Peter Gaumond, ONDCP Chief, Recovery Branch
IC&RC Insights is honored to be able to interview Peter Gaumond, the newly appointed Chief, Recovery Branch for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
IC&RC: What was your career path? Do you hold any licenses or credentials?
Before coming to the Office of National Drug Control Policy to serve as the Chief of the newly created Recovery Branch, I worked on the SAMHSA Partners for Recovery initiative with Abt Associates Inc. and provided technical assistance to states and tribes under the SAMHSA Access to Recovery program with Altarum Institute.
My passion for reducing drug use and its consequences motivated me to accept a 1990 offer to work in a six-month residential treatment program serving young adult offenders on Chicago’s South Side.
My path took me to the Illinois Department of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA), where I eventually became the Administrator responsible for the agency’s portfolio of federal discretionary grants and state-funded initiatives.
IC&RC: When did you first hear of IC&RC and what was your impression of the organization?
I first encountered IC&RC after the merger of Illinois’ separate alcohol and drug counselor certification boards to form the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association, Inc. (IAODAPCA), the Illinois IC&RC affiliate.
IC&RC: Over the years, what do you see as the most important trends in the addiction and prevention field?
I think the movement toward integrated approaches encompassing prevention, treatment, and recovery has been critically important. The Obama Administration is supporting integrated approaches through its comprehensive public health approach to reducing drug use and its consequences. The Administration’s support of SBIRT and peer recovery support services, its embrace and dissemination of the Recovery-oriented systems of Care (ROSC) framework, and its efforts to better integrate specialty addictions services with broader health systems are reflective of this approach.
IC&RC: What is the situation today?
As the Nation’s economy continues to recover, Federal, state, and local governments are confronted with tough financial decisions that can impact addictions services. Despite that, this is a time of great opportunity for the field. Health reform implementation offers an unrivaled opportunity for it to begin to be viewed and funded as a component of our broader health care systems. Despite the difficult budget environment, the President’s FY 2012 budget request increases funding for prevention by $123 million and for treatment by $99 million.
The Administration recognizes that funding of treatment, prevention, and recovery support saves taxpayer dollars in the long run.
IC&RC: What do you hope for the future of our field?
I hope that our field can capitalize on the unparalleled opportunities that are now available. To me, this would mean stepping up to become full partners with broader health systems and, through that partnership, beginning to better focus on long-term recovery outcomes as a shared responsibility. The Obama Administration is making unprecedented effort to make this possible by bringing recovery into the forefront of drug policy conversations.
IC&RC: How can IC&RC and its Member Boards support your work?
ONDCP recognizes that the work IC&RC does to train addiction professionals is important. Its focus on workforce issues will be important as the field prepares for health reform implementation and learns to effectively integrate recovery support services. Your work is critical to reducing the devastating toll drug use has on families and communities and realizing the vision of healthy and resilient individuals, families, and communities.
IC&RC: What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I most like to spend time with my family. We enjoy music, theater and outdoor activities, such as hiking and biking. I also love reading.