Editor’s note: This September, Audacious Ideas features a special month-long series in conjunction with National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. We’ve asked four individuals to share their ideas about addiction issues and the failed war on drugs. Pat Taylor is the first in our series.
On Saturday September 12, over 70,000 Americans Rallied for Recovery! at walks, rallies, picnics and other events in 90 communities across the country. People in or seeking long-term recovery from addiction, their families and friends came together as part of a growing movement that is calling for new public attitudes and policies that will expand opportunities for recovery.
Rally for Recovery! and other public events are taking on a new meaning with the growth of an organized recovery community. For too long a great majority of the over 20 million Americans in long-term recovery and their allies have been silent about their experiences and successes.
Times are changing. In addition to the wonderful music, food and festivities that are the hallmark of recovery celebrations, growing numbers feature elected and public officials, celebrities, law enforcement officers, educators and other supporters. There are opportunities to participate in our nation’s civic life through voter registration; contact Congress about pending health reform legislation; and take action on critical local issues. Speakers represent the many pathways to recovery and join with family members to stand up for the elimination of policies that discriminate against people seeking or in recovery.
As we work to make Recovery Voices Count in our communities during the 20th annual Recovery Month observances, it’s time to raise the national profile of the solution. We have a new federal administration that is committed to improving our country’s drug policies. In one of his first statements as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske made a welcome call for abandoning the divisive “war on drugs” rhetoric.
What will take its place? It’s time for a high-profile Presidential Commission on Addiction Recovery and a fully-funded Office of Recovery at the Office of National Drug Control Policy that will chart a new direction in public and private attitudes and policies. It’s time to demonstrate our commitment to ensure that all Americans have the right to recover from addiction.