Researchers investigate why certain brains are more vulnerable to addiction

Can brain science help identify people who may be predisposed to opioid addiction? Researchers say a weak prefrontal cortex makes people more vulnerable to abusing drugs.

A new USC study examines how to identify the people most at risk of opioid addiction and how to best treat those already addicted.

In a report published Tuesday, researchers in neuroscience, addiction and behavioral health laid out the latest research into what makes individuals vulnerable to substance abuse and dependency, along with new discoveries that may hold the key for successful prevention and treatment for those addicted to opioids and other drugs.

The authors noted that, although the use of psychoactive drugs has occurred in almost every society in human history, fatalities from the more recent wave of opioid use are unprecedented. More Americans are dying from overdoses than from car accidents.

Their study, published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, makes the case that understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying drug-seeking behaviors is critical, as is finding evidence-based prevention strategies for opioid abuse in particular and substance abuse in general.

To read the complete Jenesse Miller/USC News article, click here.

2019-12-05T12:05:07-05:00December 5th, 2019|

The Louisiana Supreme Court Amends Rule XIX to Specify JLAP

On November 21, 2019, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued an order amending Rule XIX, Section 24E3 to specify that in lawyer disciplinary matters JLAP is the path through which respondents must pass to be reinstated or readmitted in cases wherein substance use disorders are a causative factor in misconduct.

The amendment reflects recommendations made by the national experts in the 2015 JLAP Performance Audit. It is also a straightforward codification of thirty years of Louisiana Supreme Court jurisprudence endorsing JLAP, beginning with the watershed case Louisiana State Bar Association vs. Arthur F. Dumaine, 550 So.2d 1197 (La. 1989) wherein the Court ordered JLAP to provide the Court with expert, independent, objective and reliable data regarding the diagnosis, treatment and recovery of respondents in substance abuse cases.

JLAP is recognized nationally as a leading program and it continues to generate unprecedented 95% no-relapse success rates on average. The Court’s amendment of Rule XIX, Section 24E3 will not only ensure that the public is appropriately protected from the harm that an impaired lawyer can cause, it will also save more lives and careers among those attorneys who have fallen victim to the diseases of alcoholism and addiction.

To read complete Order, click here.

2019-12-04T11:42:27-05:00December 4th, 2019|

Study Provides More Evidence of Behavioral, Biological Similarities Between Compulsive Overeating and Drug Addiction

Does yo-yo dieting drive compulsive eating? There may be a connection.

According to BUSM researchers the chronic cyclic pattern of overeating followed by undereating, reduces the brain’s ability to feel reward and may drive compulsive eating. This finding suggests that future research into treatment of compulsive eating behavior should focus on rebalancing the mesolimbic dopamine system–the part of the brain responsible for feeling reward or pleasure.

An estimated 15 million people compulsively eat in the U.S. It is a common feature of obesity and eating disorders, most notably, binge eating disorder. People often overeat because it is pleasurable in the short term, but then attempt to compensate by dieting, reducing calorie intake and limiting themselves to “safe”, less palatable food. However, diets often fail, causing frequent “relapse” to overeating of foods high in fat and sugar (palatable foods).

“We are just now beginning to understand the addictive-like properties of food and how repeated overconsumption of high sugar – similar to taking drugs – may affect our brains and cause compulsive behaviors,” said corresponding author Pietro Cottone, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology & experimental therapeutics and co-director of the Laboratory of Addictive Disorders.

Continue Reading

2019-11-27T13:06:36-05:00November 27th, 2019|

Redefining Addiction. Reimagining Solutions.

By Paul Earley, MD and Yngvild Olsen, MD, MPH

Words matter. When it comes to addiction medicine, stigmatizing language and misunderstood terminology may keep some people from seeking effective care, leave families poorly equipped to support their loved ones, and drive policymakers to make counterproductive, even harmful, policy.

In 2011, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) — the nation’s largest organization representing medical professionals who specialize in addiction prevention and treatment — set out to revise the society’s definition of addiction. This task was not easy given the complexity and stigma surrounding substance use and the term itself. At a time when the public had limited understanding and acceptance of addiction as a chronic brain disease, ASAM’s revised definition focused heavily on brain circuitry.

Over the past decade, however, more families, policymakers, and members of the media have come to understand that addiction is a chronic, treatable brain disease with the possibility of remission and recovery. There is also a growing recognition that evidence-based prevention, mutual and recovery peer support, and harm reduction services can play important roles in the full spectrum of addiction care.

Click here to continue reading


2019-11-21T17:45:34-05:00October 30th, 2019|

JLAP Welcomes ABA Young Lawyers to the Big Easy

The ABA Young Lawyers Division presented the 2019 Fall Conference: Your Practice, Your Future, October 3 – 5, 2019 at the Sheraton in New OrleansThis conference brought people together from across the legal community to offer outstanding training on advancing justice.

JLAP’s Executive Director, Buddy Stockwell, spoke on Wellness and Well-Being in the Legal Profession, noting that it will be the Young Lawyers that will change the culture, making the practice of law more healthy.

Donna Nesbit, ABA Director, Operations and Meetings – Early Career Strategy
and Buddy Stockwell, JLAP Executive Director

Christopher L. Brown, J. Logan Murphy & Buddy Stockwell

2019-11-21T18:12:43-05:00October 7th, 2019|

October 10th is National Law Students’ Mental Health Day

Law is a challenging discipline that involves the ability to analyze, reason, and communicate. The study and practice of law is rigorous and often stressful, however, a law degree can open many doors to a rewarding career in business, practice, government, teaching and public service.

For those law students struggling with issues of depression, anxiety, drug addiction or alcoholism or other mental issues, the JLAP is here to help. We offer a full range of resources and solutions to help you manage your issues in the short and long term. Every service provided through the JLAP is 100% confidential and 100% free.

With Mental Health Day coming up on October 10, JLAP wants to help raise awareness of mental health by helping people realize that seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength.

Visit our Law Students section under our Who We Help tab for many great resources.

Click here for the ABA ‘s Mental Health Toolkit for Law School Students  


2019-09-23T15:14:28-05:00September 23rd, 2019|

September is National Recovery Month

National Recovery Month (Recovery Month), sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives. This observance celebrates the millions of Americans who are in recovery from mental and substance use disorders, reminding us that treatment is effective and that people can and do recover. It also serves to help reduce the stigma and misconceptions that cloud public understanding of mental and substance use disorders, potentially discouraging others from seeking help.

To learn more, click here.

2019-09-13T17:06:12-05:00September 13th, 2019|

How opioids reshape your brain, and what scientists are learning about addiction







None of us has the brain we were born with. Brains grow and adapt. This process, called neuroplasticity, doesn’t end when you step out of the classroom. Even habits—reaching for cookies when stressed out, keeping your head down during staff meetings—cut “trails” in the brain throughout life that can be hard to overcome.

To read Ian Haydon’s complete article from Medical Xpress, click here.

2019-08-23T12:34:32-05:00August 23rd, 2019|

NEW! You Can Now Make a Donation to JLAP Online

Did you know you can donate to JLAP online now?

You can now conveniently pay online via PayPal and Visa/Mastercard/Discover.

Simply go to our donation page to donate.

You will receive a letter from JLAP acknowledging your tax deductible donation.

The Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and donations are tax deductible as allowed by the IRS. Your donation will help support the life-saving work of JLAP and further its mission to save lives and careers in the legal profession.

All proceeds will be dedicated to providing direct assistance to lawyers and judges in need of JLAP’s services. Thank you for your support!


2019-08-23T10:38:35-05:00August 23rd, 2019|