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Making the old new again

December 1, 2007
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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If you don't think new influences are in play within the addiction treatment industry, take a look at the session topics for last month's SECAD 2007 conference, long considered a must-attend event for honing clinical skills. At this year's meeting, attendees could partake of some very non-clinical sounding “Broadening the Market for Substance Abuse Services,” “Managing for Peak Performance,” and “Portfolio Analysis as a Tool for Resolving Profitability and Mission Issues.” And that's not to mention a pre-conference institute that attempted to shed light on when an addiction treatment organization should consider consolidating with another entity.

We at Addiction Professional also have recognized that to examine clinical care without also addressing the bigger picture of the environment in which that care occurs misses the mark. For the second year, we have devoted a special issue of the magazine to administrative challenges and innovations in a time of change and anxiety for the treatment community. We hope this second Executive Forecast issue will help continue a dialogue about the field's future that will be reflected in the topics discussed throughout the year in our publication.

The treatment organizations and professionals contributing to this special issue are taking risks, whether it be by adopting a research agenda, becoming a more high-profile member of their community, or taking on more of a continuing-care approach in their core services. But in none of these cases are these agencies and their leaders abandoning their past completely. In fact, they appreciate the notion that to be successful, they have to adapt today's innovations to the traditional practices that have served them and their clients well.

This can't be easy to do sometimes, when it seems that all anyone wants to talk about in regard to addiction treatment these days is the new—whether it be new medications, new business interests, or new amenities in new celeb-friendly centers. Or as Little Hill-Alina Lodge Executive Director Mark Schottinger recently characterized the popular talk about the industry: “You'd think alcoholism was actually an amenities deficiency.”

But leaders such as Schottinger and others work to use new ideas to make what they have done for years even stronger. They have seen firsthand how the miracle of that relationship between the helper and the client transcends treatment ideology and manages to turn despair to hope. “My whole intent here has been to keep everything that was good and strong,” says Schottinger, and he says that has always guided his thinking over the decade he has served as Alina Lodge's chief executive.

Please let me know what you think of the topics covered in this Executive Forecast issue; I can always be reached via Also, we are always interested in finding new writers with story ideas on the administrative issues and trends that will shape the future of treatment and prevention services. Let's continue to make this publication a true learning community for everyone who contributes to the success of addiction service organizations.

Gary A. Enos, Editor