The Act fills the gap of family programs in the United States (U.S.) federal addiction resources. It covers support and funding for family programs. Through this Act a grant program will be created, which will invest in empowering caregivers and families with training, education and peer-to-peer support, to address their loved ones’ substance use disorder.
There is strong evidence that when family members are involved in recovery there are better outcomes. The family support services as per the Act include:
- Family training and education,
- Family therapy,
- Systems navigation to help families locate or access resources, and
- Crisis and grief support.
With alcohol use rising in the U.S. during the pandemic the Act is now more important than ever. The combination of pandemic stressors and its consequences, physical distancing, loss of traditional and local care services and the incessant marketing of alcohol as a coping mechanism by the alcohol industry is fueling higher and heavier alcohol use in the U.S.
A report released by the Well Being Trust and the American Academy of Family Physicians predicted the COVID-19 pandemic could accelerate deaths of despair in the U.S. Deaths of despair are deaths primarily caused by alcohol products and other drug overdoses, suicides, and liver disease.
The problem is aggravated by serious gaps in the provision of healthcare services for people with alcohol and other substance use problems. The current level of provision of treatment services for people experiencing alcohol problems is way short of need and is further strained by COVID-19.
Meanwhile the CDC recently included people with substance use disorder to the list of groups with high risk of COVID-19 complications.
The Partnership to End Addiction commends the House of Representatives for passing this legislation in the House and calls for the Senate to do the same and thus to make it into law.