaker - Dr Bertha Madras

Dr. Bertha Madras is Professor of Psychobiology in the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, serving at McLean Hospital. Her 30 year career at Harvard was interrupted for over 2 years when she served in the White House as Deputy Director for Demand Reduction (prevention, intervention, treatment), Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in the Executive Office of President of the United States. The U.S. Senate confirmed her unanimously for this position. As Deputy Director for Demand Reduction, her notable contributions to public policy included the dissemination of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) into state, national, and VA programs. With a team she successfully petitioned the American Medical Association, Medicare and Medicaid to incorporate SBIRT into billing codes for reimbursement.

As a scientist, she founded and chaired the Division of Neurochemistry at the NEPRC, a campus of Harvard Medical School. Her neuroscience research focused on addiction biology and neuropsychiatric disorders (Parkinson’s disease; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD). She has published over 200 manuscripts, book chapters, commentaries and is principal editor (PE) or co-editor CE) of recent books: “The Cell Biology of Addiction (PE, 2006)”; “The Effects of Drug Abuse on the Human Nervous System” (PE, 2013); “Imaging of the Human Brain in Health and Disease (CE, 2013). Together with the Museum of Science, Boston, she created an exhibit, CD and play “Changing Your Mind: Drugs in the Brain” which was on exhibit for 10 years. The Disney Corp licensed the CD from her in 2006. She has 19 issued patents.

Among other activities, Dr. Madras was commissioned to write a report by the World Health Organization, Expert Committee on Drug Dependence titled Cannabis and its Medical Use (December, 2015). She also was a co-author, along with over 35 experts from 15 nations, a World Health Organization report, The Health and Social Effects of Nonmedical Cannabis Use (March 2016). She has delivered more than 250 public presentations globally on how drugs affect the brain. Among awards, she is the recipient of an NIH-NIDA MERIT award; NIH-NIDA Public Service Award; the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry Founders’ Award, the Marion W. Fischman lectureship Award in recognition of an outstanding woman scientist in drug abuse research. The Better World Report (2006) listed her brain imaging agent, altropane, as “one of 25 technology transfer innovations that changed the world”.

Her experiences in translational neurobiology, inventions, education, government and public service afford a unique perspective on science and public policy.

Dr. Ruth Potee

Dr Ruth PoteeDr. Ruth Potee, an expert in adolescent and adult addiction, will share the latest information on the developing teenage brain and its impact on risk taking, identifying the signs of drug use and addiction, treating addiction as a brain disease and treatment options available, and providing practical advice for how to use this information to safeguard our youth and community.

Dr Ruth PoteeNorthfield resident Ruth Potee, M.D. has been honored by her physician peers of the Franklin District Medical Society as the district society’s 2015 Community Clinician of the Year, an honor recognizing her professionalism and contributions as a physician. 

Board certified in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine, Dr. Potee is a physician with Valley Medical Group in Greenfield, providing a full scope of family medicine with special interests in women’s health, pediatrics, addiction treatment, psychiatric illness, and pain management.

Dr. Potee is being recognized for her multiple health care efforts throughout the community. Since 2013, she has co-chaired the Healthcare Solutions of the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and North Quabbin, and since 2012 has served as the school physician for the Pioneer Valley Regional School District, encompassing a regional high school and four elementary schools. As school physician, she hasprovided training and curriculum for school nurses throughout western and central Massachusetts on adolescent substance abuse and addiction. Additionally, she is the medical director for the Franklin County House of Corrections, a position she assumed in 2014 that oversees care for 300 inmates in the county.

From 2002-2010, she was an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and received a number of awards during her time as an instructor. She was twice named Faculty Preceptor of the Year by medical residents, was nominated in 2010 for the American Academy of Family Physicians National Teacher of the Year, was nominated for the Boston University Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award in 2007, and received the Pfizer Teaching Award from the American Academy of Family Physicians in 2008, one of only 15 family physicians selected nationwide.


A graduate of Wellesley College with a bachelor’s degree cum laude, with post-graduate studies at Mount Holyoke College, Dr. Potee earned her medical degree from the Yale University School of Medicine in 1999.

Conference Photos 


PRESENTER TOPIC - Click to View Presentation
Dena Davis Motivating Youth By Igniting Sparks
Dr Robert Miranda
Adolescent Substance Abuse: Trends, Comorbidities, and Interventions for High School Settings
Heidi Driscoll &
David Neill
Electronic Nicotine Delivery System and Vaping Marijuana
Leigh Reposa Suicide Prevention: It's Everyone's Business
Lynn Hernandez, Ph.D. Current Trends In Youth Marijuana Use: Identifying Impactful Prevention and Intervention Strategies 
Dr Ruth Potee Adolescent Brain Development and Addiction: The Teen Brain and Risk Taking
2017 Sponsors


2014 video



Should you have any questions regarding this years conference, please email us...conference@risas.org


Contact Information

Sarah Dinklage, LICSW
Executive Director


Charles Cudworth, MA
Director, Clinical Services

Leigh Reposa, MSW, LICSW
Manager, Youth Suicide Prevention Program

Colleen Judge, LMHC                  Director, School-Based Services

Kathleen Sullivan
Director, Community Prevention/ Kent County Regional Prevention Coalition 

Heidi Driscoll                      Director, South County Regional Prevention Coalition           hdriscoll@risas.org

Sue Davis, LICSW           Manager, Student Assistance Services               sdavis@risas.org

300 Centerville Rd.
Suite 301 South 
Warwick, RI 02886


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