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Policy Change

Speak out publicly without compromising the traditions of the recovery program in which you participate.

Recovery Advocacy is the Recovery Community speaking out to demand better treatment, both in clinical programs and through protecting our civil rights. Recovery Advocacy is part of public recovery, complementing, but not replacing, personal recovery programs.

Here is what you can do to advocate for recovery:

Talk to your friends and family (or anyone that will listen) about addiction. Let them know that addiction is a disease. This disease is caused partly by a genetic predisposition, partly by social pressures, (including stress and advertising) and partly by exposure to toxic substances (alcohol and drugs). The facts: Addiction kills more people than AIDS and guns put together and it costs American $94 billion a year. This disease is a major contributor to child abuse, domestic violence, traffic accidents, assaults, and many other crimes.

BUT -- Let them know that addiction can be treated and that recovery is possible. Talk to your elected officials. Let them know that you support increased spending for substance abuse treatment, that treatment is a good investment. For every dollar spent on treatment we save up to seven dollars in reduced criminal justice, public health, and child welfare costs. Also, people in recovery pay more taxes than people still drinking and drugging.

Also let them know that recovery is possible. Talk with your health insurer. Let them know that you support parity for substance abuse treatment, that the disease of addiction should be treated like all other chronic illnesses like heart disease, asthma, and diabetes. The treatment success rate is better, and people in recovery have far lower health care expenses than people still using. It is estimated that bringing substance abuse treatment into parity might raise costs about one half of one percent, but the reduction in other costs (falls, traffic accidents, cirrhosis, etc.) would offset the increase.

Also let them know that recovery is possible. Finally, tell yourself that in the war on drugs, your are a victor, not a victim. Tell yourself that the war on drugs is won every day, one day at a time one addict at a time. You are a winner.