- Posted byon October 20, 2011 at 12:36 PM EST
Cross-posted from the MADD.org blog
Stephanie Call was a normal mother like any other. Her children were bright and full of spirit. They attended a private school and had all the potential in the world for success. Her family was full of love; and as a mother, Stephanie had much to be proud of.
That is, until Stephanie’s life was turned upside down. On a day that started out like any other day, her daughter, Kelsey, got into a car driven by her friend’s mom and headed to school. Suddenly, a driver under the influence of prescription drugs crossed the median in the road and struck their vehicle, killing all three occupants. The driver pled guilty, but Stephanie and her family still feel the loss every day.
“I have a gaping hole in my heart that will never heal,” Stephanie says.
Now, Stephanie is working to make sure that nobody has to experience that same kind of loss again. At an event held by MADD in Washington, D.C., Stephanie shared her story in an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of drugged driving on our nation’s roads. While MADD has always provided support to drugged driving victims who were referred to us, at the event with the help of Stephanie, MADD formally announced a nationally coordinated effort to reach out and support these victims in addition to our continued focus on serving victims of drunk driving.
You can play a part as well. A victim advocate helped Stephanie’s family deal with the aftermath of a drugged driving crash. But, we need your help to make sure that other drugged driving victims can also receive support. Make a donation or find out how you can become a trained victim advocate. Because, while the substances differ, the consequences are the same—needless deaths and injuries.
- Posted byon October 19, 2011 at 2:40 PM EST
Yesterday, the Vice President traveled to Philadelphia to participate in a roundtable about the American Jobs Act with Chiefs of Police from the region.
Alongside Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske, and more than 10 local police chiefs, the Vice President underscored how the piece of the American Jobs Act the Senate is considering this week would put thousands of cops back on the job.
“I call on the members of Congress to step up this week. Step up and make a choice. Make a choice. Make a choice for the people in your district. Should they have more teachers back in school? Should they have more police on the beat? Should they have firefighters in the firehouse? Or should you save a millionaire from a $500 tax? Ladies and gentlemen, it's that basic and that simple.”
The Chiefs told the Vice President about the devastating impact budget cuts have had on their communities. Chief Scott Thomson of Camden, NJ, had to lay off 168 officers – nearly half of his force – in January of this year. In the wake of those layoffs, Camden has seen a 14 increase in violent crime, and homicide has risen 30 percent.
The story echoed what the Vice President heard last week in Flint, Michigan – a city that has also seen an uptick in crime and a significant increase in police response times after cutting their police force in half since 2008. Today, we released a video that shows what Flint’s first responders say the impact of the American Jobs Act would be:
- Posted byon October 19, 2011 at 10:47 AM EST
The Obama Administration is committed to the fair and equal application of the Nation’s laws. Laws and policies that treat all Americans equally should be promoted, which will increase public confidence in the criminal justice system. In recognition of these principles, Director Kerlikowske met with Chicago community leaders this week to discuss drug policy and its impact on the African American community. Joined by US Representative Danny Davis, Andrea Zopp of the Chicago Urban League, Vera Davis of the Chicago NAACP, Bishop Travis Lane Grant, and representatives from the Rainbow Push Coalition, the discussion focused on preventing drug abuse before it begins, ensuring viable treatment options for those who need it, and expanding alternatives to incarceration like drug courts and drug market interventions.
Last year, the President signed The Fair Sentencing Act, a historic and long-awaited legislation which reduced the disparity in sentencing for crack and cocaine. As outlined in the National Drug Control Strategy, ONDCPis also working bring more treatment to the incarcerated population and the expand re-entry services, which provide comprehensive housing, outpatient treatment, and job counseling. Programs like the Drug Free Communities Support Program are also helping support local activities by supporting drug prevention coalitions of community leaders and equipping them with tools, training, and resources.
- Posted byon October 18, 2011 at 8:03 AM EST
Cross-posted from the SAMHSA blog.
As we celebrate National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, Drug-Free Work Week provides an opportunity to highlight the benefits that these programs bring to employers, workers and communities. Prevention, early intervention, and treatment are all critical to building an even stronger and healthier U.S. workforce.
On behalf of ONDCP, SAMHSA’s Division of Workplace Programs continues to implement the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Program (DFWP) responsible for ensuring the national security, public health, and public safety of our country. The DFWP is one of the largest public health prevention programs in the U.S, that reaches 400,000 Federal employees and 12 million workers in Federally regulated industries. Further, private industry employers have recognized the value of the DFWP program and are currently testing an additional 50 million workers as a condition of employment utilizing the Federal standards.
We know that, like other chronic diseases, addiction can be managed successfully. Although often a long and difficult journey, research shows treatment is effective in helping people with substance use disorders achieve recovery. Treatment programs enable people to counteract addiction’s powerful disruptive effects on the brain and behavior and to regain control of their lives. Providing treatment and recovery support services also lessens the burden substance abuse places on families and society. And, studies show that every dollar spent on treatment saves four dollars in health care costs and seven dollars in public safety costs.
ONDCP is proud to stand with SAMHSA and the U.S. Department of Labor in celebrating Drug Free Work Week. We encourage businesses to get involved today to help spread the word that working drug free helps to prevent accidents, make workplaces safer, and improve productivity and reduce costs. Learn more about the Drug-Free Workplace Alliance and get ideas on how you can get involved today!
David K. Mineta is Deputy Director of Office of Demand Reduction, Office of National Drug Control Policy
- Posted byon October 17, 2011 at 9:27 AM EST
The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, administered by ONDCP, provides assistance to Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States. While its mission is to disrupt the market for illegal drugs and dismantle drug trafficking organizations, ONDCP understands the value of approaching the drug problem in a balanced manner and is focusing increasingly on prevention initiatives.
HIDTA staff members partner with community-based coalitions and other organizations to tailor prevention messages to youth, share their time and resources, and use juvenile justice programs to help prevent and reduce gang and other criminal activity. An example of HIDTA involvement with prevention initiatives is the partnership between the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA (W/B HIDTA) and Badges for Baseball. Created by the Cal Ripken, Sr., Foundation, Badges for Baseball teaches life lessons to disadvantaged youth through baseball and softball. Kids learn how to play our national pastime while working with police officers, who serve as mentors and role models, delivering lessons on character building, developing positive values, and drug use prevention.
- Posted byon October 14, 2011 at 5:06 PM EST
Cross-posted from Office of Public Engagement Blog
Thanks largely to the work of organizations like MADD, most Americans today understand the terrible consequences of drunk driving. But it has become increasingly apparent that drugged driving also poses a serious threat to public safety. The problem is far more prevalent than most people realize. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of all those tested and whose test results were known one in three drivers killed in crashes tested positive for drugs.
President Obama is dedicated to reducing the negative impact drug use and its consequences have on public health and safety. And to help address this serious challenge, President Obama has set a goal of reducing drugged driving in America by 10 percent by 2015. To help achieve this goal, today ONDCP is convening key partners from across the Nation to find ways to make progress. This summit— a gathering of leaders in youth prevention, highway safety, law enforcement, government, and research—is an invaluable opportunity to take stock of where we are in our efforts, and where we need to go from here.
In addition, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and MADD announced a new partnership this week to raise public awareness regarding the consequences of drugged driving. MADD has launched a national effort to provide support to the victims of poly-abuse (both alcohol and drugs) and drugged driving and took time this week to recognize law enforcement officers for their achievements in drugged driving enforcement.
We’re proud of the work of organizations like MADD and the Governors Highway Safety Association are accomplishing to help us reach our goal. Working together, we can save lives and make our roadways safer. And the good news is that we’re making progress.
Seventeen states already have per se laws on the books that make it illegal for individuals to drive after using drugs and place others in harm’s way. ONDCP is also working to raise public awareness about this issue through education. As part of this effort we’ve released a toolkit aimed at teens, parents, and community leaders to help prevent drugged drivers from hitting our roads.
Jon Carson is Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement
- Posted byon October 14, 2011 at 9:02 AM EST
As President Obama said in his State of the Union address earlier this year, our country is committed to out-innovating, out-building, and out-educating the rest of the world. That’s why, during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, it is important to recognize that alcohol, drug use, and their consequences negatively affect every sector of society vital to winning the future, including the education of our youth.
Despite periodic calls for effective prevention, college student drinking is still responsible for:
- over 1,700 deaths annually
- over 600,000 assaults and almost as many unintentional injuries
- nearly 100,000 sexual assaults
This fall, approximately 20 million students returned to college and university campuses across the U.S. This is an important time to raise awareness by supplying our Nation’s educators with information and the tools they need to help students avoid the harmful effects of underage drinking, high-risk drinking, and drug use.
The Safer California Universities Project is a randomized study of 14 college campuses, shows that environmental strategies, or approaches designed to change aspects of the environment that contribute to substance abuse, help reduce alcohol use among students. Among other things, the study showed that general principles of deterrence, combined with reductions in the availability of alcohol, resulted in less intoxication in off-campus social gatherings (including those at fraternity and sorority houses) and in settings where alcohol is sold, when compared to sites without such interventions.
- Posted byon October 13, 2011 at 2:14 PM EST
According to a new ONDCP analysis of 2009 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) census, roughly one in four (23 percent) of fatally injured drivers who tested positive for drugs were under the age of 25. To combat this alarming trend, ONDCP released a drugged driving toolkit at today’s event and MADD promoted their national effort to provide support to the victims of poly-abuse (both alcohol and drugs) and drugged driving and recognized law enforcement officers for their achievements in drugged driving enforcement
“Research shows that drugs have adverse effects on judgment, reaction time, and motor skills – all vital requirements for responsible driving,” said Kerlikowske. “I can think of no greater organization with which to partner to save lives on our roadways than MADD. For decades, MADD has been a lynchpin in our Nation’s efforts to make our roadways safer and I am proud to join them to help raise public awareness regarding the devastating consequences of drugged driving.”
- Posted byon October 11, 2011 at 4:47 PM EST
Youth to Youth International, the Cardinal Health Foundation, and the Ohio State University College of Pharmacyare working together to prevent prescription drug abuse among Central Ohio teens. With the help of a grant from Cardinal Health Foundation, a group of Youth to Youth teens have adapted a tool kit from the Generation Rx website, into an exciting, interactive and informative presentation entitled, “The pHARMING Effects.”
“The pHARMING Effects” is a great example of the necessity and effectiveness of collaboration in the prevention of drug abuse. While entertaining, this presentation also will expand awareness and teach strategies to prevent prescription drug abuse and misuse among middle and high school youth. Key components of the presentation include:
- A definition of prescription drug abuse as: More- using more of a prescription drug than prescribed; Not Yours – taking a prescription drug not prescribed for you; and Just Poor- taking a prescription drug for a reason other than you’re supposed to;
- The insidious nature of addiction;
- The impact of marketing prescription drugs as well as tips to critically view these ads; and
- Relevant statistics and strategies to impact change in their homes, schools and communities.
Youth to Youth was founded in 1982 in Columbus, Ohio, as a community-based drug prevention and youth leadership program focusing primarily on middle school and high school students. The goal of its many projects is harnessing the powerful influence of peer pressure-- making it a positive, peer led force that encourages young people to live free of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. For more information check out Youth to Youth International website.
Ty Sells is Director of Training and Development for Youth to Youth International
- Posted byon October 5, 2011 at 9:51 AM EST
Two key pieces of legislation offer new hope for people struggling with addiction, their families, and their communities: the Affordable Care Act, which put in place strong consumer protections, provides new coverage options, and gives you the tools you need to make informed choices about your health; and the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (Wellstone-Domenici Act), which ensures that, when mental health and addictions services are offered under an insurance plan, they must be covered as fully as other services, meaning special caps, access barriers, or service limits cannot be applied.
Together, these two laws have the potential to greatly expand access to badly needed addiction treatment and recovery support services. Which is why Faces and Voices of Recovery is working with key stakeholders on the details of how folks will access services, what services will be available, who will deliver them, and how they will be reimbursed. We are part of a broad coalition that is advocating for a continuum of services and supports that will help individuals initiate, stabilize, and manage their own recovery. This range of services includes peer recovery coaching, recovery community centers, and peer-led organizations that offer recovery support services. Work is also being done to include similar services in primary care settings.
These are exciting times. We are on the cusp of a substantial expansion of addiction treatment and recovery support services, and potentially revolutionary changes in how, where, and by whom services are delivered. Faces and Voices of Recovery is proud to be working with others in the addiction and healthcare fields to ensure that individuals who need help can find recovery services, and improve their overall health.This way, health reform will be able to support recovery and wellness in individuals, families, and communities.
Tom Hill is Director of Programs at Faces & Voices of Recovery
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