I learned early on that our venture in publishing a clinical magazine for addiction professionals would keep our readers consistently engaged. Not long after publication of our premiere issue in January 2003, a prominent leader from the addiction treatment community remarked on the image we used to illustrate our main cover story, “When a Client Slips,” which discussed how residential programs address an individual’s relapse while in treatment.
The reader found the image, of a pair of hands clenched around a glass, to be more reflective of a “tabloid” approach to the subject. Beyond reminding me of the challenges of illustrating conceptual thoughts in a print publication, the experience told me right from the beginning, “This audience cares.”
It’s what continues to make this magazine such an energizing experience for us in our 10th year of publication. A great deal has changed in the past decade, in the field and in this operation as well. The magazine changed corporate ownership in year three, and we evolved through a partnership with NAADAC and now without an affiliation.
And who would have predicted at the start that a website (www.addictionpro.com) would become our primary point of reference for content and that our ongoing dialogue with the field would be fueled largely through a LinkedIn group (Addiction Professionals) that as of this writing was soaring toward being 5,000 members strong?
The one constant through all of this has been the support, prodding, and even occasional scolding from our readers, constantly helping us to restock the shelves in our open marketplace of ideas. I therefore want to use the remaining space to share some of your recent thoughts about the decade, as I asked via LinkedIn and other channels for your opinions on what has been the most significant development affecting clinical addiction services over the past 10 years.
Here are a few of the comments received via the LinkedIn group:
“National standards for addictions curricula in higher education and for ongoing recovery support are important organizational innovations.”
“More acceptance of harm reduction as a viable treatment option; Suboxone; parity; integrative treatment.”
“One sad trend is the increased abuse of narcotic pain pills throughout society, but especially with the adolescent crowd.”
The favorite comment I received came from Howard Josepher, an innovator in assisting disadvantaged populations and the founder and president of the community-based organization Exponents in New York City. Josepher’s response speaks to the awesome potential of recovery, and to the goals that our information channels vow to further in our next 10 years. Here are his comments in their entirety:
For a number of reasons, I believe the introduction of the Recovery Oriented System of Care has had the greatest impact on addiction treatment service delivery over the past decade.
ROSC incorporated evidence of addiction as a chronic health condition, allowing us to expand upon the predominant acute care treatment model through the provision of ongoing, comprehensive supportive services to those recovering from addiction. It affirmed the efficacy and importance of peer-delivered services and initiated the pioneering development of recovery coaches.
ROSC changed the dynamic of the therapeutic relationship from a top-down, paternalistic one to a client-centered, strength-based approach that assumes clients have the resources and skills to make changes in their lives. ROSC gave us a new way to engage and work with a person in need through the presentation of a menu of stage-appropriate choices that address their identified needs. ROSC has given us a new and compelling therapeutic process in overcoming and recovering from addiction.