Blog

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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If we look up from what’s right in front of us — a global pandemic — we’ll remember that we’ve been battling a public health crisis for more than a decade. The opioid epidemic alone has stolen more than 450,000 lives from us since 1999, but the total number of deaths related to substance use is around 1.75 million for that same period. Before this virus swept through the U.S., we were starting to see real change in the opioid crisis — both in the health systems and the decline of drug overdose deaths. Overdose death rates decreased by 4.1% from 2017 to 2018 in the U.S. This...
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Tips for social distancing, quarantine, and isolation during the COVID-19 outbreak What Is Social Distancing? Social distancing is a way to keep people from interacting closely or frequently enough to spread an infectious disease. Schools and other gathering places such as movie theaters may close, and sports events and religious services may be cancelled. What Is Quarantine? Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. It lasts long enough to ensure the person has not contracted an infectious disease. What Is Isolation? Isolation prevents the spread...
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The Voices Project is proud to partner with Justin Bieber for the YouTube Originals release of SEASONS. During episodes 5 and 7, The Voices Project and its closed Facebook group, “Voices to End Addiction & Inspire Recovery” are featured as resources for viewers to tell their stories and share their experiences with addiction and mental health recovery. “Justin Bieber: Seasons,” a 10-part YouTube docuseries, offers an intimate look at an artist who launched to fame off the platform a decade ago. Bieber opens up about his mental health, his marriage to Hailey Baldwin and invites viewers into his recording studio. The...
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Calling all changemakers in addiction recovery advocacy and activism! Mobilize Recovery is coming back this year and we can’t wait to reveal the details and process to get involved and attend. BE THE FIRST TO GET NOTIFIED about the 2020 process, partners, schedule and venue – and how YOU can join changemakers from all over the country for an impact driven experience. We want to train and give YOU the tools to make sustainable, real change in your community; connect with emerging leaders from across the country; and develop a plan of action that we can work on together to...
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The Voices Project is proud to collaborate with Google for its Recovery Month launch of the Recover Together Initiative. This groundbreaking collaboration puts recovery voices front and center at a time when millions of Americans are struggling with substance use disorder. Google’s Recover Together campaign includes personal stories from people in sustained recovery, including recovery advocate and Voices Project founder Ryan Hampton. Ryan shared his story about his decade-long battle with heroin addiction, which took him from a promising career in the White House to panhandling for change outside a gas station. His addiction stole years from his life, but...
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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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