Substance Use 101

Event Details

PDS will be hosting a virtual Substance Use 101 training on Monday, December 14, 2020 ​from 12:00 - 1:00 pm

  • Free
  • Open to all Panel Attorneys and Public Defender Corporation employees. 
  • Not limited to attorneys only--paralegals, mitigation specialists, investigators, and all other core staff encouraged to attend.
  • This training is worth 1.2 CLE credits
  • Registration closes on Thursday, December 10th at 3:00 pm
  • If you have questions, contact Stephanne


Substance use is a brain disease that can hijack the brains of our clients. National statistics indicate that 80% of incarcerated persons have used drugs or alcohol while 60% meet the clinical criteria for a substance use disorder. Fewer than 20% of incarcerated clients have received substance use treatment in their history. Substance use is of particular concern in West Virginia which has had some of the highest drug overdose rates in the country, inevitably impacting incarcerated and criminally involved individuals. This presentation will discuss what makes someone vulnerable to substance use before describing some of the effects substance use has on the brain. Resource referrals to link clients to substance use treatment will also be discussed.   

Learning Objectives:

  1. Statistics on substance use in criminal legal populations and in West Virginia. 
  2. How substance use hijacks the brain.  
  3. Individual, environmental, and genetic vulnerabilities that increase a person’s risk to develop a substance use disorder. 
  4. Available treatment referral options and outcomes of treatment for persons with a substance use disorder.  


Stephanne Thornton is a graduate of the University of Georgia's Graduate School of Social Work. She has been clinically licensed as a social worker and addiction counselor since 2004 and currently holds a Master Addiction Counselor certificate through NAADAC and is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker through the West Virginia Board of Social Work. Stephanne has worked as a mitigation specialist and sentencing advocate in indigent criminal defense offices in Georgia and West Virginia. She has presented various trainings on topics such as mitigation, sentencing advocacy, and criminal offender assessments. Send email