December 28, 2004

Ed Federico
(215) 349-5659


Media Advisory
Experts to Discuss Drug Therapy and Ethical Issues within the Criminal Justice System

WHAT: Symposium on Opiate Addiction and Other Mental Disorders in the Criminal Justice Population

Persons who are incarcerated or recently released on parole have a high frequency of substance abuse and other mental disorders. Despite significant advances in the diagnosis and medical treatment of these disorders, relatively few prisoners receive the latest in treatment techniques. Medications for addictive disorders have been found to be effective but rarely used for this population. Medications that have opiate effects such as methadone or buprenorphine are opposed by many in the prison and parole system as being too close to heroin. Most are not aware of an FDA approved medication that specifically prevents relapse to opiate addiction, but has no opiate effects of its own.

One of the issues most frequently raised by judges and managers of probation and parole programs is the question of the ethics of giving someone a medication that blocks opiate receptors while incarcerated or on probation. The goal of this symposium is to address such ethical issues.

This symposium is funded by the Annenberg Foundation, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and hosted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Featured Penn Experts:
Charles P. O’Brien, MD, PhD, Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Vice Chair of Penn’s Department of Psychiatry and Director, Center for the Study of Addictions ; Douglas B. Marlowe, JD, PhD, Treatment Research Institute and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; and Arthur Caplan, PhD, Professor of Medical Ethics and Director, Center for Bioethics

Symposium Guests:
Richard Bonnie, J.D,, University of Virginia; Carol Boyd, PhD, University of Michigan; Laura Roberts, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin; Judge Louis Presenza, The Philadelphia Municipal Court; David Farabee, JD, PhD, UCLA; Faye Taxman, PhD, National Institute on Drug Abuse; and Redonna Chandler, PhD, National Institute on Drug Abuse

WHEN: Tuesday, January 4, 2005 from 8:30 AM to 4:15 PM

WHERE: The Inn at Penn, University of Pennsylvania Campus
3600 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

NOTE: If any member of the media is planning to attend, please call Muriel Graci, Assistant to Dr. O’Brien at (215) 222-3200, extension 132


PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System (created in 1993 as the nation’s first integrated academic health system).

Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #3 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

Penn Health System is comprised of: its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.

This release is available online at