CENTER CITY, Minn., April 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The United States' first "Recovery Czar," Michael Botticelli, will deliver the commencement address at the 20th Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies commencement ceremony on April 18.
The invitation-only ceremony on the Center City campus will confer master's degrees in "Addiction Studies: Integrated Recovery for Co-occurring Disorders" and "Addiction Counseling: Advanced Practice." Most of the 80-some graduates will go on to establish careers in counseling or a related area of the addiction treatment and recovery field. Due in part to the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic and broader addiction crisis, demand for counselors in the behavioral health industry is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026.
Botticelli also will lead a professional continuing education event on April 17, from 12:55-2:30 p.m., on Hazelden Betty Ford's Center City campus. His talk, "Changing Public Attitudes About Addiction—When Science is Not Enough," will examine the role that attitudes and beliefs about people with substance use disorders play in shaping clinical and public policy approaches to addiction. The event is open to employees of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies students, and the media.
Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) at the White House under President Barack Obama, Botticelli was the first person to hold the position who was in long-term recovery from a substance use disorder and who came from a public health background. Instead of the traditional informal title of "Drug Czar," he preferred "Recovery Czar" and worked to shift more resources beyond law enforcement and interdiction into prevention, treatment and recovery solutions. Currently the executive director of the Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center, Botticelli remains a popular figure among the nation's 22 million people living in recovery from alcohol or other drug problem.
"Mr. Botticelli has moved mountains in terms of battling the stigma of addiction and helping individuals sustain their recovery," said Dr. Valerie Slaymaker, chief academic officer and provost of the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies. "Commencement is my favorite day of the year, and I am thrilled that Mr. Botticelli will be on hand to recognize the accomplishments of our scholars—and the thoughtfulness and compassion that it takes—to earn these degrees."
Launched in 1963 to develop a new generation of addiction treatment professionals, the Hazelden Chemical Dependency Counselor Training Program—as it was originally known—evolved into the Graduate School of Addiction Studies in 1999 when it admitted its first master's students. "We all took a leap of faith when we came here, and Hazelden offered us something solid to stand on," said graduate Patricia Parker during her address on behalf of the first graduating class of six students in 2000.
Today, as the longest continuous, accredited provider of substance use counselor training in the United States, the school continues to propel standards for the field.
"In recent years, well-deserved scrutiny on the addiction treatment field has made clear that past minimum training and education—historically, substance use counselors needed only a high school diploma—is now woefully inadequate to treat patients with complex substance use and co-occurring disorders," said Dr. Roy Kammer, dean of the graduate school. "Our graduates learn the skills to excel and lead in this ever-evolving specialized counseling field."
The school's past commencement speakers have included notables such as the late New York Times columnist David Carr; news anchor Laurie Dhue; Recovery Research Institute founder Dr. John Kelly; and Robert DuPont, MD, the first director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the second White House "drug czar."
Celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2019, the nonprofit Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a national leader with 17 sites across the country and extensive education, prevention, research, advocacy and publishing resources. This will be Botticelli's second visit to a Hazelden Betty Ford facility. In 2016, he and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar co-facilitated a community roundtable on opioids at the organization's Plymouth, Minn., campus.
After the April 18 commencement, the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies will have granted almost 850 master's degrees and 60 certificates in addiction counseling. Including its earlier, counselor training history, it has educated students from 47 states and 43 countries, including Japan, Iceland, Norway, Canada, Great Britain and Bermuda.
The school offers courses online and on-campus in Center City and St. Paul, Minn. An open house for prospective students will be held at the Hazelden Betty Ford St. Paul campus on June 8 at 10 a.m.
About the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. As the nation's leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive inpatient and outpatient treatment for adults and youth, the Foundation has 17 locations nationwide and collaborates with an expansive network throughout health care. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today also encompasses a graduate school of addiction studies, a publishing division, an addiction research center, recovery advocacy and thought leadership, professional and medical education programs, school-based prevention resources and a specialized program for children who grow up in families with addiction. Learn more at www.HazeldenBettyFord.org and on Twitter @hazldnbettyford.
SOURCE Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation