CENTER CITY, Minn. (April 7, 2015) - The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation has launched a new "Institute for Recovery Advocacy" to smash stigma, shape public policy and educate people everywhere about the problems of addiction and the promise of recovery.
The Institute for Recovery Advocacy's robust new website will serve as a hub to educate the public and policymakers about recovery issues and facilitate conversation among individuals in recovery from addiction and those still suffering.
"Our organization has a long, proud history of standing up, speaking out and weighing in on the public health issue of addiction, which affects more than 85 million Americans," said Nick Motu, Vice President of the Institute. "Addiction remains the number one public health and personal crisis in America-one we certainly don't talk about enough."
"The people affected, even those in recovery, remain largely in the shadows, fostering public stigma and private shame that diminish our ability to advocate for education and policy needs. We hope to change that," continued Motu. "Our primary goal is to spark conversation and provide a leading national voice -- not just for our organization, but for all those affected by addiction, including people in recovery, those needing help, friends and family members, colleagues, employers and policymakers."
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation – the nation's largest nonprofit provider of addiction prevention, treatment and recovery resources – has been a strong recovery advocate dating back to the 1970s, when longtime Hazelden president Dan Anderson committed the organization to educating every future generation. Also, former First Lady Betty Ford, whose Betty Ford Center merged with Hazelden in 2014 to form the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, remains the most prominent recovery advocate in the nation's history, and the public sharing of her own recovery, which began in 1978, continues to inspire today.
"We are building on a strong foundation that also includes nationally-recognized recovery advocate and bestselling author William Moyers, who continues to be a leader for us today and who, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, spearheaded our efforts to bring together the nation's disparate advocacy interests," Motu continued. "I'm also proud of the work we did to advocate for the health insurance 'parity' law, which Congress passed in 2008 to ensure addiction and mental health services are on the same level as traditional medical benefits, and to advocate for the inclusion of such services as one of the 10 'essential benefits' that all health plans must cover under the Affordable Care Act."
The new Institute will focus this year on promoting solutions to the national crisis involving opioids, the class of drugs that includes heroin and prescription pain medications. Other issues of concern to the Institute include the risks of marijuana legalization, the forgotten drug of alcohol, criminal justice reform, access to treatment and reducing stigma.
The Institute will be engaged in the public space on a number of levels, highlighted by two national symposiums in 2015, including one June 10 on Capitol Hill to discuss the prevention of opioid deaths among college-age Americans. The new website, supported by social media, will provide news, commentary, educational information, inspiring stories and opportunities to share opinions and take action on policy proposals like the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015, which would provide unprecedented federal funding for recovery services.
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, New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado and Texas. Learn more at www.HBFinstitute.org.