What’s in a name?

For the past 32 years, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse has been the identity of this organization. This name has always been a conundrum for us. It’s been a tongue twister, a misnomer, and, recently, a barrier to people-first language.

We tried living with it by adopting a fresh logo and color palette in 2015. and then by shortening it to NCADA in 2017. We felt like the name was synonymous with who we were, and to abandon it would somehow mean that we were abandoning our mission and our history. While none of that is true, of course, it somehow felt true.

But, alas, the proverbial final straw came this spring when our parent organization – NCADD – experienced significant financial difficulties and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Upon learning this news, our Board of Directors unanimously decided to disaffiliate from the national organization. And because we are no longer “National,” we found ourselves in an identity crisis.

And now, this organization is faced with a tremendous opportunity to rebrand. 

So, in preparation for our 55th birthday, we are revisiting our name, our reputation, and the way we “show up” in the community. This summer we engaged over 20 groups of stakeholders (funders, coalition members, legislators, treatment centers, etc.) in discussions about our mission and our image; we surveyed our staff and Board for their insight; and we organized a team to hone our core values and set naming parameters (No Acronyms!!).

Our next steps include hiring a marketing/advertising firm who “gets” us. Yes, we need a new name and a new tagline, but we also insist on maintaining the essence of who we are. We want to honor our past, and embrace the future. We want to double down on our youth prevention focus and validate the experiences of those in treatment and recovery.

That is who we are.That is who we have always been.

Stay tuned and watch this space.