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Please pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015, H.R. 953

This petition had 3,902 supporters

During the last six years I realized the general lack of understanding and programs to help with addiction problems, especially those caused by prescription pain medications.  This became personal when my then 18 year old son developed an opiate addiction.  He was a very bright, athletic young man who even had a scholarship for an out of state university.  It started out innocently enough with pain medications for a diagnosed back problem, but then it turned into a full blown addiction.   As I struggled to find the right program for my son, I quickly realized that the costs associated with placing him a rehabilitation program were staggering.   After spending thousands of dollars on six different rehabilitation programs, I see that the passage of this bill could help other families and their loved ones going through addiction and recovery to lead productive lives.

The overall significance of opiate and heroin addiction touches on every aspect of society.  Heroin use has become mainstream and the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that the movement from prescription drugs to heroin use is mostly young white people in their twenties and heroin use by women has increased dramatically at a 52% increase from 20% of the people addicted to heroin in 1950.   Heroin and opioid prescription pain killers are devastating communities across the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths now outnumber the deaths caused by traffic crashes in the United States.

Currently, in the House of Representatives Bill H.R. 953: Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 is being introduced.  The passage of this bill is essential in addressing the national epidemic of prescription opioid abuse and heroin use.  If passed, this bill will authorize the Attorney General to award grants to address drug use. It will expand prevention and education, with the targeted population being teens, veterans, parents, caretakers, inmates, and other aging populations.

This bill is designed to address the many issues of heroin and opiate addiction, but it also takes added focus on the use of prescription pain medications.  Overall, this comprehensive bill provides needed resources and grants to enable states to implement or expand programs to help with addiction and recovery services, prescribing standards, education of the public, alternative sentencing programs, accessibility of naloxone for first responders, and removal of restrictions for government-funded financial aid.

  In terms of the overall magnitude of this problem, it has been reported that in the United States in 2012 the use of prescription opiates created substance abuse problems for 2.1 million people, while heroin was attributed to addiction in 467,000 people. The statistics are staggering on how this issue effects all of us. 

 Nationally, the economic costs of prescription opiate addiction are staggering.   It is estimated that $55.7 billion was spent in 2009 as a result of prescription opiate abuse including health care costs of $25.0 billion, workplace costs $25.6 billon and criminal justice costs of $5.1 billion.  These costs are expected to increase each year. 

Currently, my son is experiencing a long recovery period and has returned to college.  The debt burden from treatment is almost crushing, but I am thankful that I could find a way for a young man with great potential to get the treatment he needed.  Unfortunately, many other families and individuals lack the resources to find and pay for quality treatment.  Please sign this petition and show your support.   


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