President Rhonda Messamore opened the Spring 2011 meeting of the IC&RC Board of Directors with the bang of a gavel – and a heartfelt speech about the 30th anniversary.
“With this meeting, we kick off IC&RC’s anniversary, ‘Celebrating 30 Years of Setting Standards for Addiction Professionals.’ According to some traditions, the 30th wedding anniversary is the pearl anniversary. We’ve taken the pearl as a symbol for this year. Think about it: a pearl begins as a grain of sand, but oh-so-slowly, over time, the oyster turns this irritation into a beautiful treasure. A pearl represents healing from imperfection, creating beauty and meaning from pain.”
“This imagery resonated strongly for me, and I hope it does for you too. Our very work has at its foundation a world of hurt – the pain that drives addiction, and the pain that it causes, in individuals, in families and in communities. But slowly, with persistence, through the long, hard effort of counselors and prevention specialists, many of these wounds have been healed – and miraculous beauty has come from them. Through the long, patient work of certification boards, clients and their families can rest easy knowing they are working with competent, ethical professionals. Funders and employers know they are working from the latest, evidence-based practices.”
The Certification Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, Inc. adopted bylaws and articles of incorporation in South Bend, Indiana in 1981. At that time, the first office of the consortium was located in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
After three decades, IC&RC is stronger than ever. It represents 76 certification boards and more than 43,000 reciprocal-level certified professionals. The organization now administers more than 8,000 examinations a year.
Keynote by Coulson
Anthony Coulson, Director of ADAPTE International, gave a keynote presentation on the situation between the U.S. and Mexico, including statistics on drug seizures and images of the violence along the border. Coulson discussed the U.S. foreign policy dilemma and advocated treatment and recovery efforts as an effective solution.
In 2010, Anthony Coulson retired from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the DEA's Tucson District Office and directed the Federal Government's drug enforcement strategy in Southern Arizona. He began his career with the DEA in 1982 and has served in Washington, D.C.; Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona; Los Angeles, California; and Songkhla, Thailand. In 1996 and 2002, he received the DEA’s highest award, the Administrator's Award for Exceptional Service.
Coulson explained that 90 percent of drugs in this country enter through the southwest border, and he emphasized that, at 2,000 miles long, the U.S. southern border can never be secured. “I’m a big proponent of putting people in jail,” summarized Coulson. “If they have a problem, give them treatment. But I don’t want to see them again.” He argued that dealers and traffickers need to be removed from communities, so that the communities have time to heal. He added that there must be strategies in place to facilitate that recovery.
Based on seizures, Coulson asserted that marijuana trafficking creates the channels that all other drugs – cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine – use. In 2009, 3.5 million pounds of marijuana was seized, at a value of $3.5 billion dollars. Coulson asserted that amount likely represents 20 percent of the total marijuana trade, but that drug cartels plan for this loss as a part of their business strategy.
In addition to drugs, the U.S. seizes billions of dollars in cash and assets each year. A percentage of that amount goes back to law enforcement agencies, but Coulson encouraged treatment and prevention organizations to advocate for a share of these funds. “You need to be a voice. Get $2 billion of seized assets, and turn it into treatment and prevention. Law enforcement will fight you on it, but they don’t do anything with it.”
From Coulson’s perspective, all law enforcement efforts should have the goal of raising prices of drugs high enough to drive people to treatment. He claims that the U.S. government doesn’t value treatment and prevention as the true solution to drug trafficking. It doesn’t recognize that, without addressing the underlying problem of addiction, the costs of enforcement and corrections will continue.
Colorado Becomes a New Member State
More than 75 delegates from Member Boards gathered to set the direction for the future of the international organization. One new board – Colorado Prevention Certification Board - was joyfully welcomed into the organization. Carmelita Muniz, Mary Anne Burdick, and Cheryl Reid represented the new board at the meeting.
IC&RC was also proud to welcome new delegates from member boards:
Judith Burgess, Bermuda
Carla Scott, Bermuda
Richard Olivarez, California
Mary Christy, Idaho
Chris Daniel, Idaho
Christopher Cohen, New Jersey
Sigurlina Davidsdottir, Nordic/Baltic
Amy Woods, U.S. Air Force
Special guests included:
Tammi Lewis, LPC, AADC, ALPS, Therapist at CAMC Family Resource Center in Charleston, West Virginia, is the new co-chair of the Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC) Committee.
The Peer Recovery Support Specialist credential is continuing toward adoption. Based on three states that already offer a peer recovery credential, minimum standards have been developed, and the credential will undergo IC&RC’s evaluation process over the next six months.
IC&RC protects the public by establishing standards and facilitating reciprocity for the credentialing of addiction-related professionals. Today, IC&RC represents 76 member boards, including 45 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, two U.S. territories, and three branches of the U.S. military. Members also include 22 countries and six Native American territories. IC&RC credentials include Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC), Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC), Clinical Supervisor (CS), Prevention Specialist (PS), Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional (CCJP), Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional (CCDP), and Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional Diplomate (CCDPD).