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Lea Simms

Behavioral Health Policy and Practice Intern

National Council Hosts Addictions and Vocation Briefing on Capitol Hill

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On the heels of Hill Day, the National Council, on Tuesday, hosted a congressional staff briefing addressing the importance of offering employment services simultaneous to addiction treatment. The diverse panel represented nonprofit, public, and privately-funded treatment centers giving the packed audience of congressional staffers insight into how funding and recovery services can be replicated in their states. Using case studies and client stories, the speakers highlighted the stability that employment provides and the importance of holistic treatment for reintegration into the community.

Speakers for this briefing included: National Council members Bill Bailey, President and CEO, Cenikor Foundation, TX; Eric Schmidt, CEO New Roads Behavioral Health, UT; and Rachel Post, Public Policy Director, Central City Concern, OR; as well as two representatives from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): Karen Drexler, Acting National Mental Health Program Director for Addictive Disorders in Mental Health Services and Dr. Shana Bakken, National Director of the Therapeutic and Supported Employment Services.

Each speaker outlined the variety of services their organizations offer, ranging from workforce development to job placement assistance. The VA representatives addressed the significant employment barriers that veterans face and the ways that they are working to overcome them. All of the speakers emphasized the importance of helping patients maintain a “life worth living” through housing, vocational and recovery support.

“Everyone who has the opportunity for stability can have the opportunity for success,” said Rachel Post during her presentation.

The briefing was supported by the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus under the leadership of Representatives John Fleming (R-LA) and Tim Ryan (D-OH). For more information on this briefing, check out the social media activity. Have questions about addictions? Check out the National Council website here.