William White
William L. White is an Emeritus Senior Research Consultant at Chestnut Health Systems / Lighthouse Institute and past-chair of the board of Recovery Communities United. Bill has a Master’s degree in Addiction Studies and has worked full time in the addictions field since 1969 as a streetworker, counselor, clinical director, researcher and well-traveled trainer and consultant. He has authored or co-authored more than 400 articles, monographs, research reports and book chapters and 20 books. His book, Slaying the Dragon – The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America, received the McGovern Family Foundation Award for the best book on addiction recovery.

THE TIME IS NOW FOR A RADICAL TRANSFORMATION OF ADDICTION TREATMENT BY WILLIAM WHITE, GARY MENDELL, AND SAMANTHA ARSENAULT

Countless people have had their lives positively transformed by addiction treatment. But tragically, this is not the norm. Despite decades of advancements in science, pharmacology, and technology, the continuum of evidence-based addiction treatment services remains largely unavailable to those in need. The addiction treatment system is hindered by fragmentation, outdated treatment philosophies, and a payment system that perpetuates antiquated care models and discourages the adoption of best practices in the field. The historical rise and development of the current addiction treatment system explains the evolution of a broken system, and sheds light on new solutions. Today, drug policy leaders, frontline addiction professionals, and affected individuals and families are calling for radical changes in the design and delivery of addiction treatment. It’s time for change. It’s time to protect our families. THE EARLY DAYS OF AMERICAN ADDICTION TREATMENT Treatment and recovery support for addiction began in the mid-1800s, with the nation’s first… Continue reading

Recovery Advocacy & The Latino Community – By Bill White, Angelo Lagares, & Gaynell Gosselin

One of the distinctive features of the recovery advocacy movement is its commitment to transcend the historical barriers that have separated people within the United States and across the world. I have been particularly moved by the growth of recovery community organizations around the globe. In the U.S., early RCOs within African American communities and within Indian Country were among the midwives of the new recovery advocacy movement. Since then, calls have increased to extend these efforts into Latino, Asian and other ethnic communities within the U.S. The following advocacy essay by Angelo Lagares and Gaynelle Gosselin is a reminder to us all of the import of such inclusiveness. I was very touched by their passion and their eloquence and wish to share their call to action with my readers.  Bill  IMPROVING COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH INCLUSION OF RACIAL AND ETHNIC MINORITIES IN RECOVERY ADVOCACY EFFORTS Angelo Lagares, Founder, Latino Recovery Advocates Gaynelle Gosselin, Parent… Continue reading

LIFE OR DEATH AFTER A NON-FATAL DRUG OVERDOSE By William L White

Drug overdose deaths in the United States have risen exponentially due to sequenced drug surges: 1) prescription opioids, 2) heroin, 3) illicit fentanyl and related analogs, and 4) cocaine and methamphetamine—all used alone or in combination with other drugs. More than 66,000American lives lost each year to drug overdose have sparked numerous initiatives ranging from increased naloxone availability and medically-supervised injection sites to expansion of addiction treatment resources. The personal stories behind overdose death statistics have helped stir public and professional alarm, but less attention has been given to the question, “What is the subsequent fate of the larger number of people who experience a non-fatal drug overdose?” Research studies (see Stoové et al, 2009) have long associated surviving a drug overdose with the increased likelihood of a future non-fatal or fatal drug overdose. In a 2017 Massachusetts study of opioid overdoses, 10% of those who survived died within the next year from a drug… Continue reading

Recovery Rising Excerpt: Treatment Works? Taking on A Sacred Slogan – William L. White.

Sloganeering has a long history in the alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems arena as a means of promoting or stigmatizing drug use, advocating particular cultural policies toward drug use, and conveying particular definitions of the nature of AOD problems. The ideological and financial backlash against addiction treatment through the late 1980s and 1990s left treatment advocates on the defensive. It was in this climate that the slogan, Treatment Works, became the central organizing slogan of the addiction treatment industry. There was much to commend the slogan. It was short and catchy, celebrated those whose lives had been transformed by professional treatment, and honored treatment practitioners and their organizations. Something bothered me about the slogan, and it took some time to sort out the source of that discomfort. In 2004 and early 2005, I posted and published a paper challenging the use of this slogan. I argued that the slogan 1) erroneously conveyed the… Continue reading

Attentional Bias in Addiction Recovery – William L White

People addicted to alcohol and other drugs see the world differently. They SEE the world differently as a result of neurocognitive changes in perception that accelerate in tandem with increased tissue tolerance, increased intensity of cellular hunger (craving), and the resulting obsession with maintaining the drug relationship at all costs. As drug seeking, drug procurement, and drug use rise to the top of one’s motivational priorities, one develops attentional bias toward words, symbols, and images linked to these substances. Perceptual preferences for drug-linked stimuli are an essential element within the neurobiology of addiction. In recovery, this perceptual preference is reframed, giving perceptual priority to words, symbols, and images that reinforce the recovery process. The journey from addiction to recovery is marked by extreme ambivalence, particularly during the early stages of recovery, and exposure to these contrasting sets of cues can tip the scales toward either addiction recurrence or the transition… Continue reading