President speaks out on the 25th annual Recovery Month
September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. This month marks the 25th anniversary of when the awareness began. With the significant anniversary, President Barack Obama had a few words to say on the matter.
Acknowledging those facing addiction
Obama lauded the bravery those battling addiction and substance abuse have by trying to reach recovery in his letter released on Sept. 4. He also noted that, currently, more than 20 million adults face addiction and attempt recovery. He stated that recovery is possible for these individuals.
“Research shows addiction is a chronic disease of the brain which can be prevented and treated,” he said. “However, the stigma associated with this disease – and the false belief that addiction represents a personal failing – creates fear and shame that discourage people from seeking treatment and prevents them from fully rejoining and contributing to their communities.”
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Inspiring the nation to be brave
The theme of this year is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out.” The theme is supposed to encourage people to openly speak about addiction and invite people to seek help through addiction treatment centers and programs.
Obama’s words come at the right time. The nation is in the midst of an addiction crisis as overdose and drug use rates spike. The National Institute on Drug Abuse stated that drugs, alcohol and tobacco cost the nation more than $600 billion each year in health care, crime and lost work productivity. The most notable drugs on the rise are heroin and prescription drugs. The two are correlated, as prescription pill users who become addicted later use heroin for a better high and lower cost. One in 20 people used prescription drugs for a nonmedical reason in 2010. One in 15 people who abuse prescription pills will try heroin in the next 10 years. Addiction rates are especially high for heroin users, as 54 percent of heroin users are dependent on the drug. Experts only expect those numbers to continually rise if nothing is done.
Putting heads together
Luckily, many organizations have come together to spread awareness of addiction and create better, more effective treatment methods for people to try. Obama acknowledged this crisis in his letter, stating that his organization is putting together evidence-based strategies to help fight the public health crisis. The president’s methods are laid out in the 2014 National Drug Control Strategy that implements programs to fight the development of substance abuse in schools and workplaces. He noted that the Affordable Care Act can help support this cause by giving more individuals access to the medical assistance they desperately need. He hopes that his organization’s actions and the actions of others can help end the addiction crisis the nation faces sooner rather than later.
“Recovery is a positive force that transforms individuals, families, and communities – but often it is a long and difficult journey,” Obama said. “This month, we come together to spread its promise, and remind everyone struggling with substance use that a better life is possible.”
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