I wasn’t a bad person, trying to act good; I was a sick person that needed to get well. And that was the fire that started my journey to advocacy. I knew that there were so many people out there that were suffering just like me. And I suffered for most of my life because I had no idea what it was that I was suffering from. I was so excited to get out there and share my experience with what I had learned in treatment, because I really felt like I’d found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Right?
Addiction is one of the top healthcare issues in this country, and it kills more people than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. There’s an airplane full of people dropping from the sky every single day, and it’s the most under-funded healthcare issue. People are being incarcerated for being sick; 80% of inmates suffer from substance use disorders, and almost half of them have been locked up for drug-related offences. They don’t need to be held captive; they need long-term recovery. Thank you.
In schools, where our children spend the majority of their time, there’s no government-funded effective prevention program out there. And addiction starts in adolescence. Science tells us that prevention and treatment work. It’s estimated that substance use costs our society around $442 billion a year. If more people had access to treatment, and if there were better prevention programs, mandatory, that were in place, we could take a chunk out of our national debt. We don’t need to lock people up or build a wall; the drugs are already here. I found mine in my parents’ medicine cabinets.
In November of last year, the US Surgeon General made an unprecedented report on drugs, alcohol, and health. And he issued a new call to action. There are currently 20 million Americans that are struggling with addiction, far more than those diagnosed with cancer, and only 10% of them will receive treatment.
We all have just sensationalized the problem. I’ve been guilty of it, right? But rarely do we hear that Miss USA just celebrated ten years of sobriety. Thank you
Dr. Vivek H. Murthy said that how we respond to the addiction crisis is a moral test for America. There are over 20 million people in long-term recovery. That’s a lot. I mean, I will share my dirty laundry, to whoever will listen. But I challenge those who are in long-term recovery and all of the families whose lives have been recreated because of recovery to join together and recover out loud. Then maybe, we can take the shame away from those who are in the shadows, and encourage them to step into the light. I know I will.