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SECAD preview: A call for system transformation

January 15, 2009
by Gary A. Enos, Contributing Editor
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Key presenters at the SECAD ’09 conference next month in Atlanta are preparing to deliver a dramatic message to the addiction treatment executives and clinicians in attendance: Research evidence is pointing to an urgent need to redefine treatment toward a longer-term, recovery-focused model.

The word “recovery” appears throughout the agenda for the Feb. 9-11 conference, and it is not defined simply along the lines of the acute episodes of treatment on which the addiction treatment field has been traditionally evaluated. In his morning general session presentation on Feb. 10, Chestnut Health Systems Senior Research Consultant William L. White will state that while there are signs of progress in treatment organizations’ adoption of new models of continuing care, the activity seen to this point doesn’t go far enough.

“These all represent positive developments, but they constitute silos of innovation within particular settings, rather than system-wide changes,” White writes in his new monograph, entitled Recovery Management and Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care: Scientific Rationale and Promising Practices.

White adds in the monograph, “It is time we proactively managed the prolonged course of addiction and recovery careers rather than focusing on self-encapsulated episodes of biopsychosocial stabilization.”

The new publication White will draw from in his SECAD presentation makes special mention of physician health programs that treat and monitor addicted doctors as a relevant model for treatment of all populations. The model is heavy on recovery coaching and support and involves at least five years of follow-up that includes drug testing and documentation of continuing care. White will make the case that physicians are not as “different from the rest of us” as some would contend.

Other recovery-oriented presentations at SECAD include a Feb. 11 morning keynote on the future directions of recovery, particularly given emerging trends in pharmacological treatment. Featured in the session will be two representatives of Ridgeview Institute’s treatment program for recovering professionals, including medical director Steven Lynn, MD.

SECAD ’09 is presented by Vendome Group, publisher of Addiction Professional and Behavioral Healthcare. The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) and NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals worked together on a conference agenda that will inform clinical- and management-level professionals alike—and that clearly will challenge conventional thinking as well.

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