Task Force Offers Addiction Resources Toolkit To Families Impacted By Opiate Epidemic

By John Lavitt 05/20/16

The online toolkit, compiled by a bipartisan task force, features links for prevention, treatment, recovery and an online course for medicine safety.  

Task Force Offers Addiction Resources Toolkit To Families Impacted By Opiate Epidemic
Reps. Guinta and Kuster, leading members of the Bipartisan Task Force Photo via Kuster

Last week, members of Congress released a new opioid addiction toolkit, which provides a comprehensive online resource for families and individuals impacted by addiction. The Addiction Community Resources Toolkit was put together by the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, formed in October by U.S. Representatives Frank Guinta and Annie Kuster, both of New Hampshire. According to the Lebanon Voice, the task force so far includes over 80 members of Congress.

Many people in trouble lack access to effective addiction treatment, whether they aren't aware of proper resources or are limited by other means, like finances. In 2014, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), only 11% of the approximately 23.5 million Americans who needed substance abuse treatment received it. "So many of our families have been affected by the heroin epidemic but don't know where to turn for assistance," said Guinta.

The resources provided in the toolkit include information on prevention, treatment, and recovery. Prevention resources include a free online course on Medicine Safety: Drug Disposal and Storage and parenting guides. Those seeking treatment can access the Behavioral Treatment Services Locator and information on medication-assisted treatment. The recovery section provides tools to help find local 12-step groups and recovery-oriented organizations like Young People in Recovery. 

Many other leading national and community organizations contributed to this comprehensive set of resources, including the Addiction Policy Forum, the Community Anti-Drug Coalition, Faces & Voices of Recovery, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). 

The toolkit is already available on the individual websites of some members of Congress, like Guinta, whose office staff is also equipped to provide guidance for constituents seeking addiction help. "My staff is able to provide them the information they need about prevention, treatment, and recovery options," said Guinta.

At a press conference held Thursday in the nation's capital, both Guinta and Kuster, and Senator Rob Portman—lead sponsor of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA)—joined over 129 families who lost loved ones to drug overdoses. The families, who were in Washington to urge lawmakers to pass legislation to alleviate the opioid epidemic (like CARA), represent the 129 people who die from fatal overdoses everyday in the U.S. 

If you need help, here is a direct link to the Addiction Community Resources Toolkit.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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