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National Recovery Month is Coming

National Recovery Month is Coming

The forthcoming month of September usually means that summer is coming to a close. Picnics are over, school begins, the weather changes, leaves begin to fall, and another season has passed. For many people however, September takes on a special meaning of change, reminders of journeys traveled to destinations of hope and better lives, families reuniting, and lost souls finding themselves. September is National Recovery Month. It is a time to remember that people can recover from addiction and behavioral health problems. It is a time to remember that treatment works. It is a time to remember all the professionals and loved ones who shared their lives to help others recover. 


National Recovery Month reminds us as a nation that we have much to celebrate, but it also reminds us that there remains much to do. According to some of the statistics released at the beginning of January by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), illicit drug use in America is increasing. Approximately twenty-four million Americans over the age of twelve used an illicit drug in the past month; this is an increase over the last ten years with marijuana use and painkillers leading the way. In some cases, other drug usage has remained the same or slightly declined. 


However, new substances keep emerging, bringing along with them more challenges. Substances that can be abused always seem a step ahead of us. E-cigarettes and fake marijuana are two examples that have appeared in the last year. Additionally, we are reminded of the cyclical patterns of drug use and behavioral health problems that ebb and flow through the years. Heroin has made a big comeback again.


The articles in this edition of Counselor examine the ever-growing knowledge of continuing efforts at treatment and education, and at the same time, provide us with new insights, analysis, and techniques to better serve individuals, families, communities, and our nation. Once again we are pleased to offer an article from the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment on treating substance-abusing women in mixed gender groups versus women only groups. We haven’t heard the term “co-dependency” much lately, but it is still with us and Jon Daily discusses that fact in his article. The third and final part of our “Cannabis Concerns” series is provided by Brian and Kasindra Jones. Additionally, Margaret Fetting introduces us to the third step in the Integrative Treatment Model.


On a more macro-level, William White interviews Dr. Jean Kilbourne on the advertising of alcohol, tobacco, and psychoactive prescription drugs as well as her life work for the past forty years. Also, did you know that there are between five to fourteen million people in the US that are compulsive hoarders? Dorothy Breininger introduces us to the behavior of hoarding and raises the question of the need for intervention. I hope you find these and the other articles in this edition interesting, thought provoking, and helpful.   


To close out the year, the next two editions of Counselor will be discussing process addictions with selected feature articles. The awareness of process addictions is growing and at the same time the need for understanding them and treating them will involve more and more clinical intervention. Keep an eye out for that special focus in our October and December issues. 


On a personal note, as editor of Counselor I would enjoy hearing from you. Please take the time to comment on articles and send me your suggestions for future articles. I can be reached via e-mail at [email protected] To all of you who help those with substance abuse and behavioral health problems and their families, I wish you a happy National Recovery Month.  
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Formerly Professor of Sociology at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort. Dr. Ackerman is a co-founder of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics and the Chair, Advisory Board of COUNSELOR: The Magazine for Addiction Professionals. He has published numerous articles and research findings and is best known for writing the first book in the United States on children of alcoholics. Twelve books later, many television appearances, and countless speaking engagements, he has become internationally known for his work with families and children of all ages. His books have been translated into thirteen languages.