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 Force.
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 prevention.
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 disorders.
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 work.”
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.