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Becky Vaughn

Vice President, Addictions, the National Council for Behavioral Health

What does a rally achieve?

October 2, 2015 | Addictions | Comments
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Millions of people who face addiction in the United States each day still do not have access to robust prevention, treatment and recovery supports. I’m excited to join in with the thousands of people on the National Mall on October 4 for the UNITE to Face Addiction rally – because we cannot continue to operate business as usual, we cannot continue to do more with increasingly less and we must stop the rapid increase in overdose deaths.

How will getting together in Washington support this cause, and what purpose does a rally achieve?
  • It builds attention. If nothing else, rallies create awareness of a central issue – from the celebrities who sign onto the cause (the UNITE rally has a growing list of prominent participants including Steven Tyler, Joe Walsh, Sheryl Crow and Dr. Oz) to the thousands of attendees who share their participation on social media and the event’s media coverage – a rally gets its core message shared with millions of Americans. We all take part in ending the silence. Dr. Oz featured songwriter and music director Kasim Sulton on a recent episode of his show to share a song developed for the rally and bring attention to the issue. Watch it here: 
  • It builds understanding. The rally translates what we work to achieve every day into a relatable issue for everyone to understand. A rally includes hearing the stories individuals share about their experience and why changes could help people like them – whether it is improved treatment approaches or recognizing the supports that could have prevented an addiction in the first place.
  • It reminds us that we’re not alone. Together, we show that this is not an isolated issue but a nationwide problem. It provides individuals with addictions numerous opportunities to see the strength and hope of people in recovery – people who took the step to get the help they needed and how it improved their lives. Nearly 700 organizations – national advocacy groups, local service providers and community recovery groups from every state – will take part in the UNITE to Face Addiction rally.
  • It creates energy. Sometimes we can get caught up in the day-to-day of our work or our own recovery that it becomes routine, and we forget the importance of the work we do or why we should ensure that others get access to the same care we had. Events such as rallies help to reenergize us and can spark energy in others to take up the cause and recognize why it is relevant to them. This video about the rally has me energized already:
  • That energy translates to change. Energy, paired with concrete calls to action for policymakers, turns into real change. In the two days following the rally, hundreds of advocates will meet with members of Congress to ask for their support on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 – which will expand prevention, education and treatment efforts nationwide – and to approve a number of appropriations related to supporting comprehensive prevention, treatment and recovery programs in all communities.

We cannot only address this community by community – everyone facing addiction in every community in the U.S. deserves to have access to the latest evidence-based treatment services and supports.

We can only achieve change with a strong, collective voice. We need YOU to be one of the voices that is ending the silence and speaking up about needed changes.

Here are 3 ways you can help:
  1. Participate in the rally. If you can’t make it to Washington in person, then you can join in via a live stream of the event – which will be available here.
  2. Let people know about the rally. Share the livestream information with people you know. Post your photos, moments that inspired you and other messages about the event on your social media channels using the #UNITEtoFaceAddiction hashtag and follow @FaceAddiction (and @NationalCouncil, of course).
  3. Tell your members of Congress why their support of addiction legislation is important to you. If you will be in Washington, you can still sign up to attend the National Council’s Hill Day October 5-6. If you won’t be there, you can still use the Hill Day asks and information to guide your contact with your Senators and Representative.