recovery bill of rights

More and more Americans are battling substance abuse disorder. Consequently more and more Americans are entering into recovery. So it only makes sense that we as a people have a Recovery Bill of Rights.

There are two Recovery Bill of Rights options currently making the rounds. The latest comes from the Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery (OCAAR) and seems to take a more personal approach. The second springs from Faces and Voices of Recovery (FAVOR) and seems to speak more toward the community-at-large.

Nevertheless, both Recovery Bill of Rights have the same We the People approach as the U.S. Bill of Rights. And both staunchly advocate for the rights of every American who's battling substance use disorder. Since Recovery Boot Camp is also a staunch advocate of addiction treatment-seeking Americans, we thought we'd share the two with our world.

OCAAR's Recovery Bill of Rights

The Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery (OCAAR) stated Mission is "to advocate for those in and seeking recovery from a substance use disorder to ensure political, social, educational and economic equality." Furthermore, OCAAR is the go-to center for Ohio's Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs). In fact, the organization "runs and facilitates" Ohio's RCO Statewide network. Its purpose? To "promote skills development, address the needs of RCOs and peer support specialists and create a unified voice" for all concerned.

OCAAR believes every American seeking or in recovery must be guaranteed these basic rights:

1. We have the right to have our health insurance cover addiction treatment as it does other medical treatment

2. We have the right to recover close to home

3. We have the right to an ethical referral

4. We have the right to individualized care and informed consent

5. We have the right to quality, comprehensive, evidence-based treatment

6. We have the right to have our health information protected by 42 CFR Part 2

7. We have the right to ongoing recovery support services

8. We have the right to safe, standardized and affordable housing

9. We have the right to pursue secondary education alongside recovery supports

10. We have the right to meaningful employment

OCAAR basically wants to ensure equal treatment under the law for all chronic disorders, including of course substance use disorder. They also want to be sure that medication is not the only tool provided to treat such a multi-faceted disease.

FAVOR's Recovery Bill of Rights

Faces and Voices of Recovery is "dedicated to organizing and mobilizing" recovering Americans, as well as their families, friends and allies into Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs). Like OCAAR, FAVOR fights for the rights of treatment-seeking Americans. And like OCAAR, it uses advocacy, education and training to promote recovery.

FAVOR's Recovery Bill of Rights breaks down as follows:

1. We have the right to be viewed as capable of changing, growing and becoming positively connected to our community, no matter what we did in the past because of our addiction.

2. We have the right – as do our families and friends – to know about the many pathways to recovery, the nature of addiction and the barriers to long-term recovery, all conveyed in ways that we can understand.

3. We have the right, whether seeking recovery in the community, a physician’s office, treatment center, or while incarcerated, to set our own recovery goals, working with a personalized recovery plan that we have designed based on accurate and understandable information about our health status, including a comprehensive, holistic assessment.

4. We have the right to select services that build on our strengths, armed with full information about the experience, and credentials of the people providing services and the effectiveness of the services and programs from which we are seeking help.

5. We have the right to be served by organizations or health care and social service providers that view recovery positively, meet the highest public health and safety standards, provide rapid access to services, treat us respectfully, understand that our motivation is related to successfully accessing our strengths and will work with us and our families to find a pathway to recovery.

6. We have the right to be considered as more than a statistic, stereotype, risk score, diagnosis, label or pathology unit – free from the social stigma that characterizes us as weak or morally flawed. If we relapse and begin treatment again, we should be treated with dignity and respect that welcomes our continued efforts to achieve long-term recovery.

7. We have the right to a health care and social services system that recognizes the strengths and needs of people with addiction and coordinates its efforts to provide recovery-based care that honors and respects our cultural beliefs.

8. We have the right to be represented by informed policymakers who remove barriers to educational, housing and employment opportunities once we are no longer misusing alcohol or other drugs and are on the road to recovery.

9. We have the right to respectful, nondiscriminatory care from doctors and other health care providers and to receive services on the same basis as people do for any other chronic illness, with the same provisions, copayments, lifetime benefits and catastrophic coverage in insurance, self-funded/self-insured health plans, Medicare and HMO plans. The criteria of “proper” care should be exclusively between our health care providers and ourselves; it should reflect the severity, complexity and duration of our illness and provide a reasonable opportunity for recovery maintenance.

10. We have the right to treatment and recovery support in the criminal justice system and to regain our place and rights in society once we have served our sentence.

11. We have the right to speak out publicly about our recovery to let others know that long-term recovery from addiction is a reality.

FAVOR's Recovery Bill of Rights may number one more than their compatriots at OCAAR, but the gist is the same. Open and upfront access to addiction recovery. Period. We're especially stoked about FAVOR's insistence on dignity for those seeking addiction treatment after a relapse.

Applause for the Recovery Bill of Rights

We at Recovery Boot Camp would like to applaud the efforts of both the Ohio Citizens Advocates for Addiction Recovery and Faces and Voices of Recovery. We'd especially like to commend them on drafting such a comprehensive and compassionate set of Recovery Bill of Rights. Treatment-seekers are too often denied equal access under the laws of our land. They're also often poorly viewed in the eyes of Americans. And we're all for any- and everything these two organizations can do to advocate on behalf of treatment-seeking Americans.

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