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Young people involved in Recovery Month

September 9, 2014
by Gary Enos
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As NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, last week honored the 25th year of Recovery Month, the group representing counseling professionals also was pleased to share the billing with individuals who have a much shorter history in the community.

Also involved in hosting the Recovery Month kickoff luncheon in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 4 were the group Young People in Recovery and the Association of Recovery Schools, the latter representing high school programs that blend academics and recovery support activity for young people.

“We need young people getting more involved,” says Cynthia Moreno Tuohy, NAADAC's executive director. “We're going to be carrying this torch for a long time yet.”

Young people in recovery have not grown up in a period when a chorus preaching anonymity dominated the discussion of advocacy activity on substance use issues, so Tuohy believes this generation is poised to become involved at the local level—even if someone doesn't necessarily have designs on becoming trained to work as a peer specialist or an addiction counselor.

Tuohy adds that as these young people become more involved, they enter a period in which research is revealing a great deal about family dynamics and other influences in addiction and recovery. At the same time, the policy arena still features many unanswered questions about how a changing healthcare market will affect substance use service access and delivery.

Last week's Recovery Month event also honored the addiction field's past, with the launch of a video trilogy called “Looking Back at Addiction, Looking Forward to Recovery.” The first video in the series was aired at the luncheon, tracing the history of the counseling profession and NAADAC. Tuohy says the addiction field's chief historian, William White, was the primary contributor to the video.

This year's Recovery Month events urge individuals in recovery to raise their voices as advocates. Mental health themes are now incorporated into Recovery Month's overall agenda as well. The September commemoration was first established under the title “Treatment Works” in 1989.