Signing the Anthony’s Act Petition will end Addiction and Bring World Peace.

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Ok I was kidding about the world peace part. . . also the ending addiction part.

Obviously signing a petition will not put an end to the scourge of addiction. A lot more needs to be done.  Even the legislation which the petition is requesting, insurance and/or the government paying for a minimum of ninety (90) days of in-patient addiction treatment, while an important step, will not, in and of itself, end addiction.

A lot more needs to be done.

We need, as a society, to stop stigmatizing addiction and those who suffer from it.

We need to educate those who don’t know any better; teaching them that addiction is a chronic brain disease, not a moral failing and that addicts are human beings who can be redeemed; that they are not lost causes. Addiction, just like any other disease, should never be a cause for shame on the part of the victim or for his or her family.

One hundred twenty-nine (129) people a day die from a drug overdose. It is the leading cause of accidental death in America. We need to recognize just how big the problem is.

We need to recognize that addiction is as prevalent in white suburbs as it is in inner city neighborhoods of color. We need to understand that no one is safe or immune from its impact.

If addiction has invaded our homes, we need to find the courage to let our friends and neighbors know and to stop hiding in shame.

If addiction has invaded the homes of our friends, neighbors, or co-workers we need to stop shunning them and pretending that such a thing could never happen in our family.

Keeping the problem hidden, or hiding from it, only insures it will never go away. Remember, the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn’t exist.

These are the first things. Doing them is crucial to being able to do the other things that need to be done.

We need to insure that there are plenty of quality treatment facilities adequately staffed with well trained, caring counselors, and medical personnel, so that a substance abuser who has made the decision to seek treatment has a place to go immediately to receive it.

We need adequate oversight to ensure that treatment facilities actually provide quality treatment and that those that don’t are shut down and their patients transferred to a decent facility.

We need to give the quality treatment facilities the space to do what they do, to provide treatment, without burying them with petty paperwork which does nothing to improve treatment; paperwork intended only to allow insurance companies to escape paying for treatment, in some cases, even before it has started.

We need effective aftercare and follow-up to minimize the chance of relapse after patients leave an in-patient facility and to ensure that patients who do relapse don’t fall by the wayside.

We need to change the conversation about addiction treatment.

We need to recognize that the way we currently treat addiction, with thirty (30) days or less of inpatient care simply does not work.

We need to recognize that while addiction is treatable and long term recovery is possible effective treatment takes time, up to two years in some cases.

Research tells us that effective in-patient 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.

This is where signing the Anthony’s Act petition http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/anthonys-act?source=c.em&r_by=2727571 and spreading the word to all our friends, neighbors and co-workers can help.

Anthony’s Act — named for my 24-year-old son who lost his battle with heroin on May 31, 2014, despite three short-term stints at rehab. — would amend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to require health insurance providers and/or the government to pay for a minimum of Ninety (90) days inpatient drug or alcohol.

We need to make our friends and neighbors who worry about the cost of providing long term treatment understand that paying for healing is not just the humane thing to do, it is also the fiscally responsible thing to do. According to several conservative estimates, every dollar invested in addiction treatment programs yields a return of between $7 and $12 in reduced healthcare costs, drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, and theft.

We need to make them understand that we have the money to pay for long term treatment.

According to the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASAColumbia), each year federal, state and local governments spend close to $500 billion dealing with addiction and risky substance use, but for every dollar that federal and state governments spend, only two cents — $10 Billion — goes to prevention and treatment. Simply raising the treatment commitment to ten cents on the dollar would free up an additional $80 Billion. Enough to fund effective, long-term treatment in full. Enough, in other words, to pay for Anthony’s Act.

We need to tell Congress we want a minimum of ninety (90) days of treatment for our family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers suffering from the disease of addiction.

We need to tell them to make Anthony’s Act the law.

Please sign the petition http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/anthonys-act?source=c.em&r_by=2727571 now and ask your family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers to sign it as well and to spread the word.

Let’s give those suffering with addiction a real chance at recovery (and while we’re at it, let’s pray for world peace.)

Thank You.

An Unfinished Masterpiece