Virtual Community Forum:

Addressing the Rise of Drug and Alcohol Use in Uncertain Times

A global health crisis, an economic recession and a nationwide call for racial equity. How are these major events impacting substance use disorder in our communities? Recent reports show a significant jump in overdoses beginning in February as the pandemic began in the US, including an increase in opioid related deaths. Economic impacts such as unemployment are linked to higher rates of substance use. The current situation poses challenges for people using substances and those in recovery.


Join experts across Travis County for a conversation on substance use disorder in this time of uncertainty. The panel will discuss the signs and symptoms of substance use disorder, circumstances that can contribute to drug and alcohol use, treatment in our current environment, and resources and strategies to maintain recovery and help others. Panelists include:


  • Joy Rucker, Texas Harm Reduction Alliance’s Executive Director
  • John Nguyen, Integral Care’s Associate Medical Director and Addictionologist
  • Lynda Rhodes, Communities for Recovery’s Peer Recovery Coordinator

Dr. Kathleen Casey, Integral Care’s Director of Clinical Innovation and Development, will moderate the panel. Audience members will have an opportunity to submit questions in advance of the forum (during registration) and ask questions at the end of the discussion.



Hosted By:


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Time (CST):

1:00pm – 2:00pm:
Panel Discussion


Zoom Webinar


Kathleen Casey, PhD (Moderator)
Director of Clinical Innovation and Development
Integral Care


Dr. Kathleen Casey is the Director of Clinical Innovation and Development at Integral Care and Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at Dell Medical School. She has over 15 years of experience implementing large-scale public health and behavioral health programs. Dr. Casey holds an Interdisciplinary Doctoral Degree from the University of Texas at Austin and is a former Doctoral Fellow with the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. She served as a Program Officer for UNICEF in Central America and Policy Analyst for Prevent Child Abuse America’s National Center on Child Abuse Prevention Research. In 2011, she led the Tobacco Cessation Policy Implementation partnership with the City of Austin to expand cessation initiatives throughout Travis County. Dr. Casey co-leads tobacco cessation efforts throughout Texas with funding from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas.

John Nguyen, MD
Associate Medical Director
Integral Care


John Nguyen, MD, is an addiction psychiatrist and Associate Medical Director at Integral Care. He is also an affiliate faculty member in the Dell Medical School Department of Psychiatry, Program Director of their Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship, and a consulting psychiatrist at UT Health Austin. In addition, Dr. Nguyen is an adjunct assistant professor at Texas A&M College of Medicine. Dr. Nguyen specializes in the treatment of addiction, depression, and anxiety through both medical and psychotherapy approaches. He earned his medical degree from Stanford University. Dr. Nguyen completed a residency in general psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and a fellowship in addiction psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. In the past, he served as Director of Addiction Treatment Services at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.

Lynda Rhodes
Peer Recovery Coordinator
Communities for Recovery


Lynda Rhodes is a person in long term dual recovery and has been active in the Austin recovery community since 2016. She moved to Austin from Kerrville 9 years ago to attend a 90 day treatment with Austin Recovery. Lynda is a certified Recovery Support Specialist and the Peer Recovery Coordinator for Communities for Recovery (CforR), where she supervises a team of six Peer Coaches. Her passion is providing recovery support to others with a specific focus on individuals who are or have had a history of homelessness. Lynda is lead staff member coordinating recovery support services. She is currently participating in The Austin COVID-19 Street Outreach Team and Guided Path Programs. Lynda is dedicated to the CforR motto: “Give to Keep” which she strives to embody in her daily life. Lynda enjoys spending time with family and friends or taking long walks with her little dog Minnie.

Joy Rucker
Executive Director
Texas Harm Reduction Alliance


Joy Rucker is the Executive Director of the Texas Harm Reduction Alliance. She began her career in HIV Prevention in Boston as part of the first outreach team to target injecting drug users, encouraging people to get tested for HIV and not share syringes. Joy joined the Black Coalition on AIDS in San Francisco as the program director for Rafikiki House, a transitional housing program for African Americans who experience homelessness and substance use disorder. Joy was introduced to Harm Reduction as model of service at the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) where she and a team developed the first Harm Reduction Housing training. During that time, she became a trainer for the National Harm Reduction Coalition in New York. After CSH, Joy was the Executive Director of the HIV Education and Prevention Project of Alameda County. After ten years in that role, Joy created Housing First programs in Hawaii on the islands of Maui and Honolulu.

About Integral Care Foundation 

Integral Care Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises funds for Integral Care’s programs and services, which provide critical tools that build health and well-being for adults, children and families.

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