May 22nd, 2014

I recently participated in a panel discussion about the movie Anonymous People. During the panel, I was asked a question about what wishes I have for the future of addiction treatment. Here is my top wish for addiction treatment.

I responded that I had been so encouraged by the progress that had been made in the addiction field since I had been part of it, that my chief wish for addiction treatment was that this progress would continue. I mentioned 5 areas which had impressed me:

  1. An explosion of research. Through the use of imaging tools such as MRIs and PET scans, we can see the brain reactions of addicts who are awake and can tell us what they are experiencing as we look at the pictures of their brain. Much of what we are learning provides scientific confirmation for what the recovery community has been saying for many years, such as the powerful effect of triggers and the danger that they pose for recovery.
  2. The development of new and effective treatment approaches. This includes psychological treatments such as motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as new medications, such as buprenorphine.
  3. The growth and broadening of the recovery support community. This includes other 12 Fellowships, such as Cocaine Anonymous and Crystal Meth Anonymous, as well as secular programs such as Smart Recovery and explicitly religious ones, such as Celebrate Recovery. This has contributed to my wish for addiction treatment.
  4. Increased insurance coverage. The recent passage of the parity bill brings us a long way from the policies still in place as late as the early 1970’s when addiction treatment programs were explicitly excluded from coverage.
  5. Public policy changes. The increasing momentum to decriminalize marijuana parallels an earlier movement to direct alcoholics to treatment facilities rather than to jails.

What are your wishes for addictions treatment? As treatment professionals, I believe that it’s important that we think positively about the future of our work. I encourage you to make your own Wish List. You can start by coming up with your number one wish for addiction treatment. Contact us to learn more about my top wish for addiction treatment.

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