Recovery Advocacy News, Issues, Must-Reads & Musings (April 2024)

Curation with occasional commentary by Jeremiah Gardner

Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
8 min readApr 25, 2024

NOTE: This was published for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s monthly Recovery Advocacy Update. If you’d like to receive our advocacy emails, subscribe today.

📕 READ: Despite steady gains over 75 years, there’s still a lot of societal stigma and pessimism about people who have substance use disorders, and whether health care can make a difference in helping people initiate recovery that can be sustained. While not all treatment is the same, the research is in on Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s comprehensive care, and there’s overwhelming cause for optimism.

The Foundation’s latest patient outcomes data, monitored and analyzed by the Butler Center for Research, demonstrate the sweeping impact of our treatment in real-life terms for families. Check out our new outcomes data analysis, which marks a first in our industry — a multiyear, comprehensive survey on patients during and after treatment with Hazelden Betty Ford.

📕 READ: The New York Times published an opinion piece with a provocative title: The Big Business of Denying Health Care.

📺 WATCH: As Alaska lawmakers consider parity legislation, our close friend John Solomon speaks to the ways stigma is institutionally baked into the behavioral health system: John Solomon: What They’re Watching.

📕 READ: Check out our further reflections on SAMHSA’s release of final “42 CFR Part 2” privacy rule changes — a milestone in the modernization of care for substance use disorder patients.

📕 READ: Mobilize Recovery is bringing back its bus for another cross-country tour to celebrate recovery and raise public awareness in 2024. Hazelden Betty Ford will be among the collaborative sponsors once again. Stay tuned for more and check out the announcement coverage by Variety: Melissa Etheridge and Danny Trejo Co-Chair Mobilize Recovery Bus Tour.

🚩 SIGN UP: We are excited that Hazelden Betty Ford’s William C. Moyers will be a guest speaker in the 2024 Life Beyond Addiction virtual conference, presented by Recovery 2.0 and our good friend and ambassador Tommy Rosen. The conference will take place online May 8–12 and is FREE to attend. Learn more and register!

🚩 TODAY: Hazelden Betty Ford Trustee Susan Ford Bales is speaking in Michigan as her mother, Betty Ford, is honored at the National First Ladies Conference.

🚩 THIS WEEKEND: Saturday, April 27, is National First Ladies Day — a great day to celebrate former First Lady and inspiring recovery advocate Betty Ford!

Check out this new U.S. Postal Service video about the Betty Ford Forever stamp.

📕 READ: The new Betty Ford Commemorative Forever Stamp got another special unveiling at the U.S. Postal Service’s first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony held in Rancho Mirage, California. Several Hazelden Betty Ford leaders and ambassadors spoke at the ceremony. The stamp is now available at post offices nationwide and online, where related merchandise can also be found. A framed stamp is also on display at Hazelden Betty Ford sites across the country — many hung on April 8, which would have been Mrs. Ford’s 106th birthday.

A framed Betty Ford stamp on display at Hazelden Betty Ford in Plymouth, MN.

📕 READ: Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy has written a new book: Profiles in Mental Health Courage.

🚩 STAY TUNED: The Faces & Voices of Recovery America Honors Recovery Gala Dinner will be held September 17 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. Tickets available soon at

(L to R) Jerry Moe, Susan Ford Bales and Dr. John Kelly.

📕 READ: Beloved and internationally renowned children’s counselor Jerry Moe delivered the 25th Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School commencement address on April 19. He was incredible, inspiring 44 new graduates and all in attendance. Dr. John Kelly, the illustrious recovery researcher from Harvard and member of our Graduate School’s Board of Governors, and Hazelden Betty Ford Trustee Susan Ford Bales also gave brilliant talks at Hazelden Betty Ford in related activities ahead of the commencement.

Susan Ford Bales and Dr. John Kelly spoke a day before commencement on the campus of Hazelden Betty Ford in Center City, Minn.

📕 READ: Congrats to the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School (my alma mater) for its recognition as “cutting edge” by International Association of Addictions and Offender Counselors.

(L to R) Andrew Williams, Neil Scott and John Curtiss

📕 READ: Congrats to our own Hazelden Betty Ford DEI Director Andrew Williams, our good friend Neil Scott from Recovery Coast to Coast, and former Hazelden colleague and founder of The Retreat, John Curtiss — all of whom are among the trailblazers honored with 2024 leadership awards by the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers.

Vietnam veteran Don Elverd took this photo of Lady Bird Johnson hosting wounded soldiers at the Lyndon Baines Johnson ranch in Texas in 1968.

📕 READ: Of all the interesting people I’ve been lucky to meet and get to know, one of the most interesting is Donald Elverd, longtime psychologist at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. He’s a legendary storyteller, warrior, survivor and healer — a good friend and fellow traveler who, every time I see him, seems to casually share chestnuts like the story he recently relayed about a lovely encounter with Lady Bird Johnson in 1968. It is skillfully captured here by Jennifer Taylor at East Wing Magazine, who adds incredible context, photos and perspective to the former First Lady’s healing words to Don after he returned from Vietnam badly injured.

📕 READ: With alcohol-related deaths on the rise, a Michigan State University Professor asks, “Why don’t we take alcohol addiction more seriously?

📕 READ: We’re seeing a backlash against drug decriminalization policies in states like Oregon and expanded harm reduction approaches in cities like San Francisco and Philadelphia. For example: Addiction Activists Say They’re ‘Reducing Harm’ in Philly. Locals Say They’re Causing It. We support decriminalization (not legalization but decriminalization) and also harm reduction as one part of a comprehensive societal approach to public health. At the same time, we empathize with the need for more means of intervention to help people, concerns about public safety, and the desire to NOT normalize drug use in the same way alcohol use has been normalized. Balance, wise middle-grounds, bridge-building, and day-by-day steps toward more radical long-term visions ought to be the goal in policy, lest we see the pendulum swing from one unsatisfactory extreme to another.

📺 WATCH: Hazelden Betty Ford’s own Carrie Bates joined KPTV Fox-12 in Portland’s “Show and Tell with Tony” to talk about her passion for helping others impacted by addiction. The segment begins with Carrie showing host Tony Martinez two of her three Olympic gold medals won as a teenager in 1984. With the 2024 Summer Olympic Games set to begin July 26 in Paris, Carrie looks forward to additional opportunities to lift up and advocate for recovery throughout this summer.

📕 READ: STAT’s Lev Facher has flipped “War on Drugs” terminology on its head in a new series entitled The War on Recovery. In part 1, he explores how and why methadone and buprenorphine are not more widely accessible, positing that the U.S. is sabotaging its best tools to prevent deaths in the opioid epidemic. I appreciate his reporting but hope he also brings a wider lens to the broader addiction crisis, the true gold standard of comprehensive bio-psycho-social-spiritual care and the reality of transformative recovery.

📕 READ: While many — including my Hazelden Betty Ford colleagues — were inside at the annual RxSummit in Atlanta, talking about overdose prevention, a couple of attendees were outside saving a life. As one advocate — my friend Shelly Weizman — said: “It truly takes a village, and this story showcases the critical importance of naloxone saturation, overdose prevention education, and what it looks like when we build bridges between law enforcement and public health.”

📕 READ: USA Today highlights that, in many cases, opioid settlement dollars are being used for existing programs and salaries, not new ones. More from the Washington Post.

📕 READ: Swap Funds or Add Services? Use of Opioid Settlement Cash Sparks Strong Disagreements. We agree with Robert Kent, former general counsel for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, who says: “To think that replacing what you’re already spending with settlement funds is going to make things better — it’s not. Certainly, the spirit of the settlements wasn’t to keep doing what you’re doing. It was to do more.”

Dr. Aaron Weiner talks with Stanford’s Dr. Molly Bowdring about non-alcoholic beverages and related topics.

📕 READ: A recent announcement by the Augustiner Bräu that it is brewing its first alcohol-free pale lager has left German beer purists seething with anger. The new product, known as Augustiner Alkoholfrei Hell (Light), is being viewed by some in southern Germany as yet another frontline in the culture wars.

📕 READ: Has the sober-curious movement reached an impasse?

📕 READ: Shohei Ohtani interpreter’s firing is a menacing sign: Sports’ gambling problem has arrived.

📕 READ: From the PEW Research Center — 9 facts about Americans and marijuana.

📕 READ: Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek’s wife says she is in recovery from alcoholism and lives with mental illness.

📕 READ: Hospitalizations for alcohol-related liver disease increased among middle-aged women during COVID-19.

📕 READ: Alcohol might also be bad for oral health.

📕 READ: New research looks into how blocking a neural receptor responsible for addiction could reduce alcohol use.

Jeremiah Gardner is director of communications and public affairs for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

Jeremiah Gardner



Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

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