WAAODA History

  • 1966-Articles of Incorporation signed
    February 8, creating Wisconsin Association on Alcoholism
    (WAA). New association included Board of Directors with
    7 members and total association membership of 21, established
    to “examine and exchange techniques and knowledge related
    to alcoholism and promote community programs on education
    and treatment of alcoholism and further make this knowledge
    effectual in solving the problems of alcoholism and promote
    the tenet that alcoholics can be helped.” Spring 1966-WAA
    organizes first major statewide conference on substance
    abuse and addiction, establishing Association’s strong commitment
    to education and training, which continues today.

  • 1967-WAA initiates effective advocacy
    efforts. Wisconsin Supreme Court rules “alcoholism
    is a disease” and, in 1969, state establishes Bureau
    on Alcoholism.

  • 1968-Association expands education,
    training and advocacy efforts to include “other drug
    abuse” and changes name to Wisconsin Association on
    Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (WAAODA). In 1970, Wisconsin’s
    Bureau on Alcoholism becomes Bureau on Alcohol and Other
    Drug Abuse.

  • 1973-With central role in alcohol
    and other drug abuse (AODA) field expanding, WAAODA establishes
    office in Madison and hires first Executive Director.

  • 1974-WAAODA advocates decriminalization
    of public intoxication. Governor Patrick Lucy signs Uniform
    Alcoholism Intoxication Act, promoting treatment over incarceration
    for persons found to be publicly intoxicated. Also, WAAODA
    advocates for mandated health insurance coverage for AODA
    and mental health treatment, which was soon applied to all
    group-based policies in Wisconsin.

  • 1975-WAAODA joins National Council
    on Alcoholism for nationwide issues networking, chairs statewide
    Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Symposium, and advocates for establishment
    of Wisconsin Substance Abuse Clearing House.

  • 1979-Grant from National Institute
    on Alcohol Abuse for Women Reaching Women Project focusing
    on AODA first coordinated by WAAODA. Subsequent Women Reach
    Women AODA projects coordinated by WAAODA through federal
    block grants allocated by the State Bureau of Substance
    Abuse Services (1979-1996).

  • 1980-WAAODA initiates networking of
    AODA counselors throughout state, collaborating with Wisconsin
    Counselors Alliance for annual spring Conferences.

  • 1981-85-WAAODA works to develop a
    strong, unified voice for AODA advocacy and education throughout
    Wisconsin, becoming “umbrella” organization for
    AODA “constituent councils” such as Counselors
    Alliance (AODA counselors), Wisconsin Council of Councils
    (specializing in AODA prevention), Wisconsin Alcohol/Drug
    Treatment Providers Association (WADTPA) and Counties Association
    Subgroup. WAAODA maintains presence on Wisconsin Alcohol
    and Drug Abuse Counselor Certification Board.

  • 1986-U.S. Surgeon General Everett
    Koop attends WAAODA annual Conference, which focused on
    cocaine, one of major targets of federal “War on Drugs.”
    WAAODA advocates for treatment of cocaine addicts, becomes
    key member of Governor’s Cocaine Task Force.

  • 1988-WAAODA collaborates with Governor
    Thompson in the first Governor’s Conference on AODA. Recognizing
    AODA prevention and treatment needs of special populations
    in Wisconsin, WAAODA participates in Governor’s Youth Task

  • 1990-WAAODA advocates for recovering
    alcoholics and drug addicts to be included in the Americans
    with Disabilities Act. Also, WAAODA strongly supports legislation
    to prohibit health and life insurers from discriminating
    against recovering alcoholics.

  • 1992-WAAODA becomes a member of the
    State Council Sub-Committee to develop a state plan on AODA
    and helps secure “mandated benefits provision”
    in state-licensed health insurance to allow “transitional
    benefit” for AODA and mental health treatment.

  • 1993-94-Healthcare and insurance reform
    remain top priorities for WAAODA advocacy. Also, WAAODA
    continues strong advocacy in support of youth and families,
    helping to prevent a lower legal drinking age in Wisconsin
    and co-sponsoring Right from the Start legislation, which
    enables counties to identify and provide support for newborns
    and their families.

  • 1995-WAAODA successfully advocates
    against cuts in Drug Free School funding, continuing to
    support Wisconsin Clearinghouse mission of education and

  • 1996-Public Policy Committee of WAAODA
    monitors W-2 Welfare Reform and requests hearing for proposed
    legislation for healthcare reform. But WAAODA’s contract
    for coordinating the Women Reaching Women Project is not
    renewed due to cuts in federal funding-“a casualty
    of the War on Drugs.”

  • 1997-With lower revenue, WAAODA
    falls to single Administrative Coordinator. Contract for
    WADTPA administration continues, but other WAAODA collaborative
    efforts and activities of collaborators weaken in general
    trend at federal and state levels to punish those with addictive

  • 1998-WAAODA receives contract to provide
    administrative services for Wisconsin Women’s Education
    Network on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (WWEN) grant program
    through University of Wisconsin. WAAODA also receives contract
    to coordinate state’s Minority Training Project (MTP), innovative
    project to increase number of minority certified AODA counselors
    in Wisconsin.

  • 1999-WAAODA establishes MTP office
    in Milwaukee and coordinates contracts for minority candidate
    career consultants and trainers statewide. Additional part-time
    staff person focuses on public policy, The Voice quarterly
    newsletter and WADTPA administration. Annual Conference
    involves collaboration with state Department of Corrections
    (DOC) and Bureau of Mental Health and achieves record attendance.
    WAAODA joins forces with Coalition for Fairness in Substance
    Abuse and Mental Illness Health Insurance Coverage to advocate
    for “parity” medical insurance laws, and helps
    sponsor Wisconsin Alliance on Addictions Public Policy and
    Education (WAAPPE), which includes registered lobbyist to
    represent AODA field. WAAODA organizes six one-day workshops
    throughout state on Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance
    Abuse Disorders, co-sponsored by state Bureau of Substance
    Abuse Services (BSAS). WAAODA Board updates mission statement:
    “To assure that the people of Wisconsin know and believe
    that prevention and treatment of alcohol and drug abuse

  • 2000-Statewide collaboration increases,
    with numerous co-sponsors for WAAODA Conference, including
    WADTPA, DOC, MTP, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill,
    Tellurian UCAN and BSAS. Administration-coordination contracts
    include BSAS, WWEN and WADTPA. Active working relationships
    involve Coalition for Fairness, WAAPPE and nationwide Alliance
    Project, which is based in neighboring Minnesota. Additional
    funding for WAAODA comes through Combined Health Charities
    of Wisconsin-a United Way affiliate. WAAODA staff strength
    rises to two full-time employees, including Executive Director,
    serving 600 members.

  • 2001-WAAODA’s Conference Planning
    Committee increases science content of annual Conference,
    with participation of UW Medical School, Wisconsin Society
    of Addiction Medicine (WSAM), National Institute on Drug
    Abuse (NIDA), U.S. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
    (CSAT), U.S. Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP)
    and others. WAAODA Board revises original mission statement
    to incorporate “recovery”: “To assure that
    the people of Wisconsin know and believe that alcohol and
    drug abuse prevention, treatment and recovery work.”
    In September-National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery
    Month-WAAODA organizes Recovery Picnic that provides public
    platform for Wisconsin’s recovery advocates and becomes
    annual Recovery Rally. WAAODA Vice President attends National
    Recovery Summit.

  • 2002-WAAODA receives contract through
    state Division of Supportive Living (DSL) to provide administrative
    support for WI Wins program against illegal tobacco sales
    to minors. Annual Conference focuses on “global perspective”
    to improve prevention, treatment and recovery, features
    State Sen. Panzer speaking on Parity Bill progress. WAAODA
    Executive Director chairs Community Norms working group
    of Governor’s Underage Drinking Task Force. Task Force recommendations
    become key elements of the Four-Year Strategic Plan of the
    State Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (SCAODA).
    WAAODA organizes first annual Recovery Rally in September
    at West Wing of State Capitol, featuring national recovery
    advocates Rook and Farley Family (family of comic Chris
    Farley, who died of drug overdose) along with State Rep.
    Erpenbach and many “coming out” to speak for recovery
    and against stigma of addiction.

  • 2003-WAAODA membership grows to 800,
    mostly direct-line treatment providers, but also many “payers”
    and private citizens. State budget cuts force merger of
    BSAS and Bureau of Mental Health into single Bureau of Mental
    Health and Substance Abuse Services (BMHSAS).WAAODA expands
    advocacy for recovery by partnering with newly created Alliance
    for Recovery Advocates (AFRA), with start-up funding from
    BMHSAS. On regulatory front, WAAODA advocates “correct
    interpretation” of Wisconsin Act 80 to reinforce AODA
    counseling as “specialty” requiring specialized
    training and certification: “Reducing professional
    rigor of AODA counselor certification in Wisconsin would
    undermine quality of AODA treatment.” WAAODA Conference
    sets records: More than 60 presenters and 450 participants.
    State lowers drivers’ illegal blood alcohol content to 0.08%.
    WAAODA strongly supports new Treatment Instead of Prison
    (TIP) legislation. Governor Doyle announces “new direction”
    for Wisconsin’s corrections policy, including specialized
    facility for 450 non-violent inmates at Chippewa Falls.
    Recovery Rally at Capitol features Farley Family, State
    Rep. Erpenbach, Rev. Ellwanger of faith-based multi-racial
    group WISDOM and other recovery advocates.

  • 2004-Annual Conference expands on WAAODA mission components of education and training, setting records for a second year?more than 460 participants, who gave the three-day education and training event an overall satisfaction rating of 98% (participants scoring the Conference “good” or “excellent”). The Conference introduces new programs, including the Management Institute (for executives and managers of AODA facilities and programs) and the Legislative Breakfast (sponsored by WADTPA to network with state legislators). The Conference’s Diversity Evening on the theme of “One Spirit, Many Dancers” presents dance and music of several of Wisconsin’s ethnic and racial minorities to increase awareness of the diversity of AODA healing. Also in 2004, the Minority Training Project (MTP), which WAAODA manages under contract with the state government, undergoes major restructuring to streamline administration and improve the AODA counselor training curriculum. MTP’s importance grows as Wisconsin’s way to increase the number of culturally competent AODA counselors in our increasingly diverse state. Great Lakes Addiction Technology Transfer Center (GLATTC) director Lonnetta Albright and MTP Career Consultants presented certificates to 50 MTP Graduates from recent years at the Graduation Celebration, which henceforth is planned to be an annual event. The Fourth Annual Recovery Rally ? ?Celebrating Recovery? ? held in September at the State Capitol attracts a record-setting 560 ralliers. With co-sponsorship by AFRA and support from 25 Wisconsin businesses and organizations, the Rally garners bi-partisan political support for AODA advocacy, including support for TIP legislation and other pro-recovery legislation in speeches by Democratic and Republican County Executives. WAAODA collaboration with state government increases with the award of contract management of the new state-funded Mental Health/Substance Abuse/Emergency Human Services program. To handle increased workload, expanded memberships, etc., WAAODA staff increases to nine, and requires move to a new, larger office.