University of Richmond’s history department will host the annual Douglas Southall Freeman Conference Oct. 22-23. This year the event titled “Addictions Old and New” will feature top experts in this field on topics ranging from digital addiction to alcoholism.

The conference begins Oct. 22 with the keynote address by Charles O’Brien, a research scientist who is noted as one of the most prominent addiction researchers in the world. O’Brien is psychiatry professor at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. His lecture “What is Addiction and What Do Addictions Have in Common?” will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Tyler Haynes Commons, Alice Haynes Room.

“O’Brien’s talk will be accessible to a general audience, and will address one of the hottest topics in neuroscience,” said David Courtwright, visiting Douglas Southall Freeman professor from the University of North Florida and conference organizer.

A series of sessions and presentations will be held Friday, Oct. 23, in Jepson Hall, Room 118. “The Friday sessions delve into particular addictions,” Courtwright said, “Everything from food and drugs to vaping and gaming.” They include:

Food, Drink, and Addiction, 9-10:40 a.m.

  • “Food as a Drug: How Good is the Analogy?” by David Courtwright
  • “Whatever Happened to Alcoholism?” by Virginia Berridge, director at the Centre for History in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Prescription Medication, Opioids, and the Heroin Revival, 11 a.m.-12:40 p.m.

  • “Uppers and Downers: Past and Present Abuse of Stimulants and Sedatives” by David Herzberg, associate professor of history at the University of Buffalo
  • “The Prescription Opioid Epidemic and the Heroin Revival” by Andrew Kolodny, chief medical officer at Phoenix House

Digital Technologies and Behavioral Addictions, 1:45-3:25 p.m.

  • “Addiction by Design: From Slot Machines to Candy Crush” by Natasha Dow Schüll, associate professor of science, technology and society at MIT
  • “Hyperstimulation and Digital Media: Sex and Tech Addictions” by Robert Weiss, founding director at The Sexual Recovery Institute.

New Nicotine Products and New Marijuana Laws, 3:35-5:15 p.m.

  • “Old Drug in a New Container? Nicotine Addiction, Harm Reduction, and E-Cigarettes” by Robert Balster, professor of pharmacology and toxicology at VCU Medical Center
  • “Cannabis Use Disorder is Not a Brain Disease, and It Does Not Matter Anyway – Science and Policy in the Legalization Debate” by Mark A.R. Kleiman, professor of public policy at the Marron Institute of Urban Management at NYU

Roundtable Discussion, 5:30-6 p.m.

Following the presentations, there will be a roundtable discussion moderated by University of Richmond professor David Leary.

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