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Bertha K. Madras

Travels from Boston, MA

A formidable keynote speaker and respected authority on the opioid and prescription drug crisis, the honorable Dr. Bertha Madras is a true a leader in awareness and prevention. Thousands have been motivated, inspired and enlightened by her insightful presentations and powerful words. 


General Topics

Addiction

Prevention

Recovery

Advocacy

 

Books/Video

Biography

Bertha Madras is a Professor, research scientist, inventor, educator, writer, editor, former government official, creator of a science museum exhibit and CD, elementary school volunteer teacher, and a public speaker. Her diverse experiences afford her a unique perspective at the intersection of science, public policy and effective solutions. She can speak authoritatively on a number of topics which range from drug policy, addiction (risk factors, biology, stigma), and elements of effective prevention, intervention and treatment, to the developing adolescent brain, brain imaging of addictions, what parents and teachers should know, raves and youth, to specific drugs: marijuana (biology, risks, medical, FDA process), opioids (history, problems and solutions), designer drugs, ecstasy, methamphetamine, cocaine, tobacco, alcohol.

As a highly acclaimed and sought after keynote speaker, she has delivered over 250 recent presentations to prevention and treatment experts, teachers and parents, high school and college students, legislators and politicians, judges and lawyers, scientists and physicians, business leaders and the biomedical community.  On the international stage, she has presented in the United Nations, at the Organization of American States, the World Health Organization, the Vatican Pontifical Academy of Sciences (“Narcotics: Problems and Solutions of this Global Issue”), the World Federation Against Drugs, and others.

On a national level, she currently serves as a member of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Formerly, she was appointed Deputy Director for Demand Reduction (prevention, intervention treatment) in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Executive Office of President, a presidential nomination confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate. Government service afforded her a riveting education on massive scale of national and global drug challenges and drove her to ardently promote prevention, evidence-based interventions and treatment. She greatly expanded Screening, Brief Interventions, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) services to foster integration of healthcare and traditional treatment services for substance use disorders.

Bertha is a Professor of Psychobiology at Harvard Medical School (HMS), with her office at McLean Hospital, and with a cross-appointment at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. As an HMS faculty member and neuroscientist for 30 years, her research on psychoactive or therapeutic drugs, brain imaging, and others is published in over 200 manuscripts, articles, books, book chapters, and commentaries. She is principal editor/co-editor of books, “The Cell Biology of Addiction”; “The Effects of Drug Abuse in the Human Nervous System”; “Imaging of the Human Brain in Health and Disease”. The World Health Organization (WHO) commissioned her to author a monograph “Update of Cannabis and its Medical Use” and she co-authored another WHO report “The Health and Social Effects of Nonmedical Cannabis Use” (April, 2016). As an inventor, she holds 19 U.S. patents and 27 international patents with collaborators. A dedicated educator, she has developed courses on Addiction Biology for medical students and international scientists.

She is the recipient of an NIH-NIDA MERIT award, a NIDA Public Service Award, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry Founders’ Award, Marian Fischman Award, and others. With collaborators, she invented a brain imaging agent altropane, which was cited by The Better World Report (2006) as “one of 25 technology transfer innovations that changed the world”.

This is not a war on drugs: it is a defense of our brains - the repository of our humanity.
— Bertha Madras