Blog

Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and behavioral health issues continue to be among the most poorly understood and stigmatized conditions today – even after all the work that advocates have put forth over the past few decades. People continue to face discrimination in so many arenas including their homes, places of employment or schooling, and the community at large. As part of the duties of a recovery steward, we are here to #RecoverOutLoud, remove barriers to recovery, and eliminate stigma and discrimination to create a recovery-oriented system of care (ROSC). What is a ROSC?  According to SAMHSA, a ROSC is a coordinated network of community-based services...
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It was at Massachusetts General Hospital that Bryan found the care he needed for his opioid use disorder. He had previously tried, without success, to just quit. But when the hospital’s renowned addiction medicine team prescribed him Suboxone, a medication that can tame cravings, it worked. Bryan also had cystic fibrosis, which by 2017 had progressed to the point he needed a lung transplant. It made sense that he would get that done at MGH too. The transplant team, citing the Suboxone Bryan took, rejected him. The denial confounded Bryan and his family. Bryan was doing what he was supposed...
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If there ever was a time to fully embrace and celebrate every pathway of recovery, it’s now. Over 100,000 people died from overdose and drug poisoning last year; it’s time to support any way a person embraces wellness. Today, I challenge everyone to authentically and radically help people recover from addiction in any way they choose. There are so many beautiful ways to recover from Substance Use Disorder (SUD). I often say that a garden with all different types of flowers is more beautiful than a garden with just roses, or just daisies. A variety of things is always better – in my opinion. Recovery is the same...
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We have all heard the statistic (I hope) – approximately 108,000 people died from an overdose last year. That represents a 15 percent increase in deaths from overdoses in 2021. Alarms should be ringing all over the country thinking about this. It is not the case so much that more Americans are using drugs; rather, the supply of drugs in illegal street markets is becoming more and more deadly due to the illegally manufactured fentanyl, an inexpensive and highly potent synthetic opioid. Fentanyl is not only in bags labeled as heroin but also pressed into pill form and masked as prescription medication and other drugs that...
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More than 100,000 people die of preventable overdoses annually. Health insurers must stop denying insurance coverage to those who need it most. I’m no stranger to being told “no” by health insurance companies that are supposed to have my back. Back in 2014, my addiction to heroin had taken everything from me. It was quickly chipping away at every aspect of my life—most notably, my health. I couldn’t afford to keep a roof over my head or even have a simple meal once a day, much less pay thousands of dollars out of pocket to my insurance company, but that didn’t seem...
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What is advocacy? By definition, advocacy involves promoting the interests or cause of a group of people and helping them find their voice while effecting positive change. So, what is an advocate? Anyone can be an advocate, and so many people already are advocating and may not realize it. An advocate is a person who supports a cause or policy and there are so many ways to advocate within a system with so many opportunities for meaningful change. Anyone can create positive change by taking action and advocating for themselves or others at many different levels. In the advocacy world,...
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America’s very first National Fentanyl Awareness Day is upon us and it couldn’t happen any sooner. On May 10, a broad coalition of medical experts, nonprofits, corporations, and recovery activists such as myself, will come together and raise awareness about the key driver of overdose deaths in America: fentanyl. The powerful synthetic opioid sold on the street is responsible for the biggest surge in overdose deaths in American history, and is currently the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 45. More than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in the past year alone, the most overdose deaths...
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Mobilize Recovery 2022 is now live! We’re excited to join nearly two dozen cross sector partners from across the country to bring the 2022 initiative both online and into communities through two unique opportunities to engage with. Mobilize Recovery is an initiative of the Recovery Advocacy Project and the Voices Project. Its mission is to expand policy to support substance use disorder recovery, create connections to supportive services that are vital and lifesaving, and to engage affected individuals in meaningful community action. We encourage you to visit mobilizerecovery.org to learn more—and to find out how you can get involved today!...
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The Justice Department’s declaration that people recovering from opioid use disorder are legally protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act marks a critical step in lifting stigmas and encouraging them to seek treatment, addiction specialists say. People recovering from opioid use disorder and not illegally using drugs are protected from health-care, employment, and other discrimination under DOJ guidance announced Tuesday. It’s part of a broader agency push to cut down on barriers for individuals in treatment and comes amid an all-time high for overdoses. The DOJ’s guidance “doesn’t change the law but it does send a message that DOJ will enforce the law,” said...
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Substance use disorder, commonly known as addiction, affects one in three households in the U.S. That’s one-third of all American families. Approximately 28 million individuals currently live with a highly treatable, but also highly stigmatized mental health disorder. What do all these people have in common? They work. And many continue to face antiquated, discriminatory practices that consider addiction a moral failing. According to a report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, people who work in the trade industries are most impacted by substance use disorder. Construction workers were involved in almost a quarter of overdose deaths recorded in the state over...
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