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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The UNITE to Face Addiction Rally

Over the weekend thousands of people came together in Washington D.C. to bring attention to the disease of addiction with the hope of breaking the stigma of a problem that affects millions of Americans, The Washington Post reports. The rally, which took place in the National Mall, hosted government officials and celebrities.

The keynote speakers and performers included:
  • Michael Botticelli, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
  • Vivek H. Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General
  • Mehmet Oz. Performer, talk-show host and surgeon
  • Sheryl Crow
  • The Fray
  • Steven Tyler
  • Aloe Blacc
The organizers of the event hope to change the conversation about addiction, a disease that affects one in three households, according to the article. 85 million people nationwide are affected by addiction, being the most urgent health issue facing the country.

"That’s why we’re in Washington, D.C., because it is a national health-care crisis,” said Donald McFarland, Communications Director for the group that organized the rally, Facing Addiction. “The truth of the matter is, ‘just say no’ didn’t work and the war on drugs failed.”

Breaking the stigma of addiction is crucial if the nation is ever to bring the crisis under control. A former heroin addict who attended the rally said he has struggled to talk about addiction because of the stigma that accompanies the disease.

“Something people need to understand is you have morals, you know that it’s wrong — so to speak — and you’re helpless,” said Nico Doorn. “The approach of putting people in jail and showing celebrities who have thrown away their lives isn’t working.”

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