This is Our Moral Test

By Becky Vance

We all have our personal opinions about the nation’s new leadership, set to change one week from today. I’m asking you to put those opinions aside for a bit because you and I have an urgent and critical task at hand.

We need to make sure that addiction-related issues, including prevention and equal access to treatment, remains on the new president’s radar.

Our friends at Facing Addiction have made it easy. They’ve posted a letter to President-elect Trump on their website available for anyone to sign.

The letter points out that, on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump openly spoke about his brother Fred’s death due to alcoholism, and how his family’s life was impacted.

Plus, he was instrumental in helping former Miss USA Tara Conner find recovery in 2006. She told Oprah Winfrey late last year, “When he sent me to treatment, it was a huge step forward for the recovery movement,” Conner said.

President-elect Trump is not without sympathy—and perhaps empathy—toward addiction issues. (You can sign Facing Addiction’s letter here.)

One in three American families have been touched by addiction. Annually, we Americans pay $442 million in untreated addiction costs, more than twice what we pay for the cost of diabetes care. We have to change the equations, especially since we know that one dollar spent in prevention can save society up to $58!

The 85th Texas Legislature opened this week; not surprisingly, there are bills that will be introduced that are not conducive to our firm commitment to steer children and teens away from drugs. In fact, Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio) introduced SB 269, the “medical marijuana” bill. You’ll see much more about that bill and our response in the days and weeks to come.

The good news is that our nation has made great strides in its bipartisan work encompassing prevention, intervention and treatment. Both the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century CURES Act are proof of a willingness to advance our cause and to keep fighting for what’s right when it comes to easing the death-grip that addiction has on America. CURES in particular could significantly impact Texas since the Act includes $500 million a year to help states prevent opioid misuse along with offering better treatment options for those needing help.

It is so necessary for you to take this issue seriously and to take action. There’s never been a better time than right now to lend your voice to change.

The U.S. Surgeon General recently said that the addiction epidemic is our moral test. I agree with his statement.

The word prevention is in our organization’s name for a reason. We believe that by inserting ourselves into your hearts and homes with our incredible prevention programs and events, we may just one day help you or one of your family members make an important decision.

This is our moral test: to help as many children and families as we possibly can.

I’m convinced that 2017 is the year in which we—the collective we—will shift into high gear and begin to chip away at those awful addiction statistics. Will you join us?

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