Monthly Archives: September 2010

Legislative Corner – September 30, 2010

By Andrew Kessler, Federal Policy Liason

A few years ago, my wife took me to see one of her favorite musicals – Rent. The first song of the second act, “Seasons of Love,” poses a question:

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes,
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes,
How do you measure, measure a year?

Well, for an advocate in DC, it’s not quite that simple. Success – or failure – is not measured in quantities of time. Or, in any other quantities for that matter. Some successes or losses can be measured in terms of legislation passed or regulations established, but for the most part, it comes down to this: Have you done enough for your constituency to be recognized as a leader in its respective field?

In this regard, IC&RC has had an uphill struggle. The field of substance abuse prevention/treatment and its professionals is not well recognized by policy makers, for a variety of reasons. It is overshadowed by doctors, psychologists, social workers, and others, whose ranks are larger and have been organized advocates for far longer. Substance abuse treatment also suffers from an ever-present social stigma, and policy makers are never quite sure whether the issue is best addressed from the perspective of law enforcement or health.

IC&RC is also unique amongst advocates, as it is not an organization of individual members, making grassroots advocacy somewhat difficult. The final piece of the puzzle is that for decades, NAADAC has been the only voice for addiction counselors in Washington. While IC&RC is not in competition with NAADAC, we must work hard to assure that IC&RC is included in all conversations where counselors can contribute, or just as importantly, can benefit.

Then again, who doesn’t love a good challenge? In August 2009, in conjunction with IC&RC’s leadership, Slingshot Solutions designed a strategy – and goals – for IC&RC’s first year back in the advocacy arena. In large part, we have achieved these goals.

Our first and most important goal was to announce our arrival in Washington. We did this by joining several coalitions, focused on both substance abuse, and on health issues in general. These coalitions allow us to share information with other organizations, and learn about issues such as legislation, funding, and regulations that impact the field. IC&RC is now an active member in the Coalition for Whole Health, the Addiction Leadership Group, and the Coalition for Health Funding, the Friends of NIDA, the SAMHSA Recovery Month Planning Partners, and the Health Professionals & Nurses Education Coalition.

A common misperception is that advocates spend all their time working with Congress. If anything is true, it’s the opposite. Working with Congress takes up less than half the time we put into advocacy. The largest chunk of our time is spent working with executive agencies and other policy making bodies, mostly within the US Department of Health and Human Services. These include the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Mary Jo Mather and Andrew Kessler attended the NIDA Blending Conference in April 2010, and our meetings with NIDA produced an idea that we hope can move forward in the near future. We will actively seek the input of NIDA scientists for our next round of exam development, in order to ensure that our counselors are being tested for the latest in evidence-based practice.

We have also put a large amount of effort into working with the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Through working with former Deputy Director Tom McLellan, we are involved in an effort in which the Department of Labor will attempt to recruit over 50,000 new substance abuse counselors over the next decade. We have also met with other senior officials at ONDCP, to discuss prevention, prescription drug abuse, and the role of substance abuse professionalswithin the new health care reform era.

Our work with SAMHSA has been centered on workforce development. We are involved in ongoing discussions with other national certifying bodies, which began in March 2010. Our inclusion in this process is the direct result of our presence in Washington, DC.

Of course, the one issue that dominated the legislative landscape, for all DC advocates, was health care. Not since 9/11 has one single issue dominated the political landscape so thoroughly. In the recently passed and enacted health care reform legislation, the “Affordable Health Care for America Act,” there are many provisions that concern health professionals, including substance abuse professionals. The law, for the most part, focuses on the rights of the consumer, and the role of health professionals is only addressed in one section.

Title V of the law provides funding for scholarships and loan repayment programs, thus increasing the number of primary care physicians, nurses, physician assistants, mental health providers, and dentists in the areas of the county that need them most, such as rural areas and inner cities. Those with a graduate degree in substance abuse treatment qualify for Title V programs.

Now that health care reform has become law, there is still more work to be done. All of the programs and changes it provides for must be implemented. Also, these new or modified programs must be funded, which means a whole new round of advocacy at the appropriations level – for many years to come. IC&RC accomplishes this work through participation in two coalitions: The Coalition for Health Funding (one of only two members of the coalition committed to working on addiction prevention and treatment) and the Coalition for Whole Health.

Perhaps the single greatest benefit to representation in Washington, DC is the opportunity to form collaborations. In the past year, IC&RC has forged relationships with groups such as the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD), and Strategic Applications International (SAI).

Of course, having spent the last year laying a foundation for our future in advocacy, we now turn toward building upon it. Health care reform implementation will continue to impact our field, as will legislation that could alter the criminal justice system, care for the active military and veterans, and high-tech training for health professionals. A far more detailed report is forthcoming at the fall IC&RC meeting in Scottsdale next month, so prepare for a lively discussion there!

From the President’s Desk – September 30, 2010

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Among the Executive Committee, we often marvel at the work of our members at the local level, and we know that the international stature of our organization is built on those achievements. While these words are inadequate to express our gratitude, we want to take this opportunity to thank you.

As you know, our profession is facing numerous challenges – member boards deal with local concerns, while the national political landscape is promising a sea change in how we practice. IC&RC believes its role is to assist and support you on both levels.  

Through our Federal Policy Liaison Andrew Kessler, we advocate for your interests at the national level. Our excellent staff is always available for technical assistance, and soon we will be providing an Online Member Toolkit, chock full of resources for every shape and size of organization.

IC&RC understands how these economically challenging times have taken a toll in all jurisdictions, but your attendance at the Fall Meeting is nothing short of essential. Your participation aids us in working as strategically and effectively as possible to meet the needs of our member boards. In return, it’s a great place for you to network and learn new and creative ways to serve your constituency. 

Furthermore, the meetings are a great way to gain assistance with all endeavors your board is undertaking. The IC&RC Executive Committee, Committee Chairs, our entire staff, including our Marketing Director, Kay Glass, and our Federal Policy Liaison, Andrew Kessler, will all be available to answer questions and provide advice.

In addition, your attendance and strong voice gives you a seat at the table when decisions are being made that may affect your board or constituents.

We realize that during this time of economic turmoil and global conflict, there are many pressing issues that require your attention. We believe, however, that we can only succeed in becoming stronger  by joining together!

I urge you to attend the next IC&RC meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona on October 19-21. Meeting information is available on the Members Only site. I would be most honored to meet you and hear about your board’s activities, needs and accomplishments!


Rhonda Messamore


Sponsorship Opportunities at the Fall Meeting

IC&RC has created a limited number of sponsorship opportunities for the Fall 2010 Meeting. They provide a way to promote your product or service to the IC&RC membership, while supporting our work. For more information, contact Kay Glass by email or at 717-540-4457.

Protected: Prevention Specialist Exam – Answers

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Prevention Specialist Exam – Sample Questions

1. Josey provides Life Skills classes at a local school. She is asked by the principal to lead group therapy sessions for children of alcoholics while the guidance counselor is on leave. What should Josey do?

A. Respectfully refuse.

B. Accept the challenge.

C. Volunteer to co-facilitate.

D. Accept but provide Life Skills classes instead of therapy.

Substance Abuse Prevention:  The Intersection of Science and Practice , p. 11

Domain:  Professional Growth and Responsibility    

2. Straight Arrow Tobacco Coalition implemented a school-based prevention program  in all fourth-grade classes of their local elementary school. The program included a parental smoking cessation program. At the end of the fall semester, the program served 171 fourth-graders and 27 parents. This is an example of:

A. Successful program.

B. Outcome evaluation.

C. Impact evaluation.

D. Process evaluation.

Evaluation Primer:  Setting the Context for A Drug-Free Communities Coalition Evaluation, p. 26-27

Domain:  Planning and Evaluation

3. A person who has been designated by group members to be caretaker of the meeting process is known as the ___.

A. President.

B. Boss.

C. Facilitator.

D. Advocate.

Substance Abuse Prevention:  The Intersection of Science and Practice, p. 244

Domain:  Community Organization

For the answers, click here, and the password is “answers”.

Ethical Fitness

by Linda Verst

As I pen the third in our inaugural year of prevention-focused ethics columns, my tomatoes are beginning to fade on the vine after weeks of daily eating, giving them away and flash freezing my bounty.  I barely recall those early June days when I daily peered for growth, tomato blossoms or tiny fruit.  Our work is often that way, isn’t it?  Either we’re cooling our heels waiting for the next shoe to drop or carrying paperwork wherever we go, trying to play catch up.

 Our last column had to do with that new preventionist whose job was preventing prenatal alcohol exposure. She needed a second job, and bartending appealed. Thanks to Jessica Hestand and Julie Stevens, who possibly twisted a few arms, I’ve not had to cool my heels waiting for responses.  I appreciate all who wrote and took this dilemma seriously!  Note: none of you argued with the possibility of the person needing to supplement her income, or of bartending as financially feasible in filling that gap.  We all recognize the believability of this issue.

Here are just a few of your thoughtful responses:

From Aleza Berube, Prevention Educator in Austin TX, “… this is a conflict of interest because the grant is to prevent alcohol use by pregnant women.  Since it is not illegal to serve pregnant women, you might end up serving a pregnant woman …” 

From Dechantria D. Wallace, ICPS, Academic Advisor in Little Rock AR, “I would have to say that this is definitely a conflict of interest… As prevention specialists we all uphold certain ethical standards. How can you serve alcohol to individuals at one job and promote prevention of alcohol use to individuals at another?  In fact, this is no worse than accepting money from a local alcohol distributor to promote prevention activities…”

Finally, from Katrina Cavaness, ICPS, Monticello Schools, AR, “(She) should look for extra work elsewhere as this scenario is a clear-cut conflict of interest.  What would (she) do if she were to accept the bartending job and one of her pregnant clients came into the establishment for a drink?  How would the pregnant client feel seeing her counselor serving drinks?  This situation would undermine the prevention professional’s ability to effectively assist her clients to abstain from alcohol.”

All readers will be happy to know that the actual preventionist in this case study chose on her own not to take the bartending job, but to find other employment, even though it might be less helpful to her financial situation. 

Thanks to all who shared views, and here are some useful internet resources for information on Fetal Alcohol issues:

Want to see your name in this international newsletter?  Here’s a new dilemma for your consideration: 

“Bob is working in intervention in a rural area.  One of his responsibilities is to meet weekly with a small group of at-risk teens at the county high school.  These students have been caught smoking or drinking.  Judge Jones is a local judge who speaks to Bob’s group.  The Judge speaks to the teens about underage drinking and driving laws, explaining how much trouble they can incur.  Judge Jones is stopped by police in a town close to Bob’s school.  He is arrested for drunk driving.  What should Bob do about having the Judge continue to speak to his intervention group?”

Please share your thoughts in the comments.   You’re also welcome to send sample case studies (suitably disguised) for future discussion to with the subject line of “Ethical Fitness.”

Member Board Highlight: Arkansas Prevention

IC&RC member boards looking for a way to let their certified workforce know they are valued can check out the Arkansas Prevention Certification Board (APCB). Its annual banquet – most recently held on on June 8, 2010 – featured a keynote by Jack Claypoole, Administrator of Drug Free Communities at the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Starting in June 2008, APCB held an annual banquet to honor and recognize the Certified Prevention Consultants and Specialists in Arkansas.  Individuals who became certified within the past year are presented with a lapel pin to recognize their accomplishment.  The pin provides recognition for the individual, the board, and certification in general.  

A fun, new addition to this year’s event was a silent auction, which raised the profile of the APCB with local businesses and community members.  Jessica Hestand, ICPS, APCB Administrator, reported, “The banquet is always a great time for individuals certified, working in or interested in prevention to come together.  I would definitely recommend other boards consider it as a way to recognize their workforce.”

Another way recognize a certified individual in your jurisdiction is by nominating them for the IC&RC Prevention Professional of the Year Award.  Take the time to let one of your professionals know your board thinks they are great!