CALL TO ACTION:
NOT ONE FAMILY PEER SUPPORT ADVOCATE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN MARYLAND TREATMENT REGULATIONS WORKGROUP! WHY ARE WE NOT REPRESENTED AT THE POLICY TABLE?
There are currently eight regulations for the delivery of substance abuse treatment services compared to thirty for the delivery of mental health treatment. Theoretically, if Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is now recognized as the neurologically-based mental health disorder that science has proven it to be, then individuals struggling with SUD should get the same protections and receive the same quality of care that Maryland currently affords to individuals struggling with all other mental health disorders. Unfortunately, this is currently not the case.
A stakeholder workgroup was handpicked and invited to provide input into shaping the new Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DHMH) regulations that will integrate prevention, treatment and recovery services currently regulated under two different agencies --the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Agency (ADAA) and the Mental Hygiene Administration (MHA). Meetings for this workgroup were held on 6/13, 7/1, 7/25, 8/15, 9/5, 9/26 and the final meeting is scheduled for 10/17. The workgroup purportedly includes "representatives of DHMH, treatment providers, consumers and advocacy organizations".
Disappointingly, the workgroup did not include one representative from any of our Maryland Substance Use Disorder family peer support / advocacy organizations. While the equivalent groups from the mental health sector were invited, including Maryland Coalition of Families, NAMI, On Our Own of Maryland, and Mental Health Association of Maryland, we were excluded --even though this omission was brought to the attention of Kathy Rebbert-Franklin, Chair of the Stakeholder Workgroup, during several stakeholder meetings.
There was not a single voice within the workgroup representing the perspective of the family members of those in recovery from a substance use disorder. Subsequently, our voice has not been heard. We have not been invited to voice our concerns on policy that impacts our lives and our families, and have been deprived of the opportunity to offer legitimate and valuable insights, based on our "lived" experiences, into the state's substance abuse treatment system. This is unfair, both to the consumers who utilize Maryland's treatment services, and to Maryland tax-payers who ultimately pay for and benefit from a system of care that should be reflective of successful treatment outcomes.
Please call or email the following people and let them know that the families of those suffering with a substance related disorder are respectfully requesting equal representation at the stakeholder policy table on Integration, alongside representatives for families that have traditionally utilized Maryland's mental health treatment system.
Kathy Rebbert-Franklin firstname.lastname@example.org 410-402-4221
Gayle Jordan-Randolph email@example.com
Governor O'Malley firstname.lastname@example.org