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Reflecting on our Time: A Look Back and a Look Ahead*

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Acuity - Density – Equity – Workforce – Parity
Our Environment. Our Challenge. Our Opportunity.

*This article appears in and is adapted with permission of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly (ADAW), Vol 35, Issue 2, January 9, 2023.
**Subscribe to ADAW below.

2022, and the several years preceding it have stretched treatment providers to their limits. A more difficult period of operation is beyond recall. Consider five measures of operational environment:

  • ACUITY: Sufferers are sicker than ever before
  • DENSITY: A greater concentration of the population suffers from substance use disorders than at any time in our history
  • EQUITY: We are at last awakened to our obligation to address the inequity of our systems
  • WORKFORCE: Our workforce is exhausted, depleted, and reimagined
  • PARITY: Insurance reimbursement remains grossly inadequate

Admittedly not an exhaustive list but these are the words our members use most commonly to describe the current environment in which they work. It is daunting.

Still there is one more word: Community. Our community has held. There is no quit in this population. Through community, we are standing strong and building systems that will treat our population for decades.

When COVID hit, there was more uncertainty than certainty. Nearly three years in, most providers are recovering. The environment, while not entirely predictable, allows for strategic and operational forecasting and operations have evolved to accommodate an altered population. Among the adjustments is managing greater acuity in our patients combined with cooccurring disorders that reflect a society with deteriorating mental health.    

As a professional society and trade association, NAATP has emerged from this period stronger than before. NAATP’s membership did not decrease but rather grew at an accelerated pace and to the highest population in our history. Our members need the collective that is NAATP, perhaps most notably as it concerns public policy advocacy. Maintaining good care and a strong workforce requires fair compensation for the health care we provide and that will only be a reality when Congress enforces the law of Parity as it was intended. On this NAATP speaks with an unabashed and united voice. See NAATP letter to the President and NAATP PPU: Senate Parity Advocacy.

We know that “power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” These words belong to Frederick Douglass, which also brings us to NAATP’s commitment to address inequitable access to and quality of addiction treatment for the BIPOC community particularly. None of our work will be sound until we do it with all our populations in mind. It is both just to do so and a quality imperative if we are to fully understand and treat addiction, and we are determined to do so.

All of us at NAATP are honored to work for the greater good of the treatment profession, and we are grateful to our members throughout the country, who, by joining together as a professional society of shared values, give form to our association. As we begin the year ahead, I encourage our membership and members-to-be, to look to the direction of the association's strategic plan. Prior to outlining the plan objectives and actions, the plan sets out the common values that bond us together as follows: Humility & Authenticity, Justice, Advocacy, Integrity, Community & Collaboration, Evidence, Innovation, Proficiency and Professionalism. These principles are not ethereal concepts but rather they serve as practical applications that guide our work and serve as powerful leadership modeling for our staffs and patients.

Looking forward, the new year is a good time to become more familiar with the benefits of NAATP membership and experiencing how our community functions. All staff at NAATP membership organizations are effectively members themselves and can take a step into our community by creating one's unique member login at the link below. This will provide you with member-only resource access.

Not least among these programs is the national conference. We look forward to again convening as a national body at the 44th Annual NAATP Addiction Leadership Conference this May in Washington, DC where we will explore the challenges of our time and seek out solutions. Of particular interest is Hill Day 2023 during which our members will be given the rare opportunity to meet their representatives and senators at the close of the conference.

On behalf of all of us at NAATP and the many thousands of sufferers whom our members treat each day, I thank you for the work you do and the spirit of healing in which you do it. We look forward to seeing you in Washington in May.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Provided below are selected links to NAATP programs and resources that empower our community of providers.

Member Login | Become an NAATP Member | Addiction Industry Directory | Affiliate Directory

Strategic Plan | NAATP Staff | NAATP Board of Directors | Quality Assurance Guidebook

Public Policy Advocacy | State Advocacy Toolkit | DEIB Resources | FoRSE Outcomes Program

NAATP National 2023 | NAATP Hill Day 2023 | Resource Center Job Postings

Code of Ethics | Salary Survey | Webinar SeriesMember Making News

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