It wasn't difficult to select a highlight from among the presentations at the just-concluded annual conference of NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals. Jerry Moe, national director of children's programs at the Betty Ford Center, brought a plenary session audience to its feet with his moving presentation "Through a Child's Eyes."
If you haven't seen Moe speak, I hope he's on the program at the next conference you attend, or that you try to book him for your own meeting. His work with children of addicts can both inspire and challenge. Often asked how he can stay positive when dealing with so many young children in crisis (he once went through a stretch of attending 48 funerals in 48 months), Moe said, "I'm glad when they're working on this when they're 7 and 9," rather than having to wait to address more serious manifestations in later years.
In a talk filled with uplifting messages, Moe offered his colleagues one bit of advice that seemed particularly appropriate given recent research findings. In working with children in general, he said, professionals will accomplish a great deal if they do nothing else but help delay the age of first substance use.