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Second Fiddle to Mental Health

May 5, 2008
by Gary Enos
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Groups that are traditionally identified with mental health are certainly aiming to give addiction topics their due attention in the discussion of treatment systems. This was in evidence last week at the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare conference, although it is clear that addiction continues to play a secondary role in the conversations. An addictions services track at the May 1-3 conference included a comparatively small number of sessions. One of those featured consultant David Mee-Lee, MD, who trains professionals in the development of person-centered services. Mee-Lee criticized addiction treatment providers for often impeding access to their own services, such as through punitive ways of managing relapse. Too few programs bother to ask clients, "What is it that you want?" when designing programs, Mee-Lee said. Some of the community mental health leaders I spoke with in Boston expressed frustration with their own efforts to integrate addiction services. One executive from Massachusetts said the typical prospective staffer who interviews at his agency has received practically no training in addictions as part of their academic experience.

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Gary Enos

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Gary Enos

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www.addictionpro.com

Gary A. Enos has been the editor of Addiction Professional since its inception. He...