White House Drug Policy Director Urges Support for Americans in Recovery from Addiction During the Holiday Season
Washington, DC – Today, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) voiced his support for the millions of Americans who are in recovery from addition to drugs and alcohol, noting that while holiday reunions bring the joys of companionship they can also create stress and tension for some people in recovery.
Holiday-related stress, combined with increased access to alcohol and other substances, can make the period from Thanksgiving through New Years a “Bermuda Triangle” for people struggling to maintain their sobriety. As a result, ONDCP is asking the families, friends, and employers of those in recovery to offer them support and encouragement during the holidays, and throughout the year.
“Our good wishes for others this holiday season should include the millions of Americans who are in recovery from addiction and living substance-free, healthy lives,” said ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske. “We can aid their journey to successful recovery by offering our support, encouragement, and understanding that the holidays can be a difficult time. And if you’re hosting a holiday party or a family dinner with someone in recovery, please support them in their efforts by making non-alcoholic beverages available.”
In 2009, an estimated 23.5 million people age 12 and older were in need of treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem. Of the millions of Americans who are in recovery, experts believe a substantial number are susceptible to relapse during the holiday period.
Director Kerlikowske offered the following resources for those seeking information on recovery or help for those who may need assistance with drug addiction or alcoholism:
- ONDCP has teamed with Epicurious.com to share recipes for non-alcoholic holiday drinks. Click here for some recipes for your holiday party or celebration.
- To locate drug and alcohol abuse treatment programs in your area, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) treatment locator.
- SAMHSA also offers a 24-hour toll-free treatment and referral helpline: 1-800-662-4357
- For parenting tips on how to prevent drug use before it starts visit TheAntiDrug.com
The Obama Administration is committed to restoring balance to U.S. drug control efforts by coordinating an unprecedented government-wide public health approach to reduce drug use and its consequences. This effort includes increasing funding for treatment programs by $137 million, placing a heavier emphasis on early intervention programs in healthcare settings, aligning criminal justice policies and public health systems to divert non-violent drug offenders into treatment instead of jail, funding scientific research on drug use, expanding access to substance abuse treatment and recovery support services.