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What trends will produce real change?

July 1, 2009
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Certainly this field talks a lot about change. Clinical professionals consistently ask whether their clients are ready to change. Entire schools of thought identify the cognitive and neurochemical factors that appear most closely linked to change.

Yet in terms of the field's own fortunes, change remains an elusive concept. Services remain underfunded, clients with substance use problems too often are stigmatized and marginalized, and far too many programs cling to outmoded ideas about “what works.” What will it take, then, to change the field?

Thinking about this question convinced us to compile a list of trends that leaders are seeing as having the capacity to transform the addiction profession. Based on suggestions from readers and discussions with field experts, our article on page 18 cites eight trends that many believe have promise for improving recovery outcomes and elevating the standing of the addiction field in overall health care.

The topics on this diverse list help to demonstrate that new players and new technologies are making their presence felt in the profession. Moreover, many of these developments signal that addiction professionals in greater numbers than ever are beginning to question some of the old assumptions about treatment and recovery, and to test and in some cases embrace new approaches.

Our list is by no means all-inclusive; we intend for it to serve as a vehicle for further discussion. What trends have you been seeing as shaping the future of your program, your local community, your field as a whole? We would like to hear your ideas and print some of them in our Letters section. Please share your thoughts with me at genos@vendomegrp.com.

I also invite you to take some time to visit our Web site at http://www.addictionpro.com and read our timely blog postings. Our new blogger, Anne Hatcher, EdD, is writing on everyday ethical challenges facing addiction treatment professionals and organizations, and she needs your input on how some of the common ethical dilemmas that arise in treatment should be resolved.

Hatcher chairs the ethics committee at NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals. The committee also is contributing regular feature articles on ethics starting in this issue of Addiction Professional, with Frances Clark-Patterson's article on how clinicians need to report on any ethical violations they see in their programs.

We also are looking for topics and possible writers for new blogs on our Web site. We want the blogs section of the site to become a frequent stopping place for your comments and ideas. I need your input, so drop me a note with your thoughts.

Gary A. Enos, Editor Addiction Professional 2009 July-August;7(4):6