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A&E Network Helps Launch National Recovery Month
President Obama's National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske, Acting Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Eric Broderick, and H. Westley Clark, Director, SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment joined with Bob DeBitetto, President and General Manager, A&E Network and BIO Channel and the 2009 A&E Recovery Delegates at the National Press Club to launch National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month).
On the heels of the release of SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Federal officials emphasized the key role quality treatment must play in National Drug Control Strategy and highlighted the importance of collaborations with private entities like A&E's Recovery Project in breaking down barriers to treatment and educating the public that addiction is a treatable disease.
"More and more, organizations like A&E are using their power to educate and influence audiences through the accurate depiction of substance abuse and mental illness in their work, said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Eric Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H. "Getting the message right is critical because people take action based on what they see and hear. Research shows, that nearly two-thirds of regular viewers report learning something new about health from TV shows and one-third of viewers take action on what they learn. The profound impact that entertainment media have on health knowledge and behavior is clear."
Director Kerlikowske highlighted the importance of raising awareness about the nature of addiction as a treatable disease. "When I served a police chief, I saw up-close the terrible impact drugs have on individuals, families, and communities. The first step in breaking the cycle of addiction is acknowledging that it's a treatable disease," said Director Kerlikowske. "Efforts to change public perception create an environment which encourages people with addiction to seek help, and empower friends and loved one to support the ongoing process of recovery."
Inspired by the incredible public response to its Emmy-nominated documentary series "Intervention," A&E Network created The Recovery Project to shed light on the scope of America's addiction crisis and its impact on society. As part of The Recovery Project, each year A&E and its partners in the substance abuse treatment community select one delegate from each state and the District of Columbia who have been in recovery for at least 10 years and are active in the promotion of prevention and treatment services in their communities. The fifty-one Recovery Delegates will represent their states at the A&E Recovery Rally on September 12 in New York City, where more than 10,000 people will gather to form a human bridge of recovery on the Brooklyn Bridge.
"The incredible response we have received from the stories we tell on 'Intervention' have put national awareness of this disease front and center - however we knew there was more that can be done to help put a face on addiction and remove the stigma that prevents so many people from recognizing their disease and getting help. The Recovery Project is our effort to help do just that. We're honored to be part of this historic occasion and thankful that the current administration is actively behind a national drug policy centered on prevention and treatment," said Bob DeBitetto, President and General Manager of A&E Network and BIO Channel.
Delegates from A&E's Recovery Project representing every region of the country participated in today's inaugural Recovery Town Hall Meeting, sharing their personal stories of struggles with addiction and ultimate recovery through treatment and community support.