The Vance-Granville Community College Nursing department and the college chapter of the National Student Nurses’ Association recently hosted one of the nation’s foremost experts on substance abuse in women. Dr. Stephen Kandall spoke to students and faculty from Nursing and other programs on April 10 at VGCC’s Main Campus. In his informative lecture, Dr. Kandall spoke about the origins and causes of drug use in women from the mid-19th century through today, focusing on the circumstances that contributed to drug use among the female population and tracing the historical evolution of advocacy. As part of the advocacy programs now available, Kandall described treatment programs, specifically the use of supervised Methadone treatment with intense monitoring and support components to aid in compliance and success among recovering drug-users. Kandall emphasized the current dilemma surrounding drug use during pregnancy and society’s current attitudes about infants born to mothers who use drugs, both “legal” and “illegal.” He concluded the presentation with a question-and-answer session, which invited thoughtful questioning from students and faculty and stimulated discussion between Kandall and those in the audience.
Kandall, who now lives in Raleigh, graduated from Harvard College magna cum laude in 1961 and New York University School of Medicine in 1965. He served as Chief of Neonatology at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City from 1976 to 1998 and retired in 1998 as Professor of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In addition to serving as president of his local medical societies, Kandall was named by New York Magazine as one of the city’s best doctors in both Newborn Medicine and Addiction Medicine. Most of Kandall’s 90 contributions to the medical literature deal with perinatal drug use (during and right after pregnancy), and he has contributed chapters to many standard textbooks, including “Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook” and “Principles of Addiction Medicine,” as well as his own definitive book on the history of women and addiction in the United States, “Substance and Shadow.” Kandall has lectured throughout the United States and around the world. He has served as advisor to many commissions and panels on drug abuse, including the March of Dimes, Narcotic and Drug Research, Inc., the Scott Newman Foundation in Los Angeles, and currently legislative subcommittees on perinatal health in North Carolina.