Addiction and Recovery Advocacy Legislation
“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
Welcome to Our Advocacy and Activism Page
Policy and Legistaltive reform require societal awareness and political pressure. It is time to turn the heat up in Washington and at your state capitol. People are dying and rotting in prisons as a result of draconian social and law enforcement policies rooted in moralism and outdated medical science. We cannot afford to be silent. A minute lost is a life lost. Please lend your voice and help save lives.
Current Issues Requiring Legislative and Policy Reform:
- The Treat Act
- Sterile Syringe and Needle Exchange Programs
- Sentencing Reform for Drug Users
- Naloxone Distribution
- Anthony's Act
Join the conversation and Speak Up:
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Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act or the TREAT Act
Amends the Controlled Substances Act to increase the number of patients that a qualifying practitioner dispensing narcotic drugs for maintenance or detoxification treatment is initially allowed to treat from 30 to 100 patients per year.
Allows a qualifying physician, after one year, to request approval to treat an unlimited number of patients under specified conditions, including that he or she: (1) agrees to fully participate in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program of the state in which the practitioner is licensed, (2) practices in a qualified practice setting, and (3) has completed at least 24 hours of training regarding treatment and management of opiate-dependent patients for substance use disorders provided by specified organizations. (read legislation)
The morbidity and mortality statistics related to prescription drug and heroin addiction have risen dramatically over the past fourteen years. In 2014, death by overdose surpassed automobile fatalities with 47,055 deaths of which 61% involved opiates. The current predominant treatment model used in the majority of US treatment facilities is based on the abstinence model. Modern medical and scientific data indicate that persons dependent on opioid substances show significantly better outcomes with medication assisted treatment. 92% of persons receiving treatment for opioid addiction without medication relapse and research data indicate that the probability for overdose increases for individuals who relapse.
Unfortunately, the demand for treatment exceeds the capacity to provide treatment to this population due to the limitations placed on physician provider caseloads. In some areas, the waiting list to get into a MAT program exceeds 1 year which places the individual at high risk for death, HIV, Hepatitis C or incarceration.
I ask that you consider either sponsoring the TREAT Act or support this vital legislation. The limit placed in the original legislation is arbitrary and has no evidence based correlation with successful outcomes.
Thank you for your consideration.
We zeroed in on Federal Funding Ban for Syringe Exchange Programs and the Federal ban was lifted however many states still do not either have or fund existing programs. Please help reach out to your state legislators to support this vital service. It saves lives by reducing transmission of HIV and Hepatitis C and other blood borne diseases. It costs approximately 8 cents for a clean sysringe and needle. It costs approximately 650,000 dollars to treat an individual with HIV.
You can help encourage legislation for syringe services programs by contacting your legislators. We have provided a form letter that touches on the important points that your legislators need to hear.
Sample Letter Below to Support Funding for Syringe and Needle Exchange Programs
According to an overwhelming body of evidence, syringe services programs not only reduce the spread of HIV and other blood-borne diseases, but also save money, minimize the risk of needlestick injuries to law enforcement officials, and help give people who inject drugs access to vital overdose prevention and drug treatment services.
However, under current law, local and state public health authorities are not allowed to use federal funds for syringe services programs. Lifting that ban would end federal overreach that stands in the way of local officials using federal funds to implement evidence-based programs to protect the health of their communities and keep law enforcement and firefighters safe to do their jobs.
As your constituent, I urge you to support lifting the ban on the use of federal funding for these valuable programs.
Currently the United States houses 25% of the worlds prison population and has only 5% of the worlds population. According to CASA, approximately 65% meet the diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder. The American Society of Addiction Medicine has classified addiction as a "chronic, often relapsing brain disease". We are locking up, not treating people who suffer from a disease. Please lend your voice
Sample Letter Below to Support Sentencing Reform for Drug Users
I urge you to support bipartisan sentencing reform. The U.S. has less than 5% of the world's population but almost 25% of the world's prisoners. About half of all people in federal prison are there for a drug offense, and in most cases it's the type of low-level, nonviolent drug offense that would be better handled at the local or state level.
IIn particular, I urge you to cosponsor and support the Durbin/Lee Smarter Sentencing Act, the Leahy/Paul Justice Safety Valve Act, and the Whitehouse/Portman Recidivism Reduction & Public Safety Act. The Senate should combine these bills and pass omnibus sentencing legislation that both reforms federal mandatory minimums and allows currently incarcerated nonviolent drug offenders to return to their families sooner.
Because of these laws, people convicted of nonviolent drug law violations can receive much longer sentences than people convicted of rape and murder. These harsh sentences, which mostly apply to drug offenses, have significantly contributed to our country's appalling mass incarceration problem.
Now is the time to pass bipartisan sentencing reform that will save taxpayer money and keep families together.
Opioid overdoses now are the number one cause of accidental death in the united States. Everyday over 100 people die from overdoses and the annual death toll exceeds 37,000. Naloxones a non scheduled controlled substance that is classified as an opioid antagonist. Very simply, upon administration it flushes out the opioid receptor sites in the brain and reverses the overdose. The person lives. Naloxone should be available to all persons using opioids, their families and all emergency personell. Currently, # states have enacted laws to provide for acccess and administration of Naltrexone. Please check your state to see whether a Naloxone (Narcan) law has been enacted.
Sample Letter Below to Support support the increased use of naloxone in cases of unintentional opioid overdose
The United States is currently facing its worst opioid drug epidemic in 40 years.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports overdose deaths involving prescription pain medications principally opioids have overtaken motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. It will take a multifaceted public health approach and a combination of public, private, and nonprofit sector efforts to address this growing epidemic.
As you know, one important component of reducing overdose deaths involving opioids is naloxone, the standard of care for treatment of potentially fatal respiratory depression caused by opioid overdose. I urge you to support the increased use of naloxone in cases of unintentional opioid overdose, in light of the fact that naloxone has been proven to be an effective, fast acting, inexpensive and non addictive opioid antagonist with minimal side effects, when used at the proper dosage, for preventing the often fatal respiratory arrest which characterizes the advanced stages of prescription or illegal opioid overdose. Naloxone can be administered either intramuscularly or intranasally quickly and effectively by trained professional
The Affordable Care Act must be amended to provide for a minimum of Ninety (90) days inpatient drug or alcohol treatment up to a maximum of One Hundred Eighty (180) days per year at a facility certified to provide such care by the Secretary of Health of the state in which it is located.
Sample Letter Below to Support Anthony's Act
Subject: Anthony’s Act – A Real Chance at Recovery
Every day in this country 119 people die from drug overdose and another 6,748 are treated in emergency rooms. That averages out to an overdose related hospitalization every 13 seconds and an overdose death every 13 minutes. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, outstripping traffic fatalities or gun homicides. And every year it gets worse.
In addition to the terrible human toll, substance abuse costs the U.S. economy more than $600 billion annually. Effective treatment can dramatically reduce these costs.
According to several conservative estimates, every dollar invested in addiction treatment programs yields a return of between $4 and $7 in reduced drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, and theft. When savings related to healthcare are included, total savings can exceed costs by a ratio of 12 to 1. Effective treatment also results in fewer interpersonal conflicts, greater workplace productivity and fewer drug-related accidents, including overdoses and deaths.
Many people mistakenly believe that addiction is a personal choice, that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower, and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will. In fact, because drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse, quitting is difficult, even for those who are ready to do so. Through scientific advances, we know more about how drugs work in the brain than ever, and we also know that drug addiction can be successfully treated to help people stop abusing drugs and lead productive lives.
In 2012, less than 12 percent of the estimated 23.1 million Americans over the age of 12 who needed treatment for drug or alcohol abuse received it. In too many cases, the treatment was insufficient and, therefore, ineffective. The relapse rate for people suffering from addiction who have undergone only short-term treatment (30 days or less) is between 40 and 90 percent within the first 30 days after the rehab program, often with deadly consequences.
Research tells us that effective inpatient treatment leads to long term sobriety and fewer relapses. Ninety (90) day residential drug rehab is suggested as the minimum length of time for effective treatment. Anecdotal evidence gathered from post discharge interviews suggests that long-term treatment at a drug rehab facility can decrease the risk of drug addiction relapse by up to 73 percent. That can mean the difference between addiction and recovery — or even life and death.
For all these reasons, I respectfully request that you either sponsor or support an amendment to the Affordable Care Act to provide for a minimum of Ninety (90) days inpatient drug or alcohol treatment up to a maximum of One Hundred Eighty (180) days per year at a facility certified to provide such care by the Secretary of Health of the state in which it is located.
The system we now have for treating addiction is not working. Our current addiction treatment system, for economic reasons, is set up to treat a chronic disease with an acute care model. The evidence of this is overwhelming. But we have it in our power, you have it in your power, acting on our behalf, to fix it, to put in place a system that provides effective treatment for those who want and need it. Please make Anthony’s Act the law.
Thank you for your time.
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