Two Congressmen Talk Addiction With The Fix

In an exclusive interview, The Fix talks with the co-chairs of the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus about what the US is getting right and wrong.

It’s been said that addiction and recovery don’t get enough attention in Washington, DC—a result of the stigma attached to the disease, as well as the reluctance of some sober people to speak out about what they and their families have been through. And the latter is precisely what is needed to push forward a positive legislative agenda on addiction and recovery, according to Rep. Tim Ryan, Democrat of Ohio, who co-chairs the 62-member Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus alongside Rep. John Fleming, Republican of Louisiana, who is a physician.

Questions and Answers include:

  • Do you feel there’s a bipartisan consensus on what needs to be done with addiction treatment in America?
  • I’ve heard talk of the possibility of an Americans in Recovery Act bill. If such a piece of legislation were written, what sort of provisions do you think it should contain?
  • Do you feel individuals in recovery should be more open in order to break the stigma associated with their disease?
  • Do you think there’s any stigma on Capitol Hill about being associated with addicts or people in recovery?
  • Despite what either of you may feel about the Affordable Care Act as a whole, do you in general support requiring insurance companies to cover treatment for substance use disorders?
  • Does current US drug policy—including incarceration for possession, aggressively going after drug traffickers and spending lots of money to do that—contribute positively or negatively to addiction rates and the availability and efficacy of treatment?

Source: – May 3, 2013