Recovery Advocacy circa 1989

March 8, 2021
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A friend recently shared a copy of the May/June 1989 issue of Professional Counselor Magazine. I thought you might find this portion interesting.

The field has been wrong about a lot and learned a lot, but it’s worth knowing that we were engaged in advocacy opposing the war on drugs in (and before) 1989, while incarceration rates were climbing but still a fraction of their peak.

In my travels, I keep meeting genuine heroes…. They come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and genders.

These people are the individuals and groups fighting the real “war on drugs” in America. No, these people don’t wear fatigues, they go into battle without guns, in fact, without any weapons but their expertise. They fight with their professional proficiency or their recovery or, in many cases, both. They fight in the real “trenches” of the “war on drugs”—recovery.

…Could it be that we’re losing one war on drugs after another because we are fighting with the wrong weapons? It seems that we need to reassess “supply-side” chemical dependency and look at the disease rather than the borders.

It all takes money and support, and until we focus on the source of the addiction, instead of the source of the substance, I’m afraid we’ll continue to lose one “war” after another.

As treatment professionals, we have to educate the government, our townspeople, and, maybe most importantly, the mass media. Our voices can be heard as individuals and organizations if we concentrate on the disease and help the public understand that we can never build a wall around America. Reveal the real “heroes” to the media and officials in your area and, most importantly, get involved!

Randy Bryson, RN, President, National Consortium of Chemical Dependency Nurses

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