Blog

Late last month, a court in Oklahoma held drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson accountable for the role its products play in the national drug epidemic. Johnson & Johnson will pay $572 million, which must go toward supporting treatment and recovery services for people who struggle with addiction. However, accountability and public awareness are just the beginning. Looking at the Cleveland County court’s decision, Johnson & Johnson was convicted of being a “public nuisance.” There may be a legal rationale for the name—but language is everything. The danger of a word like “nuisance” being thrown around lightly risks losing sight of...
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(republished from the New York Times Editorial Board, August 28, 2019.) In 1998 tobacco manufacturers reached an unprecedented agreement with 46 states, which had sued the companies for engaging in decades of deceptive marketing practices that contributed to an epidemic of tobacco-related illness and death. Over the next 20 years, the industry paid some $125 billion to the states. But two decades later, only a fraction of the tobacco proceeds — less than 3 percent nationally in 2019 — has been spent on public health matters related to tobacco use. In New York, some of the money went to a public golf course. Alabama installed security cameras in its...
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For people who use opioids—whether their use is intentional or accidental, and whether their substance of choice is prescribed or self-administered—overdose is always a risk. Even people with a tolerance for opioids can experience an overdose. In these life threatening situations, naloxone is essential. Without it, many people do not survive. That’s why The Voices Project is spearheading the Overdose Response Initiative with the Clinton Foundation and in partnership with NGO’s Direct Relief and the National Alliance of Recovery Residences. The primary goal of this initiative to help bring recovery residences (also known as sober livings) to scale in providing overdose response supports. This 3-year...
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Mobilize Recovery is a nationwide recovery initiative, supported by Facebook and spearheaded by The Voices Project. The initiative’s goal is simple: to create a network of people who are passionate about recovery and motivated to get involved in grassroots efforts to end the drug epidemic. Although our national public health crisis surrounding addiction started decades ago, it has reached a fever pitch in the last few years. New opioid painkillers, such as OxyContin, entered the marketplace in 2002. These drugs were marketed aggressively to prescribers and patients alike. People were told the pills were a “cure-all,” a low-risk treatment for everything...
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Addiction is a mental health disorder. Substance use disorder (SUD) is classified as a chronic mental condition, yet the stigma of addiction is so severe that people with SUD are often excluded from the national conversation on mental health. All mental health conditions, including addiction, must be a priority for policymakers. We need real action to end the national mental health crisis and bring solutions to people in need—in ways that are realistic, accessible, and reliable. Along with the Voices Project, I am proud to stand with the Mental Health for US coalition. We are dedicated to lifting up the...
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