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Quick and Dirty

Farewell to The Chief

bSAS Boss Leaves His Post

By Edward Ericson Jr. | Posted 2/20/2008

As City Paper reported online last week, ("bSAS Boss Leaves," The News Hole) Adam Brickner has quietly stepped down as president of Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems Inc. (bSAS), the nonprofit that coordinates and dispenses about $50 million each year to drug-treatment programs in the city. BSAS announced Brickner's resignation in a Feb. 1 press release, which says Brickner's last day will be March 15.

"I'm not leaving this [job] to go to another one," Brickner says from his office on Feb. 15. "It was a good time for me to go, I thought."

He says he's mulling a couple of job prospects, but doesn't have much of an answer when asked why he thought it was a good time to leave his $105,000 gig, especially without a new one: "Why am I leaving this one? That's a good question. [Pause]. There are some other opportunities out there that I am exploring."

BSAS has asked William T. Atkins to serve as interim president beginning Feb. 11. Atkins is executive vice president of Health Management Consultants, a Columbia-based company that BSAS paid $267,000 in 2002, and $67,000 in 2003, according to its tax returns.

Brickner came to Baltimore in 2005 after running a similar program in Denver. He is credited with instituting a "pay for performance" program that rewards drug-treatment programs for meeting goals. "One of the goals was increased utilization--if we pay for 50 slots, there should be as close to 50 people in those slots as possible," Brickner explains. "Utilization was not something that was focused on prior to my arrival."

He also pushed for more treatment beds and for increased use of methadone and buprenorphine to control opiate addiction.

In 2006 the city announced that drug-overdose deaths had sunk to a 10-year low; officials credited increased drug-treatment funds for the reduction.

Increasing that funding was also part of Brickner's job, he says, though the big funding increases stopped before his arrival. "We've seen a little bit of increase," he says of the past few years under his watch. "Something like a 2 percent increase."

Brickner sounds like a man with no regrets. "It's been a great experience," he says. "I've really enjoyed working with the 70 or so providers in our community. The real message I want people to hear is, prevention works, and that treatment is absolutely an effective way to get people into recovery. And that recovery happens. There are thousands of people in this community who are fully in recovery. . . . Give them the respect that they deserve for going through that process."

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