Book: Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff

Clinical Title: Addiction Inside Out: How Personal Narratives Facilitate Recovery

Presenters: Noel B. Ramirez, MPH, LCSW and Scott Cohen, LSW

Date: Sunday, May 19, 2019
Time: 11 am - 2 pm | 3 CEs
(Please arrive by 10:30 for refreshments and conversation)
Place: Elkins Park, PA
(Ppecific address will be provided after registration.)

Book Description:
Nic Sheff was drunk for the first time at age eleven. In the years that followed, he would regularly smoke pot, do cocaine and Ecstasy, and develop addictions to crystal meth and heroin. Even so, he felt like he would always be able to quit and put his life together whenever he needed to. It took a violent relapse one summer in California to convince him otherwise. In a voice that is raw and honest, Nic spares no detail in telling us the compelling, heartbreaking, and true story of his relapse and the road to recovery. As we watch Nic plunge the mental and physical depths of drug addiction, he paints a picture for us of a person at odds with his past, with his family, with his substances, and with himself. It's a harrowing portrait -- but not one without hope. (description from book jacket).

Clinical Goal: To examine the subjective experience of drug addiction and the implications of subjectivity for clinical work with substance abusers.


  1. Analyze several models of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and typical clinical approaches encompassed by each.
  2. Describe how Nic’s experience demonstrates that each drug of abuse has different effects on the brain and behavior; therefore, each drug predicts unique courses of treatment and recovery.
  3. Identify several ways in which SUD interferes with Nic’s social and emotional development.
  4. Define shame vs. guilt and recognize how each the plays a critical role in Nic’s “narrative of recovery.”
  5. Recognize the strengths and weaknesses of 12-step, motivational, cognitive, harm-reduction/substitution, psychiatric and confrontational approaches to SUD treatment.

About the Presenters:
Noel Ramirez, MPH, LCSW is a former New Yorker and now, current Philadelphian. He received his Master’s in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009, his Master’s in Public Health from Drexel University in 2012 and is currently pursuing a doctorate in behavioral health at Arizona State University. He has been teaching graduate social work since 2014. Mr. Ramirez’s professional background and history has been grounded in communities that he is both personal and professionally committed to serving: youth communities, recovery community, gay/bisexual men, people of color, HIV/AIDS. Currently, he is a behavioral health consultant and project director for MAT expansion for a federally qualified health center, maintains a private practice focusing on gay/bisexual men in Philadelphia and teaches graduate social work at West Chester University and Columbia University. Outside of his professional interests, Noel spends his time learning how to cook, bike riding, listening to audio-books and having conversations about post-colonialism and popular culture.
Scott Cohen, LSW began his career in a long-term Alcoholism Treatment Facility in Upstate New York over 30 years ago. Since then he has worked in outpatient and inpatient programs, abstinence and harm-reduction groups and with diverse individuals at every stage of recovery. During the AIDS epidemic he advocated for integrated care of psychiatric patients and the dual diagnosed. Scott has watched with dismay the clash between recovery culture and evidence-based rehabilitation approaches, seen today in our disjointed system of substance abuse treatment. Since graduating from Temple School of Social Work in 2013, he has worked with traumatically injured patients in a hospital setting where he sees a significant population of substance abusers. Scott has been trained in a variety of treatment approaches including Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness-Based CBT, DBT and traditional 12-step models. He believes strongly that there is no effective one-size-fits-all system of care.

Cancellation Policy:
There is a $5 non-refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program.
No refund will be issued if less than 48 hours’ notice is given for this program.

Participants who attend this program must be present for its entirety in order to get the continuing education credits.

Continuing Education Credits:
FOR PENNSYLVANIA SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS, AND PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS: This program is approved for credits for professional workshops sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, a state affiliate of the Clinical Social Work Association listed in Section 47.36 of Title 49, Chapter 47 of the PA Code, State Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is also approved for credits for professional workshops for marriage & family therapists (Section 48.36) and professional counselors (Section 49.36).
FOR NEW JERSEY SOCIAL WORKERS: This program is approved for clinical credits. Programs or courses approved by boards that license social work practice in other states are a valid source of continuing education credit (N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.4(c)10).

PSCSW Members - Before you begin any registration, you must log in to the website to pay the member rate. If you register without logging in, you will pay at the nonmember rate. If you need assistance logging in, please contact the PSCSW office at:

  • May 19, 2019
    11:00 am - 2:00 pm