Conference 2016 – Arlington, VA

"Addiction Care Comes of Age: A Place in the Public Health Discourse” was the theme for the 2016 Conference of Affiliates, which was held near the Nation’s Capitol and had a strong public policy/advocacy component. Day One’s opening Keynote address was given by Frances Harding, Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. She highlighted the results of the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, spoke of the need to keep a focus on prevention, expanding efforts to emerging issues such as marijuana, heroin and other drug use, covered the prevention aspects of the Affordable Care Act and described two new SAMHSA funding initiatives

Robert Pezzolesi of the New York Alcohol Policy Alliance, presented data on the link between alcohol and diseases, including heart disease and cancer and demonstrated why alcohol continues to account for the highest health risks of all drugs. Greg Williams, co-founder of Facing Addiction presented a couple of film clips and reported on the Unite to Face Addiction rally held in DC in October 2015 where NCADD and many Affiliates were co-sponsors.

Following a PACE (Professional Association of Council Executives)-hosted buffet lunch, conference attendees were treated to a showing of “The Hungry Heart,” a documentary film based on the prescription drug crisis in Vermont. The film’s director/producer, Bess O’Brien, told of her experience making the movie and provided follow-up on some of the film’s subjects.

Day Two started with a speech by Mary Lou Leary, Deputy Director for State, Local and Tribal Affairs for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Director Michael Botticelli, who was to have spoken, was ill and Mary Lou stepped in for him, doing an excellent job. She spoke of the rich history of NCADD and our founder, Marty Mann, and then outlined some of the initiatives that ONDCP is working on, especially in dealing with the opioid epidemic.

Kristina Sperkova, President of IOGT International, introduced the Affiliates to her organization and to the work that they are doing on a global level. She spoke of the various places within the global health community where the alcohol industry has representation and the billions of dollars they spend on lobbying. With that, a new initiative called "Exposing Big Alcohol" was announced. Affiliates were encouraged to go to http://www.bigalcohol.exposed as this initiative's first phase is unveiled.

The Conference also showcased the Affiliate Prevention & Education Award-winning program “Sunshine Club,” from the Recovery Resource Council in Fort Worth, TX. Lisa Reiling, Director of Prevention Services at the Council, presented about the program and also accepted the award at the Awards Luncheon, where Executive Service Awards for length of service also were presented. The Awards Luncheon, which was sponsored by Mutual of America, offered a special treat.  Daniel Rodriguez, known as “America’s Beloved Tenor,” spoke of his recovery and captivated the audience with a beautiful rendition of America the Beautiful.

NCADD Advocacy Day, on Wednesday, April 6, capped the Conference with participants making visits to their congressional representatives. With the help of Carol McDaid and Holly Strain of Capitol Decisions, Inc., NCADD advocates had been coached in how to be an effective advocate and went to the Hill with three “asks”: Support for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), funding to address the opioid misuse and overdose epidemic, and full implementation and enforcement of parity. The three topics were selected based on responses to a survey of Affiliates.

Last modified onFriday, 22 April 2016 11:31
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