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NAATP considers marijuana in policy statement

March 9, 2017
by Julie Miller, Editor in Chief
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In a new public policy statement, the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) relayed its stance on a range of issues, including the use of marijuana. It’s an especially timely topic considering the growing number of states that are legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use.

According to the statement, NAATP:

  • Acknowledges the harms of marijuana as an intoxicant;
  • Advocates for more research on its potential medicinal qualities; and
  • Opposes its medicinal use without FDA approval.

“It is an omnipresent issue now, and it’s important that we say something about it,” Marvin Ventrell, NAATP executive director, tells Behavioral Healthcare Executive. “Avoiding a controversial topic is not good leadership.”

Ventrell says the association is open to new advances when there is evidence to support them, but so far the research on marijuana is not there yet. The FDA has not approved marijuana for any indication but has approved two drugs containing a synthetic version of a substance that is present in the plant and one other drug containing a synthetic substance that acts similarly to compounds from marijuana.

Although NAATP is located in Colorado—the first state to allow recreational use—the association is not taking a stance on legalization one way or another, Ventrell says.

“Marijuana is very present in Colorado in a way that it was not prior to legalization, and the business around marijuana is very present, too,” he says.

Ethics update

As far as business operations go, NAATP has a separate code of ethics and a relatively new ethics pledge that members sign. No organizations have lost membership for violating the pledge thus far. Ventrell tells BHE that several influential industry executives—including Doug Tieman from Caron, Rob Waggener from Foundations, Mark Mishek of Hazelden Betty Ford and Phil Eaton from Rosecrance—gathered last week to discuss additional innovations to elevate ethical standards in the industry.

“Our goal is to determine what we as a society can do to improve ethical business practices and create a competitive environment that is more collegial than it is now,” Ventrell says. “The consensus is that more can be done, and NAATP intends to step out in a bolder way than we have so far.”

He anticipates the added measures will be presented at the association’s conference in May.