New website uses personal stories to show the need for addiction policy changes
July 14, 2021 – NEW YORK Partnership to End Addiction has launched an initiative that uses the power of storytelling to break barriers and transform the addiction journey. With support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the effort aims to inspire advocacy and ultimately advance policy changes.
“Individual stories are a powerful way to illustrate and humanize the various barriers and challenges that people with addiction and their families face. These stories represent the shared experiences of millions of people,” said Lindsey Vuolo, Vice President of Health Law and Policy at Partnership to End Addiction. “We believe they will be the catalyst for desperately needed changes to addiction policies.”
The website, drugfree.org/change-story, features a range of voices – from individuals in recovery to family members who have tragically lost their loved ones. Their experiences reflect missed opportunities for prevention and early intervention, difficulties finding and paying for treatment and obstacles in recovery. The stories illustrate specific policy barriers that create challenges for individuals and families struggling with substance use.
In addition to highlighting these barriers, the initiative identifies solutions to overcoming these systemic challenges and encourages people to take action to make these changes a reality. It provides individuals opportunities for advocacy engagement, including sharing their own experiences. As new advocates submit their stories, the platform will grow with a broadened range of perspectives. Each narrative added to the website will increase the impact of this initiative and ultimately help to change addiction policy.
Virginia Holleman, whose son is in recovery, shared her story with Partnership to End Addiction. Despite her knowledge as an insurance lawyer, Virginia was denied coverage for her son’s addiction treatment. “There I was, an insurance coverage attorney, and I couldn’t even figure out how to get my son the treatment he deserved. I’m grateful that our story had a happy ending, but I know that it ends in heartbreak for far too many families,” said Holleman. “I jumped at the opportunity to share my story in the hope that my experience will help others and lead to meaningful change.”
About Partnership to End Addiction
Partnership to End Addiction is a national nonprofit uniquely positioned to reach, engage and help families impacted by addiction. With decades of experience in research, direct service, communications and partnership-building, we provide families with personalized support and resources — while mobilizing policymakers, researchers and health care professionals to better address addiction systemically on a national scale.