I’m looking forward to meeting or reconnecting with many of you starting this weekend at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD). Far be it from me to map out one ideal conference experience for everyone attending—it is up to you to decide the precise combination of education, networking and, yes, Southern California that will yield the greatest return for you! But having been involved in the planning of this conference nearly since last year’s NCAD in Orlando adjourned, here are my three wishes for everyone in attendance:
Be current. 2013 has been a year of both actual change and signs of bigger change to come. Forgive the alphabet soup, but we now have the ACA, a new DSM, a new ASAM-PPC (although the field’s widely used clinical placement criteria now officially go by “ASAM Criteria”), and more. How do the pieces fit together, and what do they mean in total for the way your program delivers care and gets paid? Many of the experts speaking at this year’s conference will have the most updated intelligence, starting at pre-conference sessions on Saturday and highlighted by David Mee-Lee’s plenary talk on Monday.
Be open. NCAD offers a prime opportunity to think outside that box of a facility you’ll be returning home to. Here, process addictions appear alongside drug and alcohol topics on the agenda. Sober homes share billing with residential rehabs. Public and private treatment center leaders exchange knowledge. As you examine our diverse agenda, catch yourself if you say, “Oh, we don’t do that.” In the evolving healthcare marketplace, you soon might find it valuable to do that. You might even find it mandated.
Be outspoken. I urge you to take advantage of the many opportunities to tell us what’s on your mind. Visit me on Sunday night between 5 and 6:30 at the Vendome exhibit booth and tell me how you and your colleagues are addressing your most pressing challenges. If you’re on Twitter, use the hashtag #NCADCon during the conference to report not only on what session you’re attending, but on something thought-provoking or surprising that the speaker said. And I extend a special invitation to attend Tuesday morning’s marijuana policy roundtable, where panelists from both sides of the debate will assess the latest developments around legalization and will take your questions.
Let’s make this the most engaging and interactive NCAD meeting yet.