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NAADAC Is Up To The Challenge

May 15, 2011
by Don P. Osborn, MS, MA, MAC, LMHC, President of NAADAC
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Our Association is a Leading Voice for the Whole Profession
Don P. Osborn, MS, MA, MAC, LMHC, President of NAADAC
Don P. Osborn, MS, MA, MAC, LMHC, President of NAADAC

This is a challenging time for our profession.

Our workforce is being tested by rapid and evolving changes. I outlined some of those changes in my President's message in a recent edition of the Addiction Professional magazine (November/December 2010, vol. 8 no. 6). As I stated then, “We enter a new era in the addiction profession.”

The passage of health care legislation has initiated much discussion, particularly under Title V. This discussion continues as the final version of the legislation evolves in discussions by lawmakers. While we don't know how these discussions will end, we do know that the status quo will not continue.

Occupational Employment and Wages for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, May 2009

These professionals counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, drug or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families or groups or engage in prevention programs. This category excludes “social workers,” “psychologists” and “mental health counselors” providing these services.

Key Statistics

EMPLOYMENT: 78,470 professionals



Top paying States for this occupation









New Jersey
















Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

While NAADAC's membership is 8,000 strong, it represents only a fraction of the 78,000 professionals who work in the profession. (U.S. Department of Labor, 2009) There are some in the addiction profession who are not members of NAADAC and not aware or current of the changes facing our avocation. Others when becoming aware of the changes are finding the need to evaluate their place in the profession, and wonder why they were not aware of the changes earlier. Several NAADAC members have communicated to me how they value their membership now more than ever. They find in their NAADAC membership provides information and opportunities.

At this time, NAADAC has been asked to lead and contribute vision to changes in the addiction profession. Recent examples of this leadership is the creation of a national standardized addiction studies curriculum and scope of practice and the creation of the National Addiction Studies and Standards Accreditation Commission. These are critical steps towards the creation of a career ladder that takes us from a field to a profession. From having a seat at the table, to helping set the nation's agenda with the development of these critical resources, the place and value of NAADAC is clear.

As this recent events demonstrate, members of NAADAC can effect and encourage significant change in the addiction profession. Being a part of a professional association enables people to participate in deliberations on issues that face those who service clients with addictive disorders and provides a collective voice to addiction professionals who otherwise would not be heard. The more members involved, the easier it is to share information concerning the country's attitudes and beliefs about addiction treatment and to help shape those opinions in a positive way.

NAADAC is the only addictions association leading the way for the profession and - most importantly - our members, on these changes and national issues.

I would like for you to consider using your leadership in NAADAC. If you would, consider speaking to colleagues who are former members or future professionals to become a part of the national voice of NAADAC in membership. Feel free to share this article as well. As promised, NAADAC and I will keep you informed and apprise you of future NAADAC initiatives on behalf of our members and the profession. I thank you for your support and belief in NAADAC membership. If you'd like to renew your membership, or encourage a colleague to join, please visit

Build upon a heritage and leave a legacy, Don

Donald P. Osborn serves as the President of NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals. To contact him directly, please e-mail Addiction Professional 2011 May-June;9(3):N1