Last week, hundreds of families impacted by addiction participated in the third annual APF Family Day and the Addiction Policy Forum Awards Dinner.APF Family Day started on Tuesday, April 24 with hundreds of families arriving in Washington, DC to advocate for comprehensive resources. APF Board Member Sue Thau led an advocacy training for APF Family Day participants to learn how to more effectively talk to their representatives about new legislation, including the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 (OCRA).
On Wednesday, April 25 families gathered on Capitol Hill to meet their representatives and advocate for comprehensive resources to address addiction.
Congressional meetings were followed by a Congressional staff briefing on innovations for a comprehensive response to addiction. The panel was made up of Dr. James Anderson, who discusses the FDA-approved injectable buprenorphine; Chris Wilkins of ACHESS; Dr. Brad Witte and Sarah Allen Benton of Aware Recovery Care; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett; and guest speaker Senator Rob Portman, who provided introductory remarks.
APF Family Day closed with the Addiction Policy Forum Awards Dinner, emceed by Kimberly Suiters, investigative reporter for ABC 7. Kimberly introduced APF president Jessica Hulsey Nickel, who shared how addiction has impacted her family and why it has been her life’s work to create a world where fewer lives are lost and help exists for the millions of Americans affected by addiction.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy accepted the Legislator of the Year award for spearheading a comprehensive way to address addiction. Representative McCarthy addressed the room and detailed why it’s critical to address addiction as a disease and eliminate the stigma surrounding this disease.
Pillar of Excellence award recipients include Amy RH Haskins (prevention), Chief of Police of Mundelein, IL Eric Guenther (law enforcement), Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett (criminal justice), Dr. Sharon Walsh (treatment), North Dakota First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum (recovery support) and Devin A. Reaves of PA Harm Reduction Coalition (overdose reversal).
Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of NIDA, received the Pillar of Excellence award for research, as she continues to be the leader of research on addiction. Dr. Volkow shared a story of how she met Jessica Hulsey Nickel and they teamed up to address addiction and change the way the world views this disease.
By coming together for the 2018 Addiction Policy Forum Family Day and Awards Dinner, we are one step closer to a world where fewer lives are lost to this disease. Together, we can solve this.
Check out photos from APF Family Day here.