May 30, 2013
To our Honorable Legislators:
NC CANSO, the North Carolina Consumer Advocacy, Networking, and Support Organization, is a state-wide organization for people who personally live with mental illness or addiction but who seek to live more meaningfully, not controlled by illness but in control of their own personal wellness. In this regard, we have found that the settlement between our state and the U.S. Department of Justice to be consistent with our values of individual self-determination, a focus on recovery, the shaking off of the disability that sometimes systems actually create and worsen, and integration of people into their own communities so they can live a higher quality of life.
However, we feel that in order to achieve the aims of the settlement, we have to consider strategically what services must remain in place during a transitional period so that, when the infrastructure is fully in place, people can be helped into appropriate housing with the services necessary to let them live independently again. Unfortunately, we will not have immediate infrastructure to serve people as humanely and cost effectively as possible this year. For many, the only solution to the housing dilemma is the use of group homes for the time being.
We urge the legislature to ensure that there is housing with some level of supervision and support through group homes as we divert people coming out of the hospitals to smaller, less institutional settings than those our state has supported for so many years.
We thank you for your concern for the well-being of North Carolinians who have complicated lives because of mental illness. Our organization can attest to the fact that people can and do recover, and we look forward to helping our peers live more meaningfully through our support and advocacy at the community level. But we need your leadership to ensure their safety and shelter. Please do not take away funding for group homes at this time.
May 29, 2013
NC House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services
Honorable Subcommittee Member:
North Carolina Consumer Advocacy, Networking, and Support Organization is a state-wide advocacy organization comprised of people who have lived with mental illness and substance addiction. Many of us have had sustained periods of recovery and have dedicated our health and effort to making life better for our peers by promoting a focus on recovery and self-responsibility.
Because of this, we are opposed to the proposed closure of our substance abuse treatment centers and the potential of further decreasing substance abuse treatment funds in order to pay for treatment availability in community hospitals.
Historically, our state has not dedicated the resources to treatment for people with addiction or addiction occurring with mental illness that many other states have. We have stood on outdated and unsupported ideas about addiction, yet years of research identify the factors that result in addiction versus mere substance misuse. NC CANSO believes, then, that our state has a responsibility to ensure treatment access, quality, and accountability to North Carolinians with addiction problems.
Further, many individuals served in the ADACTS also have a mental health problem–often schizophrenia, bipolar mood disorder, or serious depression. According to statistics provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in Washington, 25.7 percent of all adults with serious mental illness have co-occurring substance dependence. That is 4 percent of all adults in our country. Yet some people have not had their mental health properly recognized or treated until they have gone to ADACT treatment because the addiction related problems are often recognized before the mental health problems.
Finally, people with addiction or addiction and mental illness have the highest levels of co-morbid chronic physical disease related to substances they have used and to lifestyle. Funds used for addiction treatment may yield tremendous savings later in an individual’s life as people recover and their lifestyles change.
We urge the legislature to continue funding of the ADACTS as they are as such intensive treatment cannot be had in community hospital settings. Further, we ask that this legislature not reduce any of the funds utilized for treating persons with addiction. Addiction is a serious and painful illness and it calls for courage and support to overcome it. We must not disregard the needs of North Carolinians who need addiction treatment.
Recovery Conference Planned Again for NOVEMBER! HOPE YOU”LL COME!
The Fifth Annual “One Community in Recovery” Conference is scheduled for mid-November. More details will be coming out. For the first time, the conference is moving from Winston-Salem to be in a more centralized place and a venue that requires less walking around to find things (the planning team listened to attendee feedback!). Last year’s conference was exciting, and this year’s will be more so since all the changes in our systems and communities mean more opportunities to promote recovery! SO START SAVING BACK SOME FUNDS SO YOU CAN ATTEND! There will be a limited number of scholarships, but better be safe than sorry!