MA Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, Inc.
PO Box 741 Ware, MA 01082
6th Annual Holiday Breakfast and Annual Membership Meeting
December 7, 2001
On December 7, 2001, MAADAC held its 6th Annual Holiday Breakfast at the Radisson Hotel in Milford. President Russell Viveiros opened ceremonies at 8:30 AM. He reported out that this year presented many opportunities and challenges in the past and
new year. He invigorated the crowd with inviting all to The NAADAC Conference
to be held in Boston this coming summer. He encouraged attendance of NAADAC Policy Conference in February. With that, President Viveiros, announced a new tradition of honoring newly certified alcohol and drug counselors to the Holiday Breakfast.
Linda Mullis gave the Treasurer’s report. Joe Kelleher, Vice President, motioned
acceptance and Tom Crowley, Board member seconded. Members accepted the report with a unanimous vote.
“Counselor of The Year” went to Raymond Hoitt, Ph.D, CAS, Faulkner Hospital Senior Addictions Counselor. Ray has been an outstanding clinician to many in the addiction recovery process. He has, also, been a mentor to many in the field. He has played a key role in MAADAC---spearheaded our “Wellness Training”, is the envelope man for the newsletter mailing and the refreshment host for the MAADAC Boston meeting. outside of the profession, he has been an advocate for sober housing!
“Special Recognition Award” awarded to Public Safety Commissioner James P. Jajuga! The commissioner shared his personal experience as he spoke to his commitment to providing treatment to those in need. From his early years as a police officer fighting drug use on the street level, to his years as a state legislator sponsoring legislation to provide care and services, assisting in changing the CORI, to ultimately becoming Public Safety Commissioner, James Jajuga has made clear his commitment to stand by what he believes needs to be done. With over 80% of those incarcerated suffering from alcohol and other drug addictions, the Commissioner believes that the focus should be on treatment. Pointing to the recidivism rate for those incarcerated for drug offences vs. the success rate of people receiving treatment, the commissioner stated his strong support for the treatment side of the equation.
“Special Recognition Award” given to Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. Ernest “Tony” Winsor and Patricia Baker were present to accept the award. They have worked tirelessly regarding improving the CORI, Criminal Offender Record Information and TANF, Transitional Assistance for Needy Families. Improvements are a reality.
“Tony” Winsor of the Mass. Law Reform Institute was able to share somewhat hopeful news for the future on the CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information). Due to Public Safety Commissioner Jajuga’s amendment, as a Senator.....
Fiscal Year ’02 Budget Language gives human service providers appropriate discretion to hire people with CORI’s. Human service agencies must still do a criminal history check on job candidates and must still make a written determination that the candidate does not pose a danger to the program’s clients. Due weight must be given to the seriousness and circumstances of any offenses, evidence of rehabilitation and any other relevant information. However, the provider no longer has to schedule and pay for costly mental health certifications or track down statements from criminal justice officials reluctant to sign any statements. The state agency that is the primary source of funding has the option to review the written determination and disapprove the provider’s hiring of employees with CORI’s, but the state agency has only five days to do so. There is nothing in the budget language that would prohibit state agencies from telling providers they may proceed with hiring without risk of a veto or any prohibition of hiring during the five day period allowed for response from the state agency.
Additionally, candidates subject to the lifetime bar must be given a “fair opportunity” to show they do not pose a risk. Blanket denials of employment eligibility are unacceptable when there is not a “fair opportunity” for applicants to respond to any questions about their status. He went on to say that the current EOHHS policy of allowing people to rebut with a criminal justice or mental health certification is NOT “fair opportunity” when criminal justice officials won’t provide certification and mental health certifications are too expensive. Anyone that knows someone subject to a lifetime bar because they can’t get certifications is strongly urged to contact either Tony or Pat Baker at the Mass. Law Reform Institute.
In short, people subject to a five or ten year bar fair better with the new budget language than the current EOHHS and sub-agency regulations since they need not pursue certifications. For people facing lifetime bars, the budget language is no worse than current EOHHS and sub-agency regulations. The fight continues and headway seems to be being made.
Under a new state
law passed in December of 2001, retroactive to July 2001, persons with drug
felony convictions cannot be automatically barred from food stamps or TAFDC,
Transitional Assistance to Families and Needy Children, cash benefits except in narrow situations.
If you have a drug felony conviction for conduct that happened after 8-22-96,
you cannot get TAFDC cash assistance for 12 months from date you were released
from prison for the drug felony conviction unless you are exempt from the time
limits or you were granted a domestic violence waiver. If you have a drug
felony conviction that did not result in prison time, or more than 12 months
has gone by since you served time, there is no disqualification from TAFDC. You
can still qualify for food stamps during this 12 month period. Consult a Legal
Services advocate if denied benefits.
Bureau of Substance Abuse Services Budget Cut
LADC and Legislative Update
Carolyn Castro-Donlan of the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services frankly discussed the impact of recent budget cuts to the Bureau. To questions of what the Bureau would do, Ms. Castro-Donlan replied that the main effort would be to avoid cuts to client direct care. She, also, stated that the Bureau remains supportive of moving Licensure for Alcohol and Drug Counselors into regulation, but the budget cuts have challenged the expediency of this move.
Mary Ann Hart, MAADAC’s lobbyist for LADC third party reimbursement stated that
lack of regulation exacerbates the “normal” challenge of moving this kind of bill in the state legislature. Her message: the process is slow--- yet continuously building relationships with legislators is significant and should not stop. She encouraged making contact for The FY 2003 Budget, Parity, and The Alcohol Tax bill --------- .
The Key: Get to know your legislators. Her sentiments were echoed by former
state representative, Barbara Hildt.
Faces and Voices of Recovery In Action
Denise Devlin, Project Director of NEAAR (New England Alliance for Addiction Recovery), a CSAT- Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Recovery Community Grantee, joined the MAADAC festivities bringing a perspective of how advocacy benefits all in the recovery community. By way of example, she pointed to an instance when she and other advocates saved a treatment program through policymaker education. She shared that now working with the NEAAR affiliates, such as MOAR,
MA Organization for Addiction Recovery –and other national grantees to put a face and a voice to recovery, inclusive of families --- she sees the power of recovery. That power is in the telling the story of recovery – moving from the perils of addiction to productive lives. Clinicians, who help support the recovery process, are true advocates.
Joseph Bebo--Cape Cod
Charley Daly--MAADAC Membership Renewal
Chris Steer MBSACC Certification Renewal
Ed Wyman--Adcare Educational Institute Training Certificate
On that note of advocacy, President Viveiros, thanked everyone and encouraged attendance of regional meetings. He noted that MAADAC Boston will meet
January 28th at 7PM, Atrium 2, Faulkner Hospital, For other regional MAADAC
Meetings, contact can be made to your regional representative. He asked for a motion to adjourn. Public Policy Chair Thomas Delaney so motioned, and Linda Mullis seconded.
Everyone voted unanimously.
MAADAC wishes you a Happy 2002!
Russell Viveiros, President