On October 25, 2017, the Addiction Policy Forum released “Our Vision and Direction, 2018-2021.” This 8-point plan outlines our priorities for addressing addiction in the U.S. It was developed by experts in the field of addiction in close collaboration with families who have lost loved ones. It outlines eight strategic priorities that include practical tools, sound policies, and new collaborations that will empower and equip communities to better treat and prevent addiction and ultimately, save lives.

“More than 21 million individuals are suffering from addiction—we are losing a generation of Americans to this epidemic. It’s unacceptable and our country needs action,” said Jessica Hulsey Nickel, President and CEO of the Addiction Policy Forum. “Defeating this national crisis requires a new way of thinking. This comprehensive approach must serve as a clear pathway and call to action for policymakers, industry partners, healthcare stakeholders and community leaders.” 


The Addiction Policy Forum’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 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.

Our approach outlines key strategies and specific outcomes that are critical to delivering on each of the eight priorities. For example, in order to help families in crisis, the plan proposes the establishment of a national crisis hotline to connect patients and families to available treatment, recovery and prevention services in their community. It also recognizes the critical importance of advocating for increased federal funding for research on substance use disorders and recovery support programs.


“We have a unique and timely opportunity to turn the tide against substance use disorders that will have implications for our children and grandchildren,” said Gen. Barry McCaffrey, Advisory Board Chair for the Addiction Policy Forum and former Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Strategic, comprehensive and inclusive approaches end epidemics, and that’s exactly what this plan will accomplish.”


“When our daughter was struggling with addiction, we felt helpless and ultimately hopeless, and we didn’t know where to turn for support or information,” said Doug Griffin of Newton, New Hampshire, who lost his daughter, Courtney, in 2014. “It’s heartbreaking that families are experiencing the same pain and devastation. The plan announced today is an important and necessary step toward helping everyone in the U.S. touched by the addiction epidemic.”