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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — When the Republicans’ first effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act collapsed earlier this spring, Mary Aldred-Crouch, an addiction counselor here, saw that failure as a victory. “It was Snoopy dance time,” she said.

But the Republicans didn’t give up. And when the House passed a more conservative version of the GOP health plan last week, Aldred-Crouch felt her anxiety spike. West Virginia, like other states afflicted by the opioid crisis, lately has seen so many more patients with drug addiction find treatment.

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  • The vast majority of addiction rehab facilities in the US are sleep-away delivery systems for 12 step ideology. Not only are these facilities modeled on the 12 steps, using 12 steps literature (often banning any other reading material), but they tell their recently-graduated customers to go to the 12 step meetings near their homes upon release.

    The Mental Health Parity Act of 2009 requires health insurers to provide coverage comparable to medical care for sleep-away rehab.

    If people want to pay for 12 step summer camp, that’s one thing, but forcing insurers to pay for people to be given room & board, and a place to sit around convincing each other how “powerless” they are over alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, shopping, being the grandchild of people who drank, whatever, seems a good recipe for driving up insurance premiums for the insured who are not so “powerless.”

    And I have to ask, if the 12 steps are so great, why are the multiple, free meetings available in every part of this country not enough to cover the needs of those who want to participate in this religion (and it has been found by 3 circuit court decisions to be a religion that cannot be forced upon inmates)? Why do we also need these facilities, and on top of that, multiple federal agencies centered on the addiction/recovery sin-and-redemption narrative of the 12 steps? And on top of that, we have dozens of federal and state agencies centered on using the full weight of federal and state governments, including incarceration, disrupting education and career paths, civil forfeiture of all possessions, and pressuring families to enact “tough love” ostracizing, in service of the war on drugs/prohibition – not to mention the government convincing Hollywood to put 12 steps messages & storylines into TV shows & movies.

    And after all this federal effort and spending $51 billion/year, the feds are doing everything they can to convince the public we are in the midst of an opioid epidemic.

    It’s almost like an unwinnable drug war is somehow useful.

  • All of those folks that call patients with health care problems drug addicts are involved with black market manufacture, sales and distribution of street drugs. All drugs should be over the counter, and available with out a prescription at any and all drug stores. Our Senators, Congressmen, Mayors, Governors, city council, and Police are all involved in the million dollar per week paycheck from having drug illegal. That is why legislation is there to call patients CRIMINALS (DRUG ADDICTS) and Legislation to MAKE DRUGS illegal, why, so that patients with health care issues have to go to street drugs to keep working and to stay alive. And so the rich can make more money in black market sales, to the tune of millions of dollars per city per week. All in the hands of our leaders and authorities.
    STOP DRINKING THE KOOL-AIDE, why does a congressman go into congress and become a millionaire in 2years.??? Black market sales. Legalize all drugs and the problem will be solved.

    • Fran, You’re so right. The feds are putting out these numbers about opiate/opioid deaths increasing. If they really wanted to reduce the numbers of deaths, we’d do what Portugal did in 2001 and end prohibition. The feds and the drug warriors (like the 12 steppers) are using these deaths in a cynical fashion to scare the public into going along with depriving law-abiding pain patients of opioid meds they need to work, keep house, care for family and just generally participate in their communities, instead of being stuck in bed or killing themselves.

      Pain patients are being depicted as whiny cowards and/or addicted criminals pretending to have health problems to get their hands on illicit drugs. It’s disgusting.

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