Press Releases


Mark W. Parrino, M.P.A
President, AATOD
212.566.5555, x200

Bill Gordon
PR/Media Relations

For Immediate Release



— Over 1,800 National and International Leaders in Opioid Treatment to Convene for Five-Day Conference —

— Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy and Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Elinore F. McCance-Katz to Speak –

— Governor Chris Christie to Receive “Friend of the Field” Award —

(New York, New York – March 5, 2018) — The American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD) is convening its major Conference in New York City at the Marriot Marquis Hotel, from March 10th through March 14th, 2018.  This conference features over 200 municipal, state, national and
international presentations, focusing on cutting-edge policy and new clinical findings with regard to the treatment of opioid use disorders. More than 1,800 treatment providers and opioid addiction policy officials from every state in the country will focus on solutions for dealing with the raging public health epidemic of opioid addiction in the United States.

Over 100 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose, and there has been a 286% increase in heroin-related deaths since 2002. This epidemic had its root in the increased prescribing of pain medications in medical practice settings and has morphed into a full-scale heroin and fentanyl epidemic.

The hosts of the 2018 AATOD meeting, “Advancing & Integrating Specialized Addiction Treatment & Recovery,” are the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and the Coalition of Medication-Assisted Treatment Providers and Advocates of New York State (COMPA).  The meeting will have an opening from OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez and will conclude with presentations from Dr. Elinore McCance–Katz (Assistant Secretary for Health and Substance Use – DHHS) and former Congressman Patrick Kennedy. The Conference will also recognize former Governor Chris Christie’s leadership in expanding access to opioid use disorder treatment in the state of New Jersey and his contributions to the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

“Our nation is facing a terrible and deadly public health challenge,” said Mark Parrino, M.P.A., President of AATOD. “We need to increase access to well-coordinated and high-quality treatment services for people suffering from an opioid use disorder. The challenge is to provide coordinated care as patients are saved from overdoses and connected to emergency medical care and comprehensive treatment services. Our country will need to devote significant financial resources to achieve this in addition to promoting an effective public education campaign about opioid use disorder and its treatment.”

AATOD 2018 is one of the most respected and content rich Conferences in the United States. This conference comes at a unique time for the U.S. and New York in particular, which has the largest patient population in an opioid treatment program setting in the nation. On any given day, New York State provides opioid addiction treatment services to more than 41,000 people.

During the proceedings, the World Federation for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, of which AATOD is a member, will also convene a major meeting on Sunday, March 11th, 2018.

“When it comes to addressing our nation’s opioid epidemic, improving access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a logical step in moving from words to action,” said Patrick J. Kennedy, former U.S. Representative (D-RI) and member of the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. “I am honored to be part of largest gathering of the opioid treatment community and look forward to connecting with MAT providers, policymakers, peers, and advocates as we strive to achieve true health care reform, integrated systems of delivery, and a solid, evidence-based response to the greatest public health crisis of our time.”

“The opioid epidemic is devastating our country, and under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York is leading the way in combatting this terrible scourge,” said OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “We look forward to sharing New York State’s efforts to expand our continuum of care and launch innovative programs, such as our 24/7 Open Access Centers and mobile health services. The conference also offers us an invaluable opportunity to hear from experts in the field and discuss new ways to strengthen our fight against the opioid epidemic.”

Featured speakers will include:

  • Monday, March 12 – Arlene González-Sánchez, Commissioner, OASAS; Mark W. Parrino, MPA, President, AATOD; Icro Maremmani, MD, President, World Federation for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence; The Honorable Chris Christie, former Governor of New Jersey and Chairman of the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis (evening awards ceremony). Moderated by Allegra Schorr, President, COMPA.
  • Tuesday, March 13 – Jason A. Helgerson, MPP, Deputy Commissioner/New York State Medicaid Director, New York State Department of Health Office of Health Insurance Programs; Kathleen Maurer, MD, Director of Health and Addiction Services & Medical Director Connecticut Department of Corrections; Mark Friedlander, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Aetna Behavioral Health, Blue Bell, PA. Moderated by Robert A. Kent, Esq., General Counsel, OASAS.
  • Wednesday, March 14 – Patrick J. Kennedy, former U.S. Representative (D-RI), founder of The Kennedy Forum, member of the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, co-founder of One Mind, and author of “A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction;” The Honorable Elinore McCance-Katz, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health and Substance Use, United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Moderated by Allegra Schorr/COMPA. 


An advance copy of the full conference program, which will be made available to attendees onsite, can be found here: Conference hashtag: #aatod2018

About AATOD The American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD) was founded in 1984 to enhance the quality of patient care in treatment programs by promoting the growth and development of comprehensive opioid treatment services throughout the United States. AATOD represents more than 1,100 Opioid Treatment Programs in the United States. AATOD has thirty state chapters and is also a founding partner in the development of the World Federation for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, which represents another 600 treatment programs throughout Europe. The World Federation has special consultative status with the United Nations. Accordingly, AATOD actively works with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and other agencies in order to provide access to opioid addiction treatment wherever it is needed in the world. For more information visit  Find AATOD on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @aatod1984.


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