Sunday, May 1, 2016

Powerful words from Massachusetts on the Stigma of Opioid Addiction

Thank you, Massachusetts, for a powerful, and empowering, public health message! 
May all of us step up to the challenge of changing our language -- and actions. 

The Stigma of Opioid Addiction
                                   from Massachusetts department of Health and Human Services

It’s a huge public health threat – addiction to powerful opioid painkillers.  But you can help by changing the way you think about, talk about and treat people with addiction. Words like “junkie,” “addict” and “druggie” can hurt and stand in the way of recovery. There are perceptions that addiction is a personal choice (when in fact it’s a disease), that addiction is a sign of human weakness, or a lack of morals or willpower.  While the initial decision to take drugs may be voluntary, neurological changes to the brain restrict a person’s self-control. The disease hinders the ability to resist impulses to take drugs despite harmful consequences.
A stigma is a mark of disgrace that sets a person or a group apart.  Stigmas aimed at people with substance use disorders come from many sources including personal shame and disgust at one’s own appearance, behavior and feelings of being unworthy of help, negative labels from friends or family, negative attitudes from healthcare providers, the media, law enforcement, places of work and government agencies.
We are all affected by the current epidemic of opioid addiction. Many of us know someone who struggles with addiction, or who is in treatment.  What can we do?
• We can take a stand against stigma. 
• We can support treatment opportunities. 
• We can encourage people in recovery.
          We can talk about addiction with our friends and family.
          Each of us can commit to not using hurtful or damaging words about those who struggle with addiction.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Great article from Chris Vestal on MAT in Washington Post

Christine Vestal of Stateline, a Pew Charitable Trust initiative, just wrote a great article on opioid addiction and treatment with medications published yesterday in the Washington Post. Check it out!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Hillary Clinton's substance use initiative

On this Labor Day, I thought it fitting to highlight Hillary Clinton's newly unveiled proposal for how she would address alcohol and drug addiction as President.

We know that one of the best ways to help people achieve and maintain recovery is through treatment, often including a medication. When people are able to manage their chronic illness (or illnesses as if often the case), they are more likely to return to work or school, reconnect with their families, and improve their quality of life. All those things we celebrate today.

So please check out the attached story and the link to the complete proposal:

Complete proposal:

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Support the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery (CARA) Act

I just received the following message from Sean Clarkin at Partnership for Drug-Free Kids -- and I signed the petition to support the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act in Congress. Please check it out and see if you could support it too.

From Sean:

Hello friends,

The Partnership is one of many organizations – and I’ll be among many thousands of people – who will be present at an October 4 rally in Washington called “United to Face Addiction, aimed at mobilizing resources to prevent and treat substance use disorders and addiction.  Over 85 million Americans say they have been affected “a great deal” by addiction, and yet addiction remains ignored by mainstream healthcare while the majority of those suffering from addiction go untreated.

A major call to action of the rally is support for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA),which has bi-partisan sponsorship in both the Senate and House.  The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 will:
  • Provide up to $80 million in funding for prevention, treatment, and recovery
  • Launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and interventions program.
  • Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services
  • Expand prevention and educational efforts—particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations
  • Expand the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives
  • Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders promptly by collaborating with criminal justice stakeholders and by providing evidence-based treatment
  • Expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of children and adolescents
The Partnership has created a petition, urging members of both houses of Congress to vote for CARA.  This petition will be delivered to senators and congressmen on Monday, October 5, the day after the rally.
On behalf of myself and the Partnership, I ask you to please sign the petition, share it with friends and family, and post it on Facebook and Twitter using #howmanyfamilies: