Bill to expand support for community addiction treatment passes House

A bill that would establish a $25 million fund to support organizations specializing in addiction treatment and support for family members of those suffering from addiction is heading to the Senate after passing the House last week.

The Family Support Services for Addiction Act, introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers including Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandMeeting Trump Supreme Court pick a bridge too far for some Democrats Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election Sunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election MORE (D-N.Y.) and Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoHillicon Valley: Senate panel votes to subpoena Big Tech executives | Amazon says over 19,000 workers tested positive for COVID-19 | Democrats demand DHS release report warning of election interference GOP senators call on Trump to oppose nationalizing 5G Congress must finish work on popular conservation bill before time runs out MORE (R-WV) in the Senate as well as Reps. David TroneDavid John TroneUS Chamber of Commerce set to endorse 23 House freshman Democrats Preventing the opioid epidemic from getting worse requires attacking it at the source Bicameral group of Democrats introduces bill to protect immigrant laborers MORE (D-Md.) and Dan MeuserDaniel (Dan) MeuserMORE (R-Pa.) in the House, passed the lower chamber via voice vote on Thursday.

Under the bill, local and national groups under a wide umbrella of addiction-related services would be allowed to apply for grants under a fund established to provide $25 million in grants over half a decade. Applicable groups include addiction support groups for both those with addictions and their families, education and training organizations, as well as “systems navigation” services which help families find addiction treatment centers.

“Addressing the addiction crisis in our state requires supporting families who are impacted by the crisis every day. Families are often quickly thrown into a world of addiction and substance use disorder that they know little about, without the resources they need to support their loved ones,” Gillibrand said in a news release in February.

“This key step will support people living with substance use disorder and will encourage their recovery,” she added.

Rates of addiction and substance misuse have risen across the U.S. amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has forced millions out of work and deepened economic woes for many Americans. A survey earlier this year by the Addiction Policy Forum found that 20 percent of Americans reported themselves or a family member increasing their use of recreational drugs or alcohol since the pandemic began.

A separate study last year before COVID-19 reached the U.S. found that nearly half of U.S. adults knew a family member with substance abuse issues.

The lawmakers’ bill is supported by a number of national and local groups focused on battling stigmas around addiction treatment, including the Center on Addiction and Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, which operates Drugfree.org.

One supporter of the bill pointed to the expansion of family support services as a key step in battling the

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Local foundation dedicates memorial garden commemorating victims of addiction | Richmond Local News

Jill Cichowicz lost her twin brother, Scott Zebrowski, to an overdose in 2017. Cichowicz visited Zebrowski’s brick in the garden Saturday along with 11 family members, including her mother, Linda, and two young sons.

Linda said one of the last things her son told her before he died was that if something happened to him, he didn’t want his family to be ashamed to tell his story. Cichowicz helps run A Night For Scott, an annual local fundraiser for the Scott Zebrowski Scholarship Fund.

“We’ve cried every day, but we hope we can save somebody else’s life by telling Scott’s story,” Cichowicz said.

Dan Schneider has made it his life’s mission to save other people’s lives by sharing his son’s story in Netflix’s “The Pharmacist,” a documentary series detailing how Schneider has used his grief to help others heal.

Schneider’s son, Danny Jr., was fatally shot at the age of 22 while trying to buy crack in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward in April 1999. Schneider came to McShin’s event to speak, share his story and see a brick in the garden bearing his son’s name.

“I get a chance when I travel to tell my story, and if I can save a life in the process, it’s well worth it. [Addiction] is still horrible, and it isn’t getting better. This is a camaraderie of people who have lost their kids,” said Schneider, gesturing around him to the people milling about the garden, some smiling, some crying and hugging over bricks commemorating their lost loved ones.

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Memorial garden dedicated to victims of addiction

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — More than 200 people have helped dedicate a new memorial garden in Virginia to commemorate loved ones lost to addiction.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the dedication on Saturday was part of Recovery Fest, an event put on by the McShin Foundation to celebrate National Recovery Month.

Many people who attended wore T-shirts that read, “Make Recovery the Epidemic.”


Virginia is on pace to exceed the 1,626 overdose deaths recorded last year. In the Richmond area, emergency calls for non-alcohol-related overdoses are up nearly 65% in the first half of 2020.

The event, which in other years might draw closer to 1,000 attendees, was limited to 250 this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

People played cornhole, listened to speakers, grilled burgers and walked around to tents, including one that housed an opioid overdose treatment clinic.



John Shinholser, president of the McShin Foundation, said the event and garden are intended to serve as communal spaces for grieving and processing among people who have lost loved ones and experienced similar trauma at the hands of addiction.

“It’s so important for people to realize that recovery is abundant, it’s out there,” Shinholser said.

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