The Partnership for Recovery, a coalition of some of the most nationally recognized providers of addiction treatment services, was out making media calls even before the official early November release of the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) long-awaited report on behavioral health service quality. Some might say that if this group and others in addiction mean to be respected players in the treatment policy debate, being proactive with the media on the eve of a major report's release simply constitutes a routine part of the job. Still, it's easy to forget that not many years ago, the addiction field was hampered by too few policy voices that were too easy for the mental health field to drown out on critical issues such as insurance benefits.
That is certainly no longer the case. Agencies and individuals in this field now have ample opportunities to look beyond their everyday circumstances and seek a broader role. Since its 1997 inception, the Partnership for Recovery has grown to incorporate both the pioneers of 12-Step treatment and those who embrace some of the field's newest traditions (as evidenced by the fact that the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers is now an official member of the Partnership).
For individuals, whether we're talking about a person in recovery, a professional who entered the field via a personal struggle with substances, or a career professional with a traditional social services orientation, involvement in advocacy activity is being welcomed as never before. Groups such as Faces and Voices of Recovery (FAVOR) and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) are encouraging new voices to emerge and are building strong advocacy partnerships.
This issue's cover story by William White and Lonnetta Albright insists that it's time for new leaders to join the forces for change in this field. Their words are meant to ensure that the imminent departure of a generation of leaders won't leave the field without direction after a period of intense coalition building.
The start of a new year offers a great opportunity for all addiction professionals to reflect on how they can recommit to serving those in need while also striving to be a voice for progress at the community or national level.
Gary A. Enos, Editor
Bob Richards, who wrote on use of the term “untreatable” in the September 2005 issue,is director of the Buckley Center in Eugene,Oregon.His facility was misidentified in the article.
An inaccurate reference to OxyContin appeared in the commentary by Carlton K. Erickson,PhD,in the November 2005 issue.OxyContin is an oxycodone product.