Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act went into effect at the beginning of the month. The new law means that for the first time, mental health and substance abuse services will be covered by insurance plans. 22 million Americans are addicted to alcohol or drugs but few know that treatment could be covered by health insurance. William Cope Moyers has advocated for the passage of the legislation for 15 years. He is the son of Bill Moyers, a former addict himself, and the Vice President of Hazelden, one of the world’s largest private non-profit alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers.
Then, Gabor Mate is a physician at North America’s only supervised injection site, the Portland Hotel in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. For many years, he’s been writing about very personal experiences working with the severely addicted. Through his work, Dr. Mate shows how our society creates and suffers from addiction on many levels, and also explains the neuroscience and brain chemistry of addiction. Dr. Mate is a proponent of very sane drug policy reforms, based on how addiction actually functions in the brain and what works: treatment, not criminalization. His book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction was a #1 best-seller in Canada, and it’s being released in the U.S. this week.