News About Addiction, Recovery and Advocacy

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The addiction recovery experience has been sliced and diced in all manner of categories: secular, spiritual, and religious; natural recovery, peer-assisted, and treatment-assisted; and abstinence-based, moderation-based, and medication-assisted, to name just a few. Recovery achieved through any of these frameworks is often referred to as a pathway of recovery. The growing consensus that there are multiple pathways of long-term addiction recovery marks an important public and professional milestone within the alcohol and drug problems arena.

The first annual Ramstad/Kennedy Award was presented in 2008 during a National Recovery Month reception at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) State Systems Development Program (SSDP) conference. During this past year, the 200+ Planning Partners have been working to re-focus our national efforts on expanding Prevention, Treatment and Recovery support for the millions of Americans still suffering from addiction and their countless hurting family members who are also struggling to recover from addiction's impact on them.

Historically, family members were more likely to be viewed by addiction professionals as causative agents of addiction or hostile interlopers in the treatment process than people in need of recovery support services in their own right. Overcoming such attitudes has taken on added urgency due to the rising prevalence, morbidity, and mortality of opioid addiction in the United States and its rippling effects upon families and communities.

Summary: Individuals with a history of alcohol use disorder might be eligible to participate in a brief online survey about personality, mental health, and substance use. Those who complete the survey and provide a DNA sample (in the form of saliva) will be compensated for their time and effort.

With the federal passage of the FIRST STEP Act, we finally see action on criminal justice reform! The FIRST STEP Act recently passed and was signed by the President. This was historical. For years, Congress had attempted to pass criminal justice reform legislation, such as the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (SRCA) introduced in 2015 by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

Original Blog Date:  May 30, 2014

Through my early tenure in the addictions field, the question of readiness for treatment and recovery was thought to be a pain quotient. We then believed that people didn’t enter recovery until they had “hit bottom.” If a person did not show evidence of such pain-induced readiness, they were often refused admission to treatment. Then we recognized that the reason it took people so long to “hit bottom” was that they were protected from the painful consequences of their alcohol and other drug use by people we called “enablers.” We then set about teaching enablers to stop rescuing and protecting their beloved but addicted family members.

Original Blog Date: September 12, 2014

I have spent more than four decades providing, studying, promoting, and defending addiction treatment, but remain acutely aware of its limitations. As currently conceived and delivered, most addiction treatment programs facilitate detoxification, recovery initiation, and early recovery stabilization more effectively and more safely than ever achieved in history, but most fall woefully short in supporting the transition to recovery maintenance and the later stages of recovery, particularly for those who need it the most–those with the most severe and complex problems and the least recovery support within their natural environment.

Emilee, now 31 years old, began raiding her parents liquor cabinet at the age of 14. By the time she hit high school, Emilee was smoking marijuana and telling herself that she would never be one of “those people”. It wasn’t long before Emilee was introduced to ecstasy, cocaine, pills, crack, and eventually heroin. Soon she realized she was in the grips of addiction. Losing her brother in 2008 pushed Emilee to new heights and the disease of addiction quickly progressed. She found herself using everyday just to ward off the sickness and to “stay well”.

Recent blogs on this site have featured Bill White’s Blasts from the Past. Also profiles from our Recovering Moms who are in the know and in the now. I contribute from my lived experience of the past and relate it to the now. I noted that an event would be held in the future—January 24— in Los Angeles, featuring a Recovery Ambassador training followed by a dinner and gala fundraiser. Faces & Voices of Recovery is working on a web site page for and about recovery ambassadors after the L.A. training.  We can spotlight all who have taken the training who are now leading recovery advocacy efforts as recovery ambassadors or as recovery carriers. Recovery carriers? Read on for more…

Original Blog Date: September 4, 2015

There is much that the recovery advocacy movement can learn from the LGBT rights movement of recent decades. The latter movement is one of the most successful social movements in history as judged by the speed at which it has elicited broad changes in cultural attitudes and policies of import to the LGBT community.