We Need to Change the Way We Talk About – and Treat – Addiction

    In response to what she called a “quiet epidemic” of heroin and prescription opiate abuse, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton last week announced a $10 billion plan to address drug addiction and curb incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders.

    The campaign trail to the White House has seen many presidential candidates expressing not only their views on addiction, but also the proactive steps they have taken to act on this public health crisis. A number of candidates are volunteering their ideas, including Governors Chris Christie and John Kasich, and in doing so, are re-igniting a national conversation that can lead to real change in the way we treat substance use disorders in America.

    In the U.S. alone, 85 million people have been impacted by addiction, including Republican hopefuls Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina. These well-known public figures have spoken openly about their loved one’s addiction and how their families have been directly affected by this preventable disease.

    All of these conversations and actions are occurring against the backdrop of next month’s UNITE to Face Addiction Rally – a movement aiming to bring addiction out of the shadows. Thousands of families who have been impacted by addiction are expected to participate in the October 4th rally in Washington, D.C. They want their stories shared and their voices heard, so that other families won’t have to endure the same pain. Because the truth is that too many people – too many kids – are dying for this epidemic to remain “quiet.”

    Our hope is that more candidates and political figures on the national stage will talk about the need to change the way we think about and treat the disease of addiction. Too many families are struggling with its effects for us to remain silent any longer.

    Marcia Lee Taylor, President and CEO