Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act National Call-In Day December 9, 2015

Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act National Call-In Day December 9, 2015

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2015 is the most expansive federal, bipartisan legislation to date for addiction support services, designating between $40 million and $80 million toward advancing treatment and recovery support services in state and local communities across the country, which will help save the lives of countless people.

CARA needs your support as it moves forward through the legislative process! Get into action and contact your Senator and Representative today and urge them to co-sponsor and support CARA!

In the Senate, CARA (S. 524) has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Currently, 20 Senators (13 Democrats, 6 Republicans, 1 Independent) have signed on as co-sponsors of S. 524.  Click this link to see if your Senator is a co-sponsor!

In the House, CARA (H.R. 953) is sitting in three Committees. Currently, the bill now has 64 cosponsors (45 Democrats, 19 Republicans). Click this link to find our if your Representative is a co-sponsor!

Educate yourself about CARA and the legislative process! Watch our informational webinars on CARA by clicking here.


1. Find out if your Members of Congress have co-sponsored CARA HERE

2. If they have, send them an email thanking them for their support. Personalize it to tell them why it is important to you in your hometown and state.

3. If they haven’t, call their office in Washington DC and speak to their legislative staffer.  Tell them why it is important to you in your hometown, state, or organization. Be brief and to the point.

Here is what filmmaker, Sheila Ganz, has to say about her experience at the UNITE to Face Addiction Rally and Advocacy Day October 4th and 5th in Washington, DC.

When I heard about the UNITE to Face Addiction Rally, I instantly knew I had to be there.         I was excited to be part of a national grassroots movement to Smash the Stigma and show that Treatment Works.  That was my goal for the documentary On Life’s Terms: Mothers in Recovery.

This film comes out of my experience of having no choice, but to relinquish my newborn daughter for adoption.  In 1969, I was in a home for unwed mothers.  I always wondered, “Why can’t there be homes to help mothers keep their children?”

I became pregnant as the result of rape.  Now, I consider myself a survivor.  But for many years, I grieved in secret, shame, guilt and the black hole of despair.  I lived for the day when I would find my daughter and tell her that I love her.

Nineteen years later, I was inspired to make the documentary Unlocking the Heart of Adoption about the lifelong process of adoption for adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents in same race and transracial adoption.  And then, I found my daughter.  All of this contributed to my healing process.  And to making a documentary about mothers struggling with domestic violence, prostitution, incarceration and complex inter-generational relations.  The film follows the women on their journey to recovery motivated by the desire for custody of their children.

The day of the Rally began with a Breakfast hosted by Hazelden Betty Ford.  The excitement in the room was electric.  The speakers were inspiring.  They recalled their nearly devastating experiences with drug and alcohol use, being prison and what it took for them to get into and stay in recovery.  Now, they help others to do the same.

Leaving the hotel, I met a few women and we headed to the Washington Mall.  The bus wasn’t leaving right away, so we told the driver where we were going.  It turned out she’s a mom in long-term recovery.  We had fun taking selfies.

As people poured into the Mall, it was standing room only.  I met up with folks from the San Francisco Bay Area.  Lisa Frederiksen,, Daniel Dadoun, Executive Director, Addiction Education Society and Diana, a mother who tragically lost two sons to overdose.  We cheered when folks told their stories, sang songs and celebrated Standing Up for Recovery.

On Monday, we gathered with others from California and met with staffers for Senators Feinstein and Boxer, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Jackie Speier.  We were there to ask that they co-sponsor the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act and The Redeem Act and sign the letter to strengthen Parity for insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorders equal to physical health issues.

We went around the table introducing ourselves.  The staffers were attentive.  There were folks in long-term recovery, those who work with community and county agencies to help individuals through the recovery process, and parents who have suffered the tragic loss of their child to a drug overdose.  I spoke about the importance of gender responsive treatment programs and the need for more funding, which is addressed in CARA.

There are less than 150 gender responsive residential treatments in the country that will take a pregnant or post-partum woman if she is using illegal substances, and wants to get into a treatment program and have her young children with her.  I gave the staffers the DVD and Press Release about the film’s launch on public television.

Two days later, Senator Feinstein signed the Parity letter and then both Senator Boxer and Congresswoman Speier signed the letter!

On Life’s Terms: Mothers in Recovery follows five women with substance use disorders struggling to transform their lives and regain custody of their children in a gender responsive residential treatment program in San Rafael, CA.  This evidenced-based solution to a difficult situation provides moms with a supportive environment where they learn recovery and parenting skills, and start on the path to self-sufficiency.  The film interweaves the women’s three year journey to recovery, self-sufficiency and pride with drug laws that impact mother and child, and will inspire hope for recovery.

For a mother with substance use and possibly co-occurring disorders, losing her child to the foster care system can send her on a downward spiral.  The negative impact of foster care on youth is well documented, though many overcome the odds.  All of this can be avoided.

In the film Julia says, “If I don’t clean up.  Take care of my son the way he needs to be taken care of, he’s going to go through the same thing I did.  I don’t want my child to be in rehab one day, sitting here wondering why his mommy didn’t love him.”

Instead of shame and punitive laws, pregnant and parenting women with substance use disorders need gender responsive treatment programs, where they can express their feelings and deal with traumatic experiences in a safe environment that includes support, treatment for co-occurring disorders, addresses health issues, and learn recovery, parenting and life skills that lead to self-sufficiency, while having their children with them.

It’s time to fund more of these vital programs.  Help the mother.  Help the child.  For more information and to make a tax deductible donation for national outreach for the fuilm: