Sunday, November 05, 2006

Nicotine in treatment: A matter of honesty, courage, and leadership

"No ATOD-related issue generates more emotion right now than the issue of smoking as a professional practice issue or proposals for changes in organizational smoking policies in addiction treatment institutions. The nexus between personal nicotine addiction and professional performance is so great that smoking for those working in prevention and treatment will likely become a tragic and ironic artifact within the history of the field. The evidence supporting this shift is overwhelming.

"Moving forward to address nicotine addiction within the larger rubric of addiction treatment is no longer a question of inadequate research; it is a question of honesty, courage and leadership.

"Every day, addictions professionals who have been addicted to nicotine are shedding that addiction and embracing a personal manifesto containing one or more of the following propositions:

I choose to:
  • Forever sever my personal relationship with nicotine; it no longer has a place in my life.
  • Help hasten the end of the addiction field’s enabling of tobacco addiction among our clients and our workers.
  • Model responsible decision-making regarding all psychoactive drugs and encourage my clients and peers to do the same.
  • Offer assistance to those seeking to recover from nicotine addiction.
I refuse to:
  • Contribute money to or accept money from a predatory industry that has consciously sacrificed the health of the public for corporate profit.
  • Model a behavior (smoking) that could take years from my own life and the lives of those who could be influenced by my example.
  • Remain silent about the tobacco industry’s targeted marketing to women, children, communities of color, and citizens of developing countries.
  • Live the hypocrisy of being addicted while working as an addictions professional."
From an important new paper by historian William L. White, Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use by Addictions Professionals: Historical Reflections and Suggested Guidelines.

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