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Ed Johnson, M.Ed., MAC, LPC The Carolinas and Kentucky Program Manager Southeast Addiction Technology Transfer Center, HHS Region 4

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Presentation on theme: "Ed Johnson, M.Ed., MAC, LPC The Carolinas and Kentucky Program Manager Southeast Addiction Technology Transfer Center, HHS Region 4"— Presentation transcript:

1 Ed Johnson, M.Ed., MAC, LPC The Carolinas and Kentucky Program Manager Southeast Addiction Technology Transfer Center, HHS Region 4 EMail:

2 Southeast ATTC is one of 10 Regional and 4 National Focus resource centers for addiction- related information funded through by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Southeast ATTC, located at the National Center for Primary Care at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, serves the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.



5 Words are important. If you want to care for something, you call it a flower; if you want to kill something, you call it a weed. Don Coyhis

6 Language is the key to changing the way people with substance use disorders see themselves and the way they are seen by others. Changing language is a way to personally and culturally close one chapter in our history and open another. Our goal today is to open a discussion about the layers of meaning that fill our personal and professional language while being respectful to all points of view. Be willing to question your beliefs and assumptions about the language we use

7 Watch your thoughts, they become words Watch your words, they become actions, Watch your actions, they become habits Watch your habits, they become character Watch your character, it becomes your destiny Anon.




11 “We know from the research that has been conducted by some of the worlds leading neuroscientists that drug addiction is not a moral failing on the part of the individual, it’s a chronic disease of the brain and it can be treated. This isn’t my opinion and is not a political statement and it really isn’t open for debate because the evidence is clear and it’s unequivocal. It’s a fact born out by decades of study and research and it’s a fact that neither the government nor the public can ignore.” Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy Betty Ford Center June 12, 2012

12  Hypertension  Diabetes  Asthma


14 “Recovery is a process of change whereby individuals improve their health and wellness, to live a self- directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” SAMHSA/CSAT 2011

15  Recovery is person-driven  Recovery occurs via many pathways  Recovery is holistic  Recovery is supported by peers and allies  Recovery is supported through relationships and social networks  Recovery is culturally based and influenced  Recovery is supported by addressing trauma  Recovery involves individual, family and community strengths and responsibilities  Recovery is based on respect  Recovery emerges from hope


17 CurrentAlternativeReasoning Clients / Patients / ConsumersThe people in our program The folks we work with The people we serve More inclusive, less stigmatizing Alex is an addictAlex is addicted to alcohol Alex is a person with a substance use disorder Alex is in recovery from drug addiction Put the person first Avoid defining the person by their disease The terms listed below, along with others, are often people’s ineffective attempts to reclaim some shred of power while being treated in a system that often tries to control them. The person is trying to get their needs met, or has a perception different from the staff, or has an opinion of self not shared by others. And these efforts are not effectively bringing them to the result they want. Mathew is manipulativeMathew is trying really hard to get his needs met Mathew may need to work on more effective ways of getting his needs met Take the blame out of the statement Recognize that the person is trying to get a need met the best way they know how Kyle is non-compliantKyle is choosing not to… Kyle would rather… Kyle is looking for other options Describe what it looks like uniquely to that individual—that information is more useful than a generalization Mary is resistant to treatmentMary chooses not to… Mary prefers not to… Mary is unsure about… Avoid defining the person by the behavior. Remove the blame from the statement Jennifer is in denial Jennifer is ambivalent about…… Jennifer hasn’t internalized the seriousness of…. Jennifer doesn’t understand………… Remove the blame and the stigma from the statement

18 Current Term / PhraseAlternative Self Help GroupsMutual Aid Groups Substance Abuse / AddictionSubstance Use Disorder Drug of Choice / AbuseDrug of Use DenialDenial / Ambivalence RelapseRecurrence/Setback Relapse is Part of RecoveryRecurrence may occur as part of the Disease Clean & SoberDrug Free; Free of illicit or non-prescribed medications

19 Recovery-oriented systems of care shift the question from “How do we get the client into treatment?” to “How do we support the process of recovery within the person’s environment?” H.Westley Clark, MD, JD, CAS, FASM

20 Recovery Management (RM) is a philosophical framework for organizing addiction treatment and recovery support services across the stages of: pre-recovery identification and engagement recovery initiation and stabilization (treatment), and long-term recovery maintenance With the ultimate goal of quality of life enhancement for individuals and families

21  They’re not ready  They don’t want it bad enough  They haven’t hurt/lost enough  They’re too resistant  They are in denial

22  Alcoholic  Addict  Drunk  Old Wino  Crack Head  Junkie  Needle Freak  Benzo Queen  Garbage Head  Burn Out  Pot Head  Loser  Waste Case  And then there is “Chronic Relapser” or “Chronic Recidivist”

23 My clients don’t hit bottom; they live on the bottom. If we wait for them to hit bottom, they will die. The obstacle to their engagement in treatment is not an absence of pain; it is an absence of hope. — Outreach Worker (Quoted in White, Woll, and Webber 2003)

24 “When I stopped living in the problem and began living in the answer, the problem went away” Alcoholics Anonymous p.449 (3 rd Edition)

25  By us changing our language we can start the process of the general public changing their language and perception  We need to bring unequivocal messages of hope that the problems of substance use disorders can be resolved  The focus needs to be on the solutions that recovery brings  The reality of recovery  The diversity of patterns of recovery  The variety of methods used to achieve recovery

26 If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are John W. Gardner


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