Our Ideology

Vision:

To reduce the number of people who develop substance use disorders (SUDs), to live in a world in which a person with substance use disorder can readily obtain effective treatment, and to examine the underlying causes and effects of the disease without prejudice or judgement.

Mission:

To reduce the stigma associated with substance use disorders; to raise awareness within our society of the risks, triggers and realities of the disease; to advocate for policies that will affect change in our treatment of persons with substance use disorders; to create and implement programs that will have a profound impact on the epidemic.

Strategic Areas of Focus

Educate

  • the public about SUDs, primarily heroin/opioid addiction.
  • those affected by SUDs of their rights.
  • loved ones of those affected by SUDs about the elements, causes and effects of the disease.
  • medical and judicial professionals on how to treat persons with SUDs.
  • medical professionals how to prescribe responsibly.

Advocate

  • for SUD treatment for incarcerated individuals.
  • for studies of new prevention and treatment models.
  • for policies that support fair treatment of persons with mental illness and SUD.
  • for funding in support of studies, public education, prevention, awareness, harm reduction, treatment and recovery support.
  • for wider use of naloxone.
  • for creation and implementation of programs that match our core values.
  • for harm reduction education and methods.

Take Action

  • to change our justice system to recognize the signs of SUD and to direct persons affected to treatment rather than incarceration.
  • to bring current inequalities in treatment to light.
  • to expose challenges in obtaining treatment.
  • to reduce the stigma associated with SUDs.

Core Values:

  • Mental illness and SUD are conditions that can cause or lead to death, and deserve the same level of medical response as other life threatening medical conditions.
  • Opioid addiction and heroin addiction are different from other addiction diseases.
  • All treatment modalities are equally acceptable if they help a person live without the heroin/opiates that damage health and quality of life.
  • SUD often causes a person’s brain to ‘not want to get well’, and therefore it is not reasonable to expect a person to ‘want treatment badly enough.’
  • SUD harms a person’s judgment and motivation which may impact his/her ability to follow through on prescribed methods of treatment.
  • SUD is a treatable but potentially chronic condition that requires long term treatment and support.
  • Although faith may be an important part of recovery for some individuals, religious or ‘higher power’ programs should not be a required form of treatment.
  • A person should not be required to abstain from all substances to obtain treatment for heroin/opioid addiction.
  • SUDs are not an indication of a moral failing and should not be criminalized.
  • Persons with SUDs may require long term treatment, solutions, accommodations and require special attention by medical practitioners in addressing other medical issues.
  • All medical professionals should be aware of treatment options so that they can appropriately advise their patients with SUD.
  • Opiates hold the most direct link to heroin addiction.
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