Addiction Policy Forum Launches Washington Chapter to Help Families Impacted by the Opioid Crisis

May 14, 2018 | Addiction Policy Forum
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Addiction Policy Forum Launches Washington Chapter to Help Families Impacted by the Opioid Crisis
State chair Lyn Anderson, who lost her son to addiction, will spearhead statewide efforts 

Vancouver, WA– Today, the Addiction Policy Forum announced the launch of its Washington chapter, led by state chair Lyn Anderson, Vancouver, WA The chapter will focus on helping families in crisis and expanding prevention, treatment and recovery across the state of Washington.

More than 21 million Americans are suffering from addiction. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 174 lives were lost daily to drug overdose in 2016—the equivalent of a plane crash every day. Washington has been hit hard by this epidemic. In 2016, the state saw more than 700 deaths from drug overdoses, and opioids accounted for 64 percent of those fatalities.

“Leaders and families in Washington have done a tremendous amount of work to address addiction in communities throughout the state, and we applaud their efforts,” said Jessica Hulsey Nickel, president and chief executive officer of the Addiction Policy Forum. “Earlier this year, we learned that 63,600 people died of a drug overdose nationwide in 2016. It is clear more services, treatment and support are needed to help those struggling with substance use disorder. We look forward to working with a broad group of stakeholders to stem the tide of addiction in Washington.”

APF understands the need to provide families throughout the country with better resources as well as to help communities develop and implement targeted solutions to address the impact of substance use disorder. The Washington chapter will work on education, prevention, treatment, recovery, overdose reversal and criminal justice issues to ensure the full spectrum of solutions is being deployed. The chapter will engage a wide range of stakeholders to create specific action plans, initiate new collaborations and deploy additional localized resources for the direct benefit of all Washingtonians.

These efforts will be led by APF’s Washington state chair, Lyn Anderson who resides in Vancouver. Lyn lost her son, Ryan, to a heroin overdose which led to her advocacy for mental health and substance use disorder. Due to the stigma and lack of resources for families in her community she set out on a mission to learn as much as she could to help others who may find themselves facing a similar situation with a loved one. Lyn’s journey has included becoming an admin for an online grief group for parents and grandparents who have lost a child to SUD and she found that many of their stories of isolation and lack of resources for their families is a too common occurrence.

“I felt isolated when my son was struggling with substance use disorder and I don’t want other families to feel that way,” says Lyn Anderson. “My mission is to ensure families have the needed resources to help their loved one, that’s why I’m happy to lead the Addiction Policy Forum Washington State Chapter and be a point of contact for residents.”

APF’s eight strategic priorities include:

  • Help Families in Crisis: Provide new, effective resources and support for patients and families in crisis.

  • Expand Treatment Access and Integration into Healthcare: Through partnerships and research, develop resources, protocols and tools for physicians, healthcare systems and the workforce to integrate treatment of substance use disorders into healthcare.

  • Drive Discovery: Invest in research on how to treat, prevent and cure addiction and its related disorders.

  • Expand Recovery Support: Properly prioritize and secure resources for the recovery support programs that individuals need in their communities.

  • Prevention: Increase funding for and the number of prevention programs in Washington and nationwide.

  • Protect Children Impacted by Parental Substance Use Disorder: Expand resources to support children who have a family member with a substance use disorder.

  • Reframe the Criminal Justice System: Partner with key stakeholders to re-envision how the criminal justice system responds to addiction.

  • Advocate and Educate: Intensify the urgency around addiction and mobilize bold action through advocacy and engagement.

About Addiction Policy Forum
The Addiction Policy Forum is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 2015 as a diverse partnership of organizations, policymakers, and stakeholders committed to working together to elevate awareness around addiction, and to improve programs and policy through a comprehensive response that includes prevention, treatment, recovery, and criminal justice reform. Jessica Hulsey Nickel, whose own family was devastated by addiction, is the founder of a coalition of 1,700 families impacted by substance use disorders and is available for further explanation and interviews by media.
More information on our mission and projects is available at  


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