to the New Mexico Addiction Education Network
The History of the Annual Addictions Education Institute
The Silver City Institute has the distinction of being one of the oldest Addiction Training events in the United States. Started when the field in it's infancy, it was originally two weeks long. The first week was attended by people from all disciplines working with alcoholics, including nurses, doctors, and other professions. The second week was focused on development of effective skills for alcoholism counseling. At that time, there was not a clearly defined role for substance abuse counselors, and drug counseling was separated from alcohol counseling. As the only training event of its kind available in New Mexico, and indeed the Southwest area, attendance levels were often at 500+ people.
The Institute has always been sponsored by Western New Mexico University, which continues to be a pioneer in workforce development for the field of addictions. One of the founders was Dr. Lawrence Armand French, now retired program director for the Chemical Dependency Studies at WNMU. He continues to be a staunch supporter of the Institute. He had the Institute added to the WNMU catalog as an upper level and graduate level class in 1997. The Institute is required coursework for students majoring in the Chemical Dependency program, and an elective for many other programs such as psychology, sociology, and criminal justice. After Dr. French retired, Dr. John Bourdette took over as faculty sponsor for the Institute and coordinates college credit for participants. Beginning in 2007, we will be collaborating with the Social Work program at WNMU to provide addiction training to students as well as professional Social Workers providing services to persons involved with mood altering substances.
The Drug and Alcohol Institute in Silver City was the main training event for addictions sponsored by the Department of Health, Behavioral Services Division for the better part of two decades. Silver City was considered too remote a location, so BHSD moved their main training to Albuquerque. Even after the BHSD moved their main conference to Albuquerque, they continued to sponsor the Institute with scholarships, advertising, and speakers.
In 2007 and 2008 the Pacific Southwest Addiction Technology Transfer Center vigorously supported the Institute with funding and speakers. This support also kept the flames of the Institute alive during major changes in leadership.
The Institute was coordinated and sponsored by the local affiliate of the National Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) event for many years, providing marketing, speakers, managing registrations, and breathing life into the event with the Annual Association Meeting. In 2006 NMAAP (formerly NMADACA) decided that an Addiction Institute in Silver City was no longer a viable component of the new strategic plan and decided to cancel it. Those members who wished to continue the Institute at WNMU formed NMAEN to continue with this great tradition.
If you would like to add detail to our history, please do so by placing comments in the form below, or using the contact information:
New Mexico Addiction Education Network
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