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Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy

Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy applauds growing prominence of addiction issues in presidential campaigns

CENTER CITY, Minn., Sept. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With a third of U.S. households affected by addiction and thousands dying every year from overdose, the presidential candidates' increasing focus on this issue may be just the catalyst needed to bring solutions to a public health crisis that has long been overlooked.

So says Nick Motu, Vice President of the Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy.
"Over the last several months, we've seen addiction issues claim an increasingly prominent space in the 2016 presidential campaign," said Motu. "Today's announcement by the Clinton campaign is the latest in a series of ideas from various candidates of both parties, and this increased focus is welcome news to recovery advocates and a spark of hope for families everywhere."

While Hillary Clinton's plan to invest $10 billion over 10 years in addiction prevention, treatment and recovery is arguably the first formal proposal among the current field of 20 Republican and Democratic candidates, it is not likely to be the last. Several candidates have been talking about the nation's deadly addiction crisis.  

"There's a grassroots movement in this country that is bringing this issue out of the shadows and into the light, and I assume the candidates' polls are starting to show it," Motu added. "We know people can recover from the disease of addiction, so it's good to see politicians paying attention to how we can make that a reality for more people."

People affected by addiction are becoming a constituency of consequence. Never will that be more evident than on Oct. 4, when tens of thousands will gather on the National Mall in Washington, DC to call for action on what organizers call the "most pressing public health issue of our time."

"In New Hampshire, this issue is front and center," said Motu. "Just as New Hampshire is a bellwether for the political race, let's hope this issues' prominence there serves as a catalyst for continued focus among all of our candidates." 

It was just a month ago, on Aug. 6, in the first Republican primary debate, that John Kasich talked about his record of shifting funds from prisons to treatment programs for those with substance use and mental health disorders.  Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bushand Chris Christie have sounded similar themes.  Bernie Sanders and others have called for expanded use of Naloxone, a medication that can reverse heroin and prescription opioid overdoses before they become fatal.  And Rand Paul, whose state of Kentucky has been ground zero in the nation's opioid crisis, has helped introduce legislation to expand specialized treatment for prescription drug and heroin addiction.
"It's clear this is a bipartisan issue, and we are pleased this important conversation is getting bigger," he added. "We think America would benefit from an entire televised debate devoted to this issue."

"The Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy has made addressing the heroin and prescription opioid crisis a focus of the advocacy efforts at our organization this year," Motu said.  "Congress is considering a number of bills aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic, and we are hopeful the bipartisan presidential campaign spotlight on these issues will spur action soon."

About the Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy 
Our mission is to provide a leading national voice on all issues related to addiction prevention, treatment and recovery and to facilitate conversation among those in recovery, those still suffering and society at large. We are committed to smashing stigma, shaping public policy and educating people everywhere about the problems of addiction and the promise of recovery.
The Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy is part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, the nation's largest nonprofit treatment provider.  With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation has 16 sites in California, Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, NewYork, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado and Texas. Learn more at www.HBFinstitute.org.
SOURCE Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy