The Recovery Bill of Rights
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Campaigns: HBO's Addiction
- How You Can Get Involved
- Talking about HBO’s Addiction
- Using HBO’s Addiction to Reach out to the Media
- Spreading the Word
With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Faces & Voices of Recovery is partnering with Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and Join Together to take advantage of HBO’s show Addiction to bring greater public attention to addiction and organize in communities across the country for policies that will make recovery a reality for even more Americans. We have announced the partnership and launched a joint web site at www.AddictionAction.org. The project runs through Recovery Month, September 2007.
HBO, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), has produced a multi-platform campaign to educate Americans about advancements in the understanding of addiction and effective new treatments. Their campaign is built around a 90-minute show, Addiction that is part of a 14-part series that aired on March 15, 2007.
Tom Coderre, our National Field Director, is working on this project which is called Addiction and Recovery: Communities Take Action. This project is a very important opportunity to put a face and a voice on recovery to a much wider audience, including policymakers, and to enlist new allies in our work. Tom worked intensively in 15 communities leading up to the March 15, 2007 airing of the show and is now working with recovery community organizations across the country leading up to Rally for Recovery! on September 15, 2007.
Over 15,000 people attended over 500 house parties on Saturday, March 17, 2007 as part of this project and we thank Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-MA) for speaking to recovery advocates who attended the house parties. Organizing materials to help bring people together through town hall meetings, house parties, media briefings to key policymakers and other activities to build support for new attitudes and policies are available including a Viewer’s Guide.
HBO’s Addiction has six themes. One is insurance discrimination. Our nation is in dire need of a health care system that fully addresses the medical needs and social supports for people struggling with or newly in recovery from addiction. Insurance companies typically impose higher co-payments, deductibles and more restrictive visit limits for mental health and substance use/addiction coverage then they do for other healthcare, resulting in tragic losses of life. Faces & Voices of Recovery’s Addiction Recovery Equity Campaign seeks to change those restrictive policies.
- Go to www.AddictionAction.org and check out the information there on town hall meetings and other events.
- Think about ways that you can use HBO’s Addiction to get the word out about long-term recovery in your community and build support for making a recovery-oriented system of care.
- Organize Town Hall meetings and other events throughout the year.
- Use this opportunity to get the word out about long-term recovery in the media. (See the information below “Spreading the Word.”)
Talking about HBO’s Addiction
HBO’s Addiction is an exciting opportunity for people in recovery, their families, friends and allies to let people know about the other side of addiction – long term recovery. Here’s some information that you can use to think about how to handle questions that may come your way as a result of the show. You can use the Q&As in talking with friends, employers, policymakers and the media. These Q&As are suggestions and include information about insurance discrimination, addressed in HBO’s Addiction. These Q&As aren’t the only points that you may want to make and they apply to people in recovery, their families, friends and allies.
Sample Questions and Answers for recovery advocates around the HBO show Addiction
Why are you promoting this HBO show?
- First, I am speaking out for those who have yet to get the help they need.
- The HBO show gives us a chance to start an overdue discussion of the possibilities that exist for people after addiction ends, namely long-term recovery.
- I am in long-term recovery which means I have not used alcohol (or other drugs) for (number) years. I want people to understand that those who are caught by addiction and their families can and do get better with treatment and recovery support services.
- Without access to treatment and recovery support services, however, we cannot expect people to get better.
- Long-term recovery is a reality
HBO is talking about addiction. How does that fit into your work?
- The HBO show portrays the reality of addiction and the hope of new pathways to recovery.
- I am here as an advocate for Faces & Voices of Recovery [or name of your organization or as a recovery advocate] to talk about what’s keeping too many of our friends and neighbors from achieving long-term recovery.
- Insurance discrimination, highlighted in the show, denies people with addiction the same insurance protection as people with other health issues.
- As a result of this discrimination, many are unable to get the treatment and recovery support services necessary to achieve long-term recovery.
- While there are many pathways to recovery, treatment and recovery support services should not be denied to those with addiction to drugs or alcohol.
- My hope is that individuals like those portrayed in the documentary will receive help to get better just like millions of Americans and realize the benefits of long-term recovery.
As a recovery advocate, what do you hope that people will take away from the HBO series?
- Addiction is an honest and eye-opening portrayal of people who are affected by addiction. I hope people will come away from the documentary asking the question “What’s the next step and how can we help people with addiction get the help they need?”
- The next step is long-term recovery. I am in long-term recovery which means I have not used alcohol (or other drugs) for (number) years. There are millions of other Americans just like me who have done the same.
- If you are a family member: The next step is long-term recovery. My [son/daughter/husband/wife] is in long-term recovery which means that he/she has not used alcohol (or other drugs) for x number years. There are millions of other Americans just like them who have done the same.
- Everyone has a stake in making sure that when someone needs treatment, help and support that they can get it.
This show raises a number of issues related to addiction and its treatment. How do you think we should solve these problems? Is one type of treatment better than another?
- Addiction and treatment are complicated issues and there are many pathways people can take to achieve long-term recovery.
- We must ensure that appropriate recovery support services and treatments are available to people who need them, when they need them.
- It is crucial, therefore, that we stop insurance discrimination, which denies people with addiction from getting the same protection as people with other health issues.
- I am living proof that people can recover from addiction and make a better life for themselves and their families, but I would not have been able to do it without help and support.
A partnership was formed between Faces & Voices of Recovery, Join Together and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) to take advantage of the show to bring greater publication attention to addiction and recovery. What is this project and is HBO paying for it?
- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is supporting these three organizations to develop grassroots activities surrounding the HBO show to stimulate greater public awareness of addiction and recovery.
- The partnering organizations have set up a web site at www.AddictionAction.org where citizens can find out about activities or organize their own activities surrounding the program.
- The project runs through Recovery Month – September 2007.
- Everyone has a stake in making sure that when someone needs recovery, help and support that they can get it.
How can I get involved in my community?
- Everyone at [name of organization] welcomes you to be part of our recovery community organization.
- At the national level, there’s a national organization, Faces & Voices of Recovery.
- Their web site is at www.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org where there’s a list of recovery community organizations around the country that you can become involved with.
- You can also go to www.AddictionAction.org for information about activities around the HBO show in your community.
Q: Tell me about Rally for Recovery!
A: On Saturday, September 15, 2007, in communities across the country, people in recovery, their family members and friends will join together and Rally for Recovery. There will be walks and recovery celebrations everywhere. Here in [City], we’ll have more than [number] participants. To find out if there’s a Rally for Recovery! near you, or to organize one in your community, go to the Faces & Voices of Recovery Web site at www.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org. Join us on September 15th!
Using HBO’s Addiction to Reach out to the Media
We encourage you to alert and involve the media in your activities. If you’re planning events a town hall meetings or other event, there are two good ways to reach out – a media advisory and a press release.
1. Media Advisory
A media advisory is an invitation for reporters to attend an upcoming event. It should be distributed to media outlets in your community like TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. Send it to them by e-mail and/or FAX a minimum of three days before your event is scheduled. You can ask that it be posted on what’s called the “Day Book,” where events that are happening on a particular day are listed. One important thing to remember is to follow up with a phone call.
2. Press Release
A press release is what you use to announce something that you believe will be worth covering in the news. This is the way that you engage the press in covering or reporting on your events. Often, reporters will write their stories based on the contents of the press release alone. Press releases should be distributed to media outlets in your community like TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. Try to send it to a particular reporter by e- mail and/or FAX. One important thing to remember is to follow up with a phone call.
How You Can Get Involved:
- Go to www.AddictionAction.org and check out the information there on town hall meetings and other events and house parties.
- Organize Town Hall meetings and other events throughout the year.
- Add a link on your web site to www.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org
- Email us for organizing help.
We’ll keep you updated on this exciting project over the coming months.