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Understanding Medication Ethics

Dean’s Florida Symposia put spotlight on psychedelics, opioids, and more

In February, the annual Johns Hopkins Medicine Dean’s Symposia in Palm Beach and Naples, Fla., focused on the risks and benefits of psychedelics, opioids, and cannabis. Faculty spoke about the promise these chemical substances show in treating a variety of conditions, including depression, pain management, and anxiety. But they also stressed that patients and physicians need to be aware of the many risks these substances pose, such as misuse and dependence.

Travis Rieder, the assistant director of education initiatives at the Berman Institute of Bioethics, shared his personal experience with the issue, having used opioids following a traumatic motorcycle accident. Rieder, who wrote a book about the experience titled In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Struggle with Opioids, spoke about how much he needed the opioids for pain management, but also the how difficult it was to stop using them. Rieder’s session and the others shed light on these important topics at a time when the opioid crisis and rise in the therapeutic uses of cannabis and psychedelics are newsworthy topics across the country.

View photos from the Dean’s Symposia below, courtesy of LILA PHOTO.

Guests arrive at the Johns Hopkins Medicine Palm Beach Dean's Symposium at The Breakers resort.

The 2020 program focused on ethics and issues associated with the use of psychedelics, opioids, and marijuana in medical treatment.

Paul Rothman, CEO and dean of Johns Hopkins Medicine, gave remarks at the opening of the Palm Beach Dean's Symposium.

James Potash (left), director of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Hopkins, led a discussion with Travis Rieder (right), assistant director of education initiatives at the Berman Institute of Bioethics.

Rieder spoke about his personal experiences with opioid use as he recovered from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.

Potash (left) also led a panel discussion that included (left to right) Ryan Vandrey, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences; Roland Griffiths, director of the Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research; and Anika Alvanzo, assistant professor and medical director of Hopkins' Substance Abuse Disorders Consultation Service.

Vandrey (right) shared highlights from his research on the behavioral pharmacology of cannabis.

Griffiths spoke about the importance of the research his center is conducting about the use of mood-altering drugs for therapeutic purposes.

Alvanzo spoke about the importance of her team's work at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she provides guidance to patients with substance use disorders.

Following the program at The Breakers, attendees gathered for a reception with representatives of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Topics: Alumni, Friends of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Promote and Protect Health