- Posted byon March 7, 2014 at 5:50 PM EST
Across America, individuals are doing extraordinary things to improve the health and safety of their communities. Whether it is developing groundbreaking programs to break the cycle of drug use and crime, conducting innovative research that expands our understanding of how drugs affect the human body, expanding treatment opportunities, or preventing drug use before it starts, the 2014 ONDCP Advocates for Action are making a difference by reducing drug use and its consequences.
Honoring our distinguished colleague.
This year, we remember and celebrate the contributions of our colleague, Edward Jurith, who passed away in November 2013. During his distinguished career at ONDCP, Mr. Jurith was appointed twice to serve as Acting Director—first by President Clinton in 2001, then by President Obama in 2009. Since 1994, he also served as ONDCP’s General Counsel, Senior Counsel and Director of Legislative Affairs. Ed also served as the United States Representative and Working Committee Chair for the Education Committee for the World Anti-Doping Agency, an international independent agency composed of sport and government leaders focused on promoting science and research-based guidance to establish a doping-free sporting environment. Ed’s reputation as a leader in drug policy crossed international borders. In 1997, he served as an Atlantic Fellow in Public Policy at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, where he researched and lectured on drug policy issues. As part of the Atlantic Fellowship, Ed assisted the UK Anti-Drugs Coordinator in developing the Blair Government’s strategy for reducing substance use. He lectured widely on drug policy at U.S. and British universities and authored numerous publications on substance abuse and drug policy. Outside of his official duties, Ed also served on the Advisory Committee of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Substance Abuse, as well as the District of Columbia Bar Lawyer Assistance Program, a program providing assistance to law students, lawyers, and judges with substance use and/or mental health disorders. Ed will be remembered fondly by the many colleagues and friends whose lives he touched during his exemplary public service career.
Judge Arthur L. Burnett, Sr.
Promoting mentorships and preventing youth alcohol and substance to help young people build healthy, productive lives.
Retired Judge Arthur L. Burnett, Sr. is being honored as an Advocate for Action for his role in beginning the National African American Drug Policy Coalition (NAADPC) program for youth drug prevention. Judge Burnett designed and implemented a program through which African American professionals visit schools and talk to young people about the harmful effects of drug use on individual health and academic success. Under his leadership, the NAADPC works 7 days a week to prevent youth drug and alcohol abuse across the country. NAADPC provides tutors, counselors, and mentors from a coalition of African American professionals numbering over 1,000,000 men and women. Judge Burnett personally appears in schools across the country to provide inspirational talks about avoiding youth alcohol and drug use. His talks emphasize the value of good citizenship and the potential for individuals from humble backgrounds to become part of the American dream. In the course of his work, Judge Burnett also provides expert advice on drug and juvenile delinquency judicial issues to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
Dr. Joan Standora
Improving clinical, administrative and educational practices in the field of substance use disorders.
For 40 years, Joan Standora, Ph.D. has worked tirelessly to improve clinical, administrative, and educational practices in the substance use disorder field. Early in her career, Dr. Standora developed an expressive therapy program in a methadone-maintenance residential program and received a NIDA grant for a program serving mothers with substance use disorders and their children. In 1998, she became the first clinical director of New York City’s Manhattan Treatment Court. Dr. Standora established protocols and policies, supervised staff, and conducted outreach to providers for the drug court participants. Dr. Standora was instrumental in establishing the New York City Regional Drug Court/Treatment Consortium. Dr. Standora then became the Executive Clinical Director at a Bronx-based treatment program, instituting staff trainings focusing on substance use disorders among clients from low-income minority communities plagued by poor health care and unemployment. In 2000, Dr. Standora developed and implemented a substance abuse counselor education program at the City University of New York’s Kingsborough Community College. The program became a degree program in 2003, approved by both New York State’s Education Department and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). In 2010, Dr. Standora received a grant from the Department of Labor (DOL) through OASAS to retrain 25 unemployed workers as substance abuse counselors, a part of the Administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In 2013, Dr. Standora received a grant to enroll persons over the age of 50 as a community college workforce education project for professionals in the substance use disorder field. She currently directs the degree program in chemical dependency counseling at the City University of New York
Helping individuals with substance use disorders find and maintain their recovery through sport.
Scott Strode has dedicated his life to helping individuals with substance use disorders find and maintain their recovery through sport, a dedication that has earned the attention national media organizations, to include his recognition as a CNN Hero. Scott founded Phoenix Multisport in 2007 to foster a safe, supportive, physically active community for individuals recovering from alcohol and substance use disorders and for those who choose to live a sober life. Through pursuits such as climbing, hiking, running, strength training, yoga, road/mountain biking, CrossFit, and other activities, Phoenix seeks to help its members develop and maintain the emotional strength they need to stay sober. All activities are free. The only requirement is that individuals have at least 48 hours of continued sobriety to participate. They also must adhere to Phoenix Multisport’s code of conduct, which says that anything that is not nurturing is not welcome. Since 2007, over 11,000 individuals have attended Phoenix Multisport events in Colorado, where they find a safe, sober community of friends to support them in their recovery. Scott is devoted to changing how the world views those with substance use disorders. Scott and the staff at Phoenix Multisport welcome newly-recovering individuals to join them for a free activity or workout. It is Scott’s hope that Phoenix Multisport will expand to other areas of the country to reach even more of those in need.
Melody Heaps and Pamela Rodriguez
Advancing system-wide justice interventions for people with substance use disorders.
Melody Heaps and Pamela Rodriguez are partners and leaders in advancing system-wide justice interventions for people with substance use disorders. For more than 30 years, they have shared a collective commitment to collaborative solutions that improve both public health and public safety.
Melody founded TASC in Chicago in 1976 as a nonprofit agency focused on alternatives to incarceration. She would go on to lead TASC to become a nationally recognized agency before retiring from her role as president and CEO in 2009. She remains president emeritus to TASC and is an advisor to TASC’s Center for Health and Justice, which offers public policy and consulting services nationally and internationally.
Melody began her career during the civil rights movement and served on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s staff during the Chicago campaign. From these roots grew a lifelong professional commitment to addressing the complex and interrelated issues of drugs, poverty, and crime. Under her leadership, TASC matured from a small pilot project in Cook County, Illinois to a statewide organization providing direct services for 25,000 individuals annually.
Pamela Rodriguez has served as TASC’s president and CEO since 2009, having previously directed every aspect of the agency’s operations. Under her leadership, TASC has continued to grow and thrive, including an expanded focus on diversion programs early in the justice continuum to reduce recidivism and the collateral consequences of justice involvement.
An expert in connecting research to clinical practice, Pam was appointed in 2007 to serve as a practitioner model of the Federal Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. She is active in numerous bodies to increase alternatives to incarceration, improve juvenile justice, and decrease the disproportionate incarceration of people of color.
Together, Melody and Pam have played significant roles at local, state, and national levels in the development and expansion of community-based diversion programs and treatment alternatives to incarceration to create healthier and safer communities.
Judge Robert Russell
Pioneering the veterans treatment court movement.
In January of 2008, Judge Robert Russell created and began presiding over the first “Veterans Treatment Court” in the United States. The Veterans Treatment Court is a hybrid Drug Court/Mental Health Court model for justice-involved veterans that features regular court appearances (a bi-weekly minimum in the early phases of the program), mandatory attendance at treatment sessions, and frequent and random testing for substance use (drug and/or alcohol). The Veterans Treatment Court acts as a “one-stop shop” at the courthouse, with a team of Federal, state, and local veterans’ agencies and organizations working together to link veterans with the programs, benefits, and services they have earned. For his dedication and perseverance in helping this country’s veterans, The National Vietnam Veterans of America has awarded Judge Russell with the Vietnam Veterans of America Achievement Medal and The National Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States has awarded Judge Russell with the James E. Dan Zandt Citizenship Award.
Judge Russell has been a pioneer in the drug treatment court movement and remains a strong leader to this day. In December 1995, Judge Russell created “Buffalo’s Drug Treatment Court” and continues to serve as the Presiding Judge. In addition, in December 2002, he established and began serving over Buffalo’s Mental Health Treatment Court.
Judge Russell is the Past Chairman of the Board of Directors of National Association of Drug Court Professionals and the Past President of the New York State Association of Drug Treatment Court Professionals, Inc. He also serves on the National Advisory Board of the Judges’ Criminal Justice and Mental Health Leadership Initiative. He is the recipient of several Awards of Merit from the American Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, and the Erie County Bar Association.
Commander Harry Schmidt
Strengthening international partnerships against transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking.
CDR Harry Schmidt is being recognized as an Advocate for Action for his tireless work to strengthen international partnerships against transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking. CDR Schmidt led the expansion of the Multilateral Maritime Counterdrug Summit from six to 13 partner nations in the Western Hemisphere transit zone, sharing operational and legal expertise across borders to improve transnational cooperation, coordination in the apprehension and prosecution of major drug smugglers. The program has been so successful that the Department of State asked CDR Schmidt to replicate the Summit in the Caribbean Basin. CDR Schmidt also initiated and developed the concept for Coast Guard Support to Interdiction and Prosecution, an initiative through which three-person USCG teams will be embedded within select U.S. embassies in the Western Hemisphere Transit Zone beginning in 2014. These teams will assist regional partners in case documentation, evidence handling, and prosecution of maritime drug smuggling cases. Through these and other ongoing efforts, CDR Schmidt is helping to strengthen international partnerships to reduce drug production, trafficking, use, and their consequences.
Dr. Kenneth Silverman
Advancing innovative intervention and treatment practices.
Dr. Kenneth Silverman is a researcher and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine and is Director of the Bayview Medical Center’s Center for Learning and Health. Dr. Silverman’s research concerns the Therapeutic Workplace, an employment-based intervention for behavior change. Through the Therapeutic Workplace, unemployed adults living in poverty earn the opportunity to work and earn wages by meeting treatment goals. Goals may include abstinence verified through drug monitoring, as well as adherence to Vivitrol (injectable naltrexone), a medication to prevent narcotic relapse. Pay is contingent on attendance, work speed, and accuracy. Workplace participants are trained in data entry skills using a web-based computerized program that automates teaching and accelerates learning. Enrollees also learn professional demeanor. Patient recovery is the priority of this program. If drug use occurs, every effort is made to keep the bond between employee and employer intact, so work can resume once abstinence is reestablished. Studies show incentives are among the most effective tools for initiating and sustaining abstinence, but they can be costly. Using wages from employment to pay for incentive interventions is a unique solution for treating people with chronic substance use disorders who may be at risk for relapse even after years of abstinence. In clinical trials, patients with long histories of unemployment and severe substance use disorders, including intravenous heroin and cocaine use, have been able to achieve long-term recovery through the Therapeutic Workplace.
Identifying and promoting new strategies to reduce illegal drug use and its consequences.
Stephen K. Talpins, an attorney with Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, is Vice President of the Institute for Behavior and Health (IBH), a non-profit organization devoted to identifying and promoting new strategies to reduce illegal drug use and its consequences. IBH was founded and is led by Dr. Robert L. DuPont, the first Director of NIDA and the second White House drug policy advisor.
Mr. Talpins is an innovator and recognized authority on the full range of drugged driving issues. For more than 20 years he has worked collaboratively with public, private, and non-profit stakeholders on drugged driving. In 1994, Mr. Talpins argued and won a precedent setting Frye hearing on the admissibility of Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) testimony and evidence, including the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Since that time, Stephen has consulted with prosecutors around the country on issues involving the DRE protocol and field sobriety tests. In 2010-2011, Mr. Talpins drafted a model per se drugged driving law for IBH. The model law was designed to be adapted to the needs of any state and provided the basis for a bill filed in the Florida legislature. In 2012, NHTSA asked Mr. Talpins to identify ways to incorporate drugged driving into the established Administrative License Review (ALR) system. Mr. Talpins drafted a model provision that was presented to the Board of Directors of the Governors Highway Safety Administration. The model ALR drug law was well-received and, in August 2013, the Governors Highway Safety Administration adopted a resolution encouraging states to study the efficacy of an ALR system for drugged drivers. Steve’s legal work and advocacy have served as important contributions to the national effort to prevent drugged driving and its public health and safety consequences.
Dr. Steven Loyd
Preventing and addressing prescription drug abuse through prescriber education.
Dr. Steven Lloyd is making a difference in the national effort to prevent and address prescription drug abuse through prescriber education. Dr. Loyd is an Internal Medicine physician and medical educator in Tennessee with expertise in proper prescribing of controlled substances and substance use disorders. He is in recovery from his own prescription opioid and benzodiazepine disorder and now regularly lectures and educates health care professionals, law enforcement, policymakers, and others on the dangers of prescription narcotics. He is the Associate Chief of Staff of Education at the Mountain Home VA Medical Center, has considerable expertise in neonatal addiction issues/neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), and is a vocal advocate for public health/public safety cooperation. He is charismatic, plain-spoken, and has a sense of humor in his lectures and presentations. A quote from a November 2012 article about him: "Will addiction ever go away? No way. There'll always be something. The key is to treat the underlying problems. We're not going to get a handle on this until we get a multi-pronged approach and erase the stigma associated with addictive disease."
- Posted byon March 7, 2014 at 5:29 PM EST
The consequences of drug use in our communities are important to measure so that we can better understand both the scope of the problem and the scale of response required. Drug problems intersect with, and contribute to, many challenges our Nation faces.
Challenges like school failure, poverty, mental illness, criminal activity, and a wide array of health problems associated with substance use disorders. A new report we’re making available today provides some additional information that helps provide a clearer picture of the impact of drug use and its consequences on America.
According to this new study, drug users in the United States spent approximately $100 billion annually over the past decade on illicit drugs. This study updates several previous reports (beginning in 1995) which estimated drug trends back to 1988.
Notably, from 2000 to 2010, the amount people spent on cocaine dropped by half from $55 billion to $28 billion, reflecting dramatic decreases in the availability of cocaine after 2006: from approximately 300 pure metric tons in 2000 to about 150 pure metric tons in 2010.
The amount of money illicit drug use costs taxpayers, however, far exceeds the amount users spent on illicit drugs. In 2007 alone, illicit drug use cost taxpayers more than $193 billion in lost productivity, healthcare, and criminal justice costs.
Terry Zobeck is the Associate Director of Research and Data analysis at the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
- Posted byon March 6, 2014 at 4:17 PM EST
Today, the Senate voted to confirm Gil Kerlikowske to be the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a role to which he will be transitioning over the next several days.
Once the transition is complete, Deputy Director Michael Botticelli will take on the role of Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy.
While the staff of the Office of National Drug Control Policy is sad to see Director Kerlikowske go, we wish him all the best in his new position, and we look forward to the continued leadership of Deputy Director Botticelli.
For more information about Deputy Director Botticelli, visit this page.
- Posted byon March 4, 2014 at 1:30 PM EST
The President has released a budget that lays out a vision for how to create opportunity for all Americans, investing in items that will grow the economy, create jobs, increase skills training and improve education – all while continuing long term deficit reduction.
However, illegal drug use threatens the progress these opportunities will provide. In 2010, 100 people died every day from drug overdose, and the estimate in 2007 of the cost to the country of illicit drug use due to health care, crime, and lost productivity was $193 billion.
To address this burdening issue, the President’s National Drug Control Strategy represents a 21st century approach to drug policy that outlines innovative policies and programs and recognizes that substance use disorders are not just a criminal justice issue, but also a major public health concern. The Strategy lays out an evidence-based plan for real drug policy reform, spanning the spectrum of prevention, early intervention, treatment, recovery support, criminal justice reform, effective law enforcement, and international cooperation. In support of this Strategy, the President is requesting $25.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2015 to support a balanced approach that brings all sectors of society together in a national effort to improve public health and public safety.
This Administration has ensured that Federal funding to address the public health aspects of the issue has increased every year. It’s important to note that the portion of the budget spent on drug treatment and prevention efforts (43%) has grown to its highest level in over 12 years. Moreover, the $10.9 billion request for treatment and prevention is now nearly 20% higher than the $9.2 billion request for Federally-funded domestic drug law enforcement and incarceration.
A balanced, evidence-based approach working towards ensuring that the growing opportunity is not threatened.
Find more details on the President's drug control budget request here.
R. Gil Kerlikowske is the Director of National Drug Control Policy.
- Posted byon February 11, 2014 at 9:00 AM EST
The abuse of opioids – a group of drugs that includes heroin and prescription painkillers – is having a devastating impact on public health and safety in communities across the Nation. With the amount of media attention focused on overdoses right now, it’s important to know the basics about the opioid overdose epidemic.
Here’s what we know:
- More Americans are using and dying from prescription painkillers than from heroin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we've seen roughly a 20 percent increase in overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers since 2006. In 2010, there were over 16,000 drug poisoning deaths involving prescription painkillers. There were about 3,000 drug poisoning deaths involving heroin that same year.
2. There is no such thing as a “good batch” of heroin versus a “tainted batch” of heroin. Any heroin use can lead to a fatal overdose. We're aware of current reports of fentanyl by coroners and medical examiners in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, and Michigan, and are monitoring this closely.
3. Heroin and prescription drug abuse are not limited to any certain demographic or geographic area. We see the negative consequences associated with opioid drug use in urban and suburban areas, rural communities, and inner cities alike. We have, however, seen indications that heroin use is increasing among young adults, which is a serious concern.
4. The vast majority of heroin in the United States comes from Colombia and Mexico, not Afghanistan, and we have not seen any evidence of a shift in this trend. According to DEA, the amount of heroin seized at the Southwest border increased 324 percent from 2008 to 2013.
5. Every overdose is preventable. The Obama Administration is encouraging first responders to carry the overdose-reversal drug naloxone. When administered quickly and effectively, naloxone immediately restores breathing to a victim in the throes of an opioid overdose. Because police are often the first on the scene of an overdose, the Administration strongly encourages local law enforcement agencies to train and equip their personnel with this lifesaving drug. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have amended their laws to increase access to naloxone, resulting in over 10,000 overdose reversals since 2001. We encourage everyone to learn more about naloxone. Used in concert with “Good Samaritan” laws, which grant immunity from criminal prosecution to those seeking medical help for someone experiencing an overdose, it can and will save lives. The map below shows which states have implemented Good Samaritan overdose laws and have taken action to increase access to naloxone:
 CDC Wonder extracted February 4, 2014
 Unpublished data from DEA’s National Seizure System (NSS), El Paso Intelligence Center, 1/25/14.
- Posted byon January 30, 2014 at 4:47 PM EST
In his State of the Union address, President Obama said that here in America, our success should depend not on accident of birth, but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. He reminded us that it is our citizens—entrepreneurs, farmers, veterans, doctors, fathers, mothers—who make the state of our union strong. He called for more jobs, a well-prepared workforce, and equal access to world-class education.
Yet for far too many Americans, opportunity is dimmed by addiction. Approximately 100 people die every day from drug overdoses across the country, and millions more struggle with substance use disorders. But in the coming months and years, the Affordable Care Act will expand access to substance use and mental health treatment to 62 million Americans, and the more than 20 million people in long-term recovery from addiction are proof that treatment works. Now, GRAMMY-award winning musician Macklemore has partnered with mtvU, the Jed Foundation and Clinton Health Matters to open up about his own struggle with addiction and his life in recovery to raise awareness among young people about the dangers of prescription drug abuse:
- Posted byon January 30, 2014 at 3:49 PM EST
Yesterday, a life was saved in Staten Island. After arriving at the scene of an opioid overdose, a local law enforcement officer administered the overdose-reversal drug, naloxone, to an unresponsive victim. He was revived, thanks to the officer – and the naloxone he carried as part of the New York Police Department’s pilot program to train 180 officers to administer the overdose reversal drug.
Our Nation is struggling with an opioid epidemic: of the 38,000 drug overdose deaths in 2010, approximately 22,100 involved prescription drugs. More than 16,000 of these deaths involved opioid painkillers[i], more than cocaine and heroin combined. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics show that drug overdose deaths increased for the 11th consecutive year in 2010 – surpassing deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes[ii]. Staten Island has been particularly hard hit by this epidemic, where in 2011the mortality rate from overdose was four times as high as that of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, and 3.5 times as high as the Bronx rate.
As staggering as these statistics are, we have reason to be optimistic about reversing them—because every opioid overdose death is preventable. We have steadfastly encouraged and promoted the distribution of naloxone to law enforcement professionals, EMTs and other emergency first-responders. In fact, the pilot program that saved a life yesterday was funded in part by our office through a grant from the New York-New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. The naloxone and atomizers were purchased with HIDTA funds while the other materials were provided by the New York State Department of Health.
ONDCP is proud to partner with state, city and local governments to continue to promote the use of naloxone, particularly within police departments. For more information, please contact us and sign up for updates.
[i] Sources: CDC/WONDER, extracted February 11, 2013
[ii] Source: NCHS Data Brief, December, 2011, Updated with 2009 and 2010 mortality data
- Posted byon January 27, 2014 at 9:00 AM EST
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) joins with school nurses across the country to express our support for efforts that promote wellness and good health outcomes for our Nation’s children, including the prevention of substance use disorders. ONDCP shares the concerns of school nurses regarding the harmful effects of marijuana use among young people. Given research indications that marijuana is harmful to the developing brain, we are especially concerned about the repercussions of use on the health, safety, and education of adolescents. On January 27, 2014, based on overwhelming scientific evidence, the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) Board of Directors adopted an official position statement outlining the negative impact of marijuana legalization on the health of students. ONDCP supports NASN in bringing attention to this issue.
School nurses are present in 75 percent of the Nation’s schools, so many are in touch with substance use trends within the school and greater community and are able to make educated assessments when students visit their offices. The school nursing profession has more than 100 years of experience, and school nurses know first-hand that healthy, drug-free children learn better. As more and more states consider the legalization of marijuana, school nurses are compelled to continue providing their students with the facts on the multiple physical and behavioral health consequences of marijuana use. Access to marijuana by young people and the impact of its use on the developing brain continue to be matters of concern for both ONDCP and NASN.
Together, we recognize that adult influencers, including parents, school nurses, teachers, counselors, and other support personnel in the academic setting, are key to helping adolescents understand the connection between good health practices and educational achievement. There is grave concern that marijuana use, given its impact on cognitive development, motor skills, and attention, will be detrimental to the learning environment for our young people. We encourage professionals in all health fields, parents, educators, and communities to get involved with this issue. We all must work together to reduce marijuana use and prevent substance use disorders among our young people.
David Mineta is Deputy Director for Demand Reduction at ONDCP. Carolyn Duff, MS, RN, NCSN, is President of the National Association for School Nurses.
 Meier MH, Caspi A, Ambler A, Harrington H, Houts R, Keefe RS, McDonald K, Ward A, Poulton R, Moffitt TE. Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012, Aug 27.
2. It is the opinion of the NASN that marijuana is properly categorized by the DEA under Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substance Act. NASN recognizes the overwhelming evidence that “any change in the legal status of marijuana, even if limited to adults, could affect the prevalence of use among adolescents.”
- Posted byon January 20, 2014 at 3:00 PM EST
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
Today, ONDCP staff answered President Obama’s call to honor the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by making it a “day on” instead of a “day off.” We enjoyed a warm welcome from Clean and Sober Streets, long term residential drug and alcohol treatment and rehabilitation center in Washington, D.C.. We were honored to be welcomed into the home of many remarkable people in recovery and to learn about each of their experiences.
Dr. King committed his life to expanding opportunity for all Americans. He envisioned an America where service had the power to transform communities – a vision President Obama has fully embraced, and one that we are proud to embrace as well.
The residents of Clean and Sober Streets live and work together, support one another, and succeed in recovery together. Today, they demonstrated once again the power of recovery from substance use disorders – that treatment works, and that people can, and do, overcome substance use disorders.
- Posted byon January 17, 2014 at 1:53 PM EST
Over the past four years, we’ve worked hard to support drug policy reform rooted in science, evidence, and research. A difficult budget environment hasn’t made it easy. Damaging cuts caused by sequestration have placed real obstacles in the way of ensuring full support for services and programs that expand prevention, treatment, and smart-on-crime initiatives that represent a 21st century approach to drug policy.
But there is good news.
The bipartisan appropriations bill passed by Congress this week finally begins to repair some of these cuts. It also includes support for innovative alternatives that will protect public health and public safety while saving taxpayer dollars over the long run.
Some highlights from the bill:
- $1.8 billion in funding for the Substance Abuse Block Grant – a $110 million increase compared to FY2013. The grant gives states the ability to establish and expand substance use prevention and treatment services in order support people recovering from substance use disorders.
- $92 million will support the Drug Free Communities Support Program, which provides resources to local coalitions working to prevent substance use among young people.
- $45 million to support early health interventions through SAMHSA’s Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) initiative. SBIRT helps doctors and medical professionals identify and address the signs and symptoms of problematic drug use before it becomes a more serious, chronic condition.
- Supporting the administration of an estimated $4.6 billion for drug treatment services and related costs through the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services.
- Restoration of a significant portion of funding for vital drug abuse research through the National Institutes of Health, including research emphasizing the health effects of heroin and prescription painkiller abuse.
- $68 million to fund programs designed to help formerly incarcerated offenders find employment, housing, and support through the Second Chance Act, and $27.5 million to advance criminal justice reforms at the state and local level via the Justice Reinvestment Initiative.
- Drug Courts, which work to divert non-violent offenders into alternatives to incarceration, including treatment in appropriate cases, were provided $40.5 million.
- For the first time ever, the bill also includes $4 million to support expansion of the innovative HOPE diversion model for drug offenders. The HOPE program uses swift, certain sanctions that have shown promise in reducing recidivism and drug use.
This bill is not perfect, and no one got everything they wanted (that’s the nature of compromise), but these are real investments in making our Nation healthier and stronger. Reducing drug use and its consequences is a vital issue that spans the political spectrum and this is a step in the right direction.
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