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David & Nic  Sheff

David & Nic Sheff

Authors & Substance Abuse Advocates


Nic Sheff was drunk for the first time at age eleven. In the years that followed, he would smoke pot regularly, do cocaine and ecstasy, and develop addictions to methamphetamines and heroin. Nic’s father, David Sheff, a renowned journalist who has written for The New York Times, Wired, Fortune and Rolling Stone, never gave up hope and helped his son battle and overcome his dangerous addictions. Read More >

Now in his twenties, Nic is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic who has written two memoirs, Tweak and We All Fall Down, about his experience. He has also been published in Newsweek, Nerve, and the San Francisco Chronicle. In an extraordinary turn of events, David simultaneously wrote an award-winning and New York Times best-selling memoir about their experience, Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Meth Addiction. Following its publication, David met countless people struggling to prevent drug use and abuse and survive addiction—their own or a loved one’s. These encounters led David on a ten-year mission to determine why America is losing its war against drugs and so many of its children in the process.

David rejects the stigmatization of drug use and calls for a new approach that treats use and addiction for what it is: a health crisis that is costing America $600 billion a year (in healthcare costs, crime, lost productivity and more) and killing 350 people a day—more than any disease other than cancer and heart disease. This revolutionary work offers clear and cogent counsel for parents, schools, and communities, as well as addicts themselves.

Raw and honest, Nic and David spare no detail in telling the compelling, heartbreaking and true story of addiction and the road to recovery. Both together and separately, father and son frequently speak to schools, community groups and conferences devoted to understanding mental health, preventing drug use and about addiction on high school and college campuses. They argue that by addressing addiction, we take serious action against a host of other problems created and exacerbated by addiction, such as gun violence, domestic abuse and any other mental illness-related issue. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

On Prevention: You Need to Treat the Cause of Addiction, Not the Symptoms

Interview with Matt Lauer - David Sheff

A Story of a Drug Addicted Son

Addiction and Sexually Frustrated Flies

Interview with Oprah

Speech Topics

Drugs, Guns & Violence: How Addiction Feeds Every Other Issue

Addiction not only kills more people than any disease other than cancer and heart disease, it’s the number-one cause of non-natural death. As tragic as gun violence is, it takes about 15,000 lives a year while addiction takes 115,000. That’s 320 people a day. But addiction often causes or exacerbates gun violence and other issues. In some communities, 80 percent of crime is related to drug use. Addicts commit crimes on drugs and for drugs. Author and speaker David Sheff has dedicated his life to advocating addiction prevention and rehabilitation and discusses how taking action against this one issue would curb a host of other problems, such as gun violence, domestic abuse, and other social ills.

Addiction in the Family? You're Not Alone

Realizing that killing himself would not just affect his own life but affect those who loved him helped bring speaker Nic Sheff back from a drug-infused abyss. Knowing firsthand the perils of abuse, today Sheff reaches out to those facing the same struggles. His book, Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines, reassures young people in similar situations that they are not alone. By sharing his harrowing yet inspirational story in his book and in presentations, he shares his message that those battling addiction are not stuck in a vacuum—somebody out there loves them and will help them come back to the surface.

Letting Go: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction

Addicts don’t stop caring about the people they love. But as addiction takes over, it commands a person’s mind and body to the point where all they can think about is getting the drugs into their system while loved ones are sidelined, feeling helpless. In this powerful presentation, speaker David Sheff shares the story of his son Nic’s addition and the impact it has had on their family. Based on his New York Times best-selling book, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction, and his son Nic’s bestseller, Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines, they tell the story from both sides of addiction in this riveting presentation.

What We Do & Don't Know About Treatment: Making Informed Choices When Confronting Addiction

In this keynote presentation, David Sheff, author of the best-selling Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction, bridges the gap between the new science, traditional techniques, and personal responsibilities involved in addiction treatment. Read More >

Sheff combines the science of addiction treatment with real world experiences to provide audiences with useful strategies and an essential understanding of those who enter treatment. Breaking away from traditional programs such as 12 Step, he acknowledges that some treatments may work for many but do not work for all. In a close examination of addiction therapy and of the latest addiction medicines, Sheff explores how drugs work on the brain and how we can better treat addicts. Read Less ^

Prevention: What Works & What Doesn't

Having devoted recent research to exploring the topic of prevention, speaker David Sheff is at the forefront of what has become a main focus on addressing addiction. The basis for his forthcoming book, The Thirteenth Step, his findings look at the driving forces behind addictive behaviors, noting that most drug and alcohol use isn’t about the drugs and alcohol, but rather about life. In understanding that, we can finally find an effective way forward in successfully preventing addiction.