Addiction and Recovery Act will save lives

We are in the midst of a health care crisis – an epidemic in which 114 Americans die each day from drug overdose. The growing abuse of heroin and prescription painkillers is having a devastating effect on public health and safety in our communities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses now surpass automobile accidents as the leading cause of injury-related death for Americans between the ages of 25 and 64.

The disease of addiction is a chronic but treatable illness. People do recover. However, we need systems, policies and attitudes to change in order to save lives. Thanks to Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and All Franken, along with their Senate colleagues, we are on the brink of a historic impact on treating addiction and strengthening the recovery community.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 2014 is the most expansive federal, bipartisan legislation to date for addiction support services, designating funding toward advancing treatment and recovery support services in state and local communities across the country. This legislation will save lives.

Addiction is a treatable disease, but only 10 percent of those who need treatment are receiving it. We know that the most effective way to address the challenges addiction poses is to initiate a comprehensive response that includes prevention, law-enforcement strategies, expansion of evidence-based treatment and support services for those in, or seeking, recovery.

I am one of 23 million Americans who are living proof that recovery can and does work. Please join me in thanking Senator Klobuchar for her leadership on this historic legislation and to Senator Franken for signing on as a co-sponsor. Please also ask your Minnesota representative to support the House companion bill when it is introduced.

Jill Petsel is the executive director of Minnesota Recovery Connection
Recovery, established Feb. 8, 2009.

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