National Conference Focuses on Health Issues Affecting Women and Girls

In October, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the Interagency Work Group on Drinking and Drug Use in Women and Girls (IWG) hosted the 2022 National Conference on Alcohol and Other Substance Use in Women and Girls: Advances in Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery. More than 400 attendees participated in the two-day virtual conference, which featured plenary lectures by NIAAA Director George F. Koob, Ph.D., National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow, M.D., and National Institute of Mental Health Director Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D. Valerie A. Earnshaw, Ph.D., of the University of Delaware gave a keynote address on stigma and substance use.

The conference highlighted the importance of reducing stigma and other health barriers and featured panels on harmful substance use in women, harmful substance use among adolescent girls, model programs for mothers with substance use disorders and children with prenatal substance exposure, prevention and treatment for special populations, and co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. In addition, breakout sessions included topics such as adolescents, pregnant and pre-conception women, women of color, people living with HIV, post-menopausal women, legal-involved populations, military families, children and adults living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and LGBTQIA+ populations.* Discussions focused on opportunities for building effective community-based participatory research, working with Black churches and other faith-based partnerships, and incorporating personal spirituality into treatment planning.

According to conference co-chairs Deidra Roach, M.D., and Joan Romaine of NIAAA, the working group is planning future webinars and other follow-up opportunities. News about upcoming events, links to a recording and summary of the conference, and contact information for the conference organizers will be posted on the IWG section of the NIAAA website.

*LGBTQIA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual. The plus sign includes other members of the community, such as genderfluid, nonbinary, or two-spirit individuals, among others.