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Honoring the past while moving forward

July 1, 2007
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Leaders of the professional association that helped establish this magazine nearly five years ago maintain a keen sense of their organization's history. And with three name changes, numeroaus steps forward and back on professional credentialing, and periods marked by both uplifting cooperation and bitter infighting, it has indeed been a colorful 35-year life that NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals has lived. And life doesn't even begin until 40, right?

It is a privilege to work closely with a group of clinical professionals who never lose sight of why all the bureaucratic hurdles and stigmatizing barriers have to be negotiated. We are pleased to devote this issue of Addiction Professional largely to a look at the forces that shaped the counseling profession and its leading association, as well as the trends that are destined to change it.

Every time I attend a NAADAC gathering—or just about any other professional association meeting in the addiction field these days—I witness efforts to make sure that the evolving health care marketplace does not relegate the roots of addiction treatment to the history books. At today's conferences, attendees rattle off names of technological tools and pharmaceutical products like symbols on a stock ticker. Yet in the next breath, they place these advancements in the context of how they can better serve their clients with the basics of what works: a caring therapeutic relationship, or a helping of day-at-a-time recovery.

In the past couple of years NAADAC has taken to heart the words uttered by association president Tom Claunch 25 years ago during heated debate over whether to refer to illegal drugs in the group's name: “A profession must be prepared to change as its body of knowledge evolves.” NAADAC knows that it and its members must forge strong partnerships with other providers, advocates, and emerging corporate movers in order to thrive. Mutual efforts with groups such as the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) now serve as a model that needs to be replicated throughout the treatment and prevention community.

We also realize that this bimonthly forum for clinical and managerial professionals needs to reflect that change. Following the debut of our Environments for Recovery section in the May/June issue, we launch a regular column on drug testing topics in this issue. Look for more new areas of focus in the months ahead.

Whether you're a counselor, a program director, a researcher, or another friend of the field, I encourage you to share your comments, experiences, and story ideas with me. Send me a note at


Gary A. Enos, Editor

Editor's Note:
As we prepared this look at NAADAC's history, the association's leaders were informed of the loss of a link to that history. Larry G. Osmonson, who served as NAADAC president from 1992-94, died on June 2. Osmonson, who had recently celebrated 37 years of sobriety, helped establish the Florida Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors in the 1970s and was the first president of Southwest Florida Addiction Services. He worked on projects ranging from a federal criteria manual for intensive outpatient treatment to counselor certification in the gambling specialty. Friends remembered Osmonson as a mentor, sponsor, helper, and spirited 12-Step advocate.