Blog

Where do unhoused people wash their hands? There’s no punch line. As Philadelphia closes down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, public bathrooms, restaurants, and even gyms have shut their doors. If you don’t have soap and running water, you can’t prevent coronavirus. That puts 5,700 people’s lives on the chopping block. Their crime is simply not having a place to live. In Philadelphia, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced 13 percent of people out of their jobs and is poised to ignite a massive eviction crisis. People are coping with homelessness any way they can. With fewer than 50 homeless...
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Imagine every ventilator in the United States being switched off, all at once. That’s what leaders are doing to recovery funding for addiction services in America — and they count on us dying before anyone notices. Before coronavirus, America already faced record numbers of deaths from a different epidemic. Over 350 people died every day from an illness just as deadly as COVID-19. This disease, which is more widespread than any flu, hides in plain sight in one third of all American households. It affects 27 million people, every day. It’s substance use disorder, and it’s killing Americans at record rates. In spite of...
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If you keep doing what you always did, you’ll get what you always got. That saying is true of recovery and it’s also true of other social justice movements. People in recovery understand the incredible power of change. So much is possible when we let go of our old beliefs and get a new perspective. As the recovery community takes on the challenge of dismantling racism and white supremacy, we are uniquely equipped to lean into the sometimes uncomfortable work of understanding these systemic issues. The values we learn in recovery are universally positive. Recovery is based on ideals like...
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Drug overdose deaths climbed to a record high last year, reversing a historic decline in 2018 that President Donald Trump touted as one of his administration’s key accomplishments, new federal data show. There were 70,980 reported deaths from overdoses in 2019, surpassing the peak of 70,699 deaths in 2017, according to preliminary CDC data. The numbers represent a 4.6 percent increase from the previous year, a trend that the Trump administration and experts say is continuing as overdose deaths spike amid a pandemic that’s taken a toll on America’s mental health. Thirty-seven states reported an increase in drug overdose deaths or numbers that were...
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Testimony of Ryan Hampton before the Democratic National Convention Platform Drafting Committee July 2, 2020 Thank you, Mayor Bottoms; I’m grateful to be here this evening. Five and a half years ago, I was homeless, hopelessly addicted to heroin, and desperate for help. I knocked on every door in my community, going from facility to facility to try to find treatment. I put my name on waiting lists that stretched for years, went to recovery support groups, and just tried to hang on. Finally, I was given a chance by a facility that accepted Medicaid. And I can honestly say...
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The Great Battlefield is a podcast about how the resistance is mobilizing. Nathaniel G. Pearlman interviews the progressive political entrepreneurs who are leading the battle against Trump. Resistance Dashboard is a visual advocacy platform that serves to bring focus to the fights ahead. It seeks to become a comprehensive clearinghouse for information about which policies and institutions are under what degree of attack. We aim to bring together in one well-designed dashboard the leading organizations and entrepreneurs in the fight, along with the many new technological tools, calls to action, suggestions for donations, and events that are taking place through...
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At the peak of my heroin use in 2014, everyone knew something was wrong. My track marks, broken veins, dilated pupils and sunken cheeks told the whole world that I had a problem. My illness was obvious. What they didn’t know was my secret: I was gay, too. By the time I reached my bottom, I had slowly come to terms with my identity as a gay man. My immediate family, my mother and sisters, knew. I was beginning to get comfortable with my sexual identity. I was even beginning — very cautiously — to see other men. I had...
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The vast health disparities and institutional discrimination that affect Black people is not a new phenomenon. Black people face high barriers to treatment for any illness. The COVID-19 crisis exposes what recovery advocates have known for decades: that Black people die at higher rates, and racism is responsible. Systemic racism is a public health issue. According to STAT, a “mountain” of research catalogs the discrimination that Black people face in the healthcare system. They also experience more health problems, from stress, chronic pain, diabetes, and depression, to cancer and childbirth mortality rates. With COVID-19, the risk factors that affect Black...
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On Sunday, I donated my stimulus payment to various organizations including Color Of Change, Black Voters Matter, and the Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Coalition. Stopping systemic racism in this country deserves our undivided attention, but more importantly—our action. These organizations represent the best of us: fighting voter suppression in Black communities, leading campaigns to fight for racial justice and build real power for Black communities, and ending massive racial disparities in healthcare & overdose prevention. There is only so much I can do with a tweet, a post, etc. But know this: I see you, I hear you, and I will fight for...
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Despite decreases in overall opioid overdose deaths, deaths involving synthetic opioids, cocaine and other psychostimulants increased sharply and alcohol and suicide deaths are also up. Newly released data show that 151,964 Americans died due to alcohol, drugs or suicide in 2018. This national death rate for alcohol, drug and suicide deaths was only very slightly lower than what it had been in 2017 despite progress in reducing some types of opioid overdose, according to a new study by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and Well Being Trust (WBT). For the year, alcohol deaths were up 4 percent and suicide deaths were up 2 percent. The new...
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