Over the past year, Bellwood Health Services and Edgewood Health Network continued to grow, offering Canadians even greater access to high-quality addiction treatment programs and services, and hope for long-term recovery. Increased treatment options and availability are essential to helping individuals, families, and society as a whole heal and experience new and healthy lives.
Another critical part of the recovery movement involves the tireless advocacy and contributions of countless individuals and organizations determined to shatter the myths and eliminate the stigma associated with addiction. Many groups and people have stepped forward and made their mark across the globe in the movement to eliminate stigma, offering their knowledge on how to effectively help people recover from addiction. Educating the masses was ultimately the main goal for all these people and groups. Whether a celebrity, healthcare professional, or person in recovery, each of these individuals shared their stories and made many people stop and rethink addiction.
The following people helped transform the way we viewed addiction and recovery in 2015:
- Johann Hari: A British journalist who spent three years researching the war on drugs and discovered that addiction is not what we think it is. In his mind-blowing TED presentation, Hari states that the opposite of addiction is connection. Hari believes Western society needs to radically change the way it treats people suffering with an addiction, from both a societal and individual perspective.
- Russell Brand: A British actor known for his dark comedy and personal battle with addiction. In 2014, he urged the United Nations and the British government to change prohibitive drug laws and start treating addiction as a mental illness. He believes that people don’t understand addiction and this lack of knowledge is “exacerbated by the laws that criminalize drug addicts.” His mission to inform people and governments about addiction recovery continues through his community initiatives which aim to provide people in recovery with the support needed to transform their lives.
- William White: Has written numerous books and presented at several talks about addiction treatment throughout history. He continues to educate the next generation of front line workers and recovery advocates through talks, blogs and research. White reminds us that there are several ways for people to support the addiction recovery movement, and challenges society to acknowledge addiction as a chronic health issue.
- Patrick Kennedy: In October of 2015, the son of Senator Ted Kennedy disclosed to the world that his family has been struggling with alcoholism for many years. He believes that the silence that comes with hiding an addiction in the family is a result of government policies criminalizing addicts, and is leading a political movement to treat addiction as a disease, not a moral issue.
- Faces & Voices of Recovery of Canada: This group is dedicated to helping community recovery organizations and celebrating recovery across Canada. Through their training and public education campaigns, they are teaching Canadians how to change the way we speak about addiction and recovery. This past year marked Canada’s largest Recovery Day celebration to date, an initiative launched by Faces & Voices of Recovery Canada to help break the silence and make people and families aware that recovery is possible.