The team of contributors

Our contributors keeping the articles live and lovely. The team is always sharing the relevant articles and weaving a path to recovery.

Adrienne Webster
Adrienne Webster is an Addiction Counselor Licensure Candidate (ACLC) in Bozeman, Montana. After completing her B.A. in Media Arts from Montana State University, she worked for many years as a freelance writer and photographer. Her curiosity about people and their stories and her desire to be a source of compassion and support to others eventually led her back to Montana State University where she completed her graduate studies in Addiction Counseling. She currently works with clients individually and in group settings while completing her post-graduate, clinical supervision. She is particularly interested in an integrated approach to treatment and recovery that encompasses nutrition education, exercise, and community involvement. Her goal is to help empower people who are trying to regain their health and arm them with the resources and skills they need to be the healthiest version of themselves possible, both mentally and physically.
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Amelia Sharp
Amelia Sharp is a content specialist at American Addiction Centers (AAC). She has worked in the mental health field for over five years and focuses on creating helpful and informative content for large-scale companies. To expand her reach to companies across the nation, Amelia founded Optics Content Strategy, LLC. With an expansive background in ghost writing, journalism, medical writing and professional editing, she is passionate about helping those in the behavioral health field receive the help they need and equip themselves with accurate information about mental health conditions.
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Courtney Blackledge, LCMHCA, LCASA
Courtney Blackledge is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate and a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist Associate in North Carolina. She has a variety of experience in the mental health field and has worked with individuals, adolescents, and families impacted by substance use and addiction. She spent a year working at a program tailored to pregnant women or women who had recently given birth and struggled with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. She ran a women’s trauma group that focused on the influence trauma can have on addiction. She also worked with the families of the women in the program to provide individual therapy for the family members, family counseling, and couples counseling.   Courtney is currently working in private practice and continues to work with adolescents and individuals working towards recovery from addiction. She blends her experience in the mental health field with her passion for learning and writing to provide easy-to-follow and accurate information on substance use and addiction.
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Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, Chief Medical Officer, American Addiction Centers
“After assessing a patient with third-year psychiatric students and developing a comprehensive treatment plan, we were informed of the patient’s long-standing alcohol abuse, which never entered our minds. It was at this time that I realized how deficient our medical training was in regard to substance use issues and I set on the path to remedy it.” Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, MD, ABHM, FASAM, FAMA, was appointed chief medical officer of AAC in August 2018. He is an accomplished physician executive with more than 20 years’ experience in managed behavioral healthcare. In addition to his extensive senior leadership background, he also delved into private practice, where he provided individual and group diagnostic psychotherapeutic services, family therapy and addiction psychiatry. Dr. Weinstein has always been fascinated by the mysteries of the mind, and throughout his career, he’s explored different avenues to solve them. His career began in psychoanalysis, which allowed him to develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the unconscious mind. This work led him to do research in psychoneuroimmunology. It was this research in how the brain impacts the immune system, and the connection of the brain to the rest of the body, that solidified his belief in mind-body connection and furthered his interest in providing a holistic approach to illness and treatment. Throughout his career, Dr. Weinstein has set the standard for clinical and operational excellence, physician management and driving technology solutions that support clinical innovation. He brings this experience and an unwavering commitment to patient care to his role as AAC’s chief medical officer, where he oversees medical operations for all facilities and supervises the medical staff to ensure the highest quality of care. Dr. Weinstein’s quest to learn is not limited to his time at work. In his spare time, he enjoys learning about different world cultures, exploring new places and traveling in general. His other passions include downhill skiing and boating. Being in the mountains or on the water is the best way for him to recharge and refocus. Credentials and Education Psychiatry residency – Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, Chicago, IL Internal Medicine, Neurology and Psychiatry Internship – Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, Chicago, IL Medical School – Kiev Medical Institute, Kiev Ukraine Medical School – Ross University School of Medicine, New York, NY Board-Certified – Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Board-Certified – Diplomate of American Board of Addiction Medicine Professional Associations American Medical Association American Psychiatric Association American Society of Addiction Medicine American Associations for Physician Leadership American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Expertise Addiction Psychiatry Clinical Management Psychoanalysis Neurology Books, Publications and other Media: Managing Obstacles to Improved Outcomes in Depression – A Collaborative Approach to Improved Care; Managed Care Magazine (MOOD Supplement), Oct., 2006 Lawrence M. Weinstein, MD:, Chalmers Armstrong M.D Implications of Depression: The Payer Perspective; Lawrence M. Weinstein, MD: Chalmers Armstrong M.D.; April, 2006 OnTrakTM Relapse Prevention Program Therapist Guide; Radujko-Moore, R.E., Jack, T.C., Weinstein, L.M.; Los Angeles: Catasys®, Inc. (2008). (in press) OnTrakTM Relapse Prevention Program Workbook; Radujko-Moore, R.E., Jack, T.C., Weinstein, L.M.; Los Angeles: Catasys®, Inc. (2008). (in press) Application of Multivariate Probabilistic (Bayesian) Networks to Substance Use Disorder Risk Stratification and Cost Estimation; Lawrence Weinstein, MD, ABHM; Todd Radano; Timothy Jack, MD; Philip Kalina, MS; and John S. Eberhardt III; Perspectives in Health Information Management 6, Fall 2009 Scientific Rationale and Safety of the Prometa® Treatment Program; Lawrence M. Weinstein, MD, Timothy Jack, MD, Donald R. Wesson, MD, Sanjay Sabnani; Feb. 2007 Cutting smoking rate through coaching; Benefits magazine, Volume 49, Number 10, October 2012, pages 34-3 Featured In: Op-Ed Workplace Risk Factors for Alcohol Abuse: HR Daily Advisor Alcohol is America’s Most Abused Substance: The Doctor Weighs In Risk Stratification of Health Plan Enrollees with Addiction: Perspectives in Health Information Management Journal Featured Expert In Community Unites in Response to Opioid Epidemic: The Epoch Times Why Vaping is Addictive: CNET Juul Vape: CNET Benzodiazepine Addiction: Healthgrades Health and Nutrition: The Daily Meal How are Different Alcoholic Drinks Made?: Torch Cigar Bar Occupational Alcoholism: The HR Digest Mood, Depression, and Improving Care: Managed Care Magazine
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Dr. Mark Calarco, National Medical Director for Clinical Diagnostics, American Addiction Centers
“One of my guiding leadership and life principles is COMPASSION, which enfolds the word ‘passion’ within its meaning. Compassion for others drives me to constantly strive to eliminate human suffering and to improve the health and well-being of our patients.” Dr. Mark Calarco has served as the national medical director for American Addiction Centers (AAC) from 2013–2018. With the addition of Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, who assumed that position in August 2018, he has been appointed national medical director for clinical diagnostics. In this position, he works closely with Addiction Labs to conduct medical and laboratory research as well as develop innovative products and services that will improve patient outcomes. Calarco brings more than 25 years of experience to the role, including a background in family and emergency medicine. As a child, Calarco developed an interest in health care and a passion for helping others after losing his brother due to a medical error. He went on to attend medical school and to become a family physician. Today, his commitment to clinical excellence and serving those in need has never been stronger as he leads a team of providers who are transforming lives every day. Calarco is also a thought leader in the addiction industry and an established researcher. In 2017, he led two original studies at AAC with the findings presented to the American Academy of Addiction Psychology. His talents also include speaking five languages—Spanish, French, German, Japanese, and Italian. Credentials and Education BA,Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz BA, Psychology, University of California, Berkeley DO, Chicago’s Midwestern University College of Osteopathic Medicine MBA, Arizona State University Advanced Studies Certification in Addiction Medicine (AOAAM) Board Certified – American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians Board Certified – American Board of Anti-aging and Regenerative Medicine Certified Physician Executive– American Association for Physician Leadership Certified Medical Review Officer COLA Certified Laboratory Director Professional Associations American Osteopathic Association (AOA) American Medical Association (AMA) American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM) American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) American Academy of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine (A4M) Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) American Association for Physician Leadership (AAPL) Career Highlights Board member, TN State Medical Laboratory Board – Governor Appointed (2014 – 2020) Medical staff, Dept. of Family & Emergency Medicine, HCA – Centennial Medical Ctr. (Current) Adjunct clinical professor, Lincoln Memorial University – DeBusk College of Medicine (Current) Clinical medical faculty, Midwestern University School of Medicine (2004) Featured In Op-Ed Addiction Stigma Costs Lives—But We Can Change That: Healthcare Business Today Prescription Pain Killers Can Be a Slippery Slope: MedPage Today The Cannabis Catch-22: Is Marijuana The Cure-All We Want It To Be?: Benzinga Narcan – the CPR of a New Generation: Med City News Does Depression Turn Self-Medication into Addiction?: Psych Central What Happens to the Body During an Overdose: Las Vegas Sun 4 Solutions to Sustain Opioid Addiction Recovery: Conscious Life News Is Our Perspective on Opioid Addiction Wrong?: Observer Is Pharmacogenetics the New Standard of Healthcare?: Hub Pages Addiction and Relapse – Are Hormones to Blame?: Renew Everyday Featured Expert In Should Narcan Training be the New CPR?: The Fix Vaping – Substituting One Risk for Another: The Christian Science Monitor “Vape Detectors” in Schools: Business Insider “Gold Standard” in Treating Opioid Addiction: Centers for Health Journalism Employees Using Drugs and Alcohol at Work: The Daily Mail Massachusetts Ranks Highest in U.S. Underage Drinking: The Daily Free Press and The Boston Herald AAC Uses Artificial Intelligence for High-Risk Patients: Nashville Medical News Complete Abstinence Isn’t the Answer: Nashville Public Radio Podcast Interview: Pennies From Kevin Oral Health and Substance Use: Addiction Professional Marijuana as Treatment for Opioids: New York Post AAC Addiction Treatment Services: Huff Post Challenges That Follow an Opioid Overdose: Medical Daily  Politics as a Trigger for Relapse:  Splinter Hormones and Addiction: The Fix
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Editorial Staff
The editorial staff of is comprised of addiction content experts from and affiliated with American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance. Our reviewers consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA, NIDA, and other reputable sources to provide our readers the most accurate content on the web.
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