Ohio-Based “Recovery Bill Of Rights” To Help Establish Standards For Addiction Treatment
The Bill of Rights, put into place through ratification in 1791, is a part of the United States Constitution. It includes 10 amendments, such as the right to a jury in a trial, the right against search and seizures without a warrant, and of course, freedom of speech. You probably didn’t see anything about aftercare treatment or an aftercare program on that list, right?
Well, Ohio is striving to change that. The Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery has created its own Recovery Bill of Rights. This has the potential to set addiction treatment standards that could apply countrywide and perhaps even further.
What Is the Ohio Recovery Bill of Rights?
The Ohio Recovery Bill of Rights came about due to the Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery or OCAAR, as mentioned. This peer-run nonprofit aims to reduce both addiction discrimination and stigma. OCAAR also works with friends and family of those affected by someone with an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
They offer two main services: educational outreach and advocacy. Their educational outreach includes introducing and explaining concepts like addiction, recovery, and the many ways one can get sober from drugs or alcohol, including through aftercare treatment.
OCAAR’s advocacy services encompass the following:
- Deliberative Dialogue: With Deliberative Dialogue, OCAAR works to reach out to local communities across Ohio to begin a dialogue about matters relating to addiction and substance abuse and recovery aftercare. Deliberative Dialogue conversations occur several times throughout a given year.
- Advocacy 101: Including family and friends, Advocacy 101 training lasts for up to three hours. OCAAR teaches topics like substance abuse legislation, tips on sharing stories, deliberative dialogue, lobbying in advocacy, and more. This training can be done in Ohio or even online.
- Beyond Advocacy 101: For a more advanced version of Advocacy 101, some people might want to try the Beyond Advocacy 101 course. This will instruct participants on reaching out to nonprofits as well as private and public sectors to promote advocacy around substance abuse.
What Are the Provisions of the Ohio Recovery Bill of Rights?
The Ohio Recovery Bill of Rights has 10 provisions in all. Let’s discuss these in more detail now.
1. THE RIGHT TO COVERAGE FOR ADDICTION RECOVERY AS PART OF A HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN
According to OCAAR, in 2008, Congress approved the right for those enrolling in addiction recovery to have said recovery paid for under their health insurance. That said, in the state of Ohio at least, the same rights haven’t been strictly enforced in the last 11 years. OCAAR believes that if a person can get health insurance coverage for a biological illness, this should also apply to substance abuse treatment or aftercare drug treatment.
2. THE RIGHT TO FIND A RECOVERY CENTER NEARBY
With a wealth of recovery facilities in Ohio and other states around the country, those addicted to drugs or alcohol shouldn’t have to look far to find help. These facilities should be high-quality as well as inexpensive. They should also offer a range of treatments, including an aftercare program.
3. THE RIGHT TO PROPER REFERRALS
When visiting a doctor or medical professional to get a referral to a rehab treatment facility, it’s necessary that these referrals fit the patient’s needs. They must be ethical as well. Some doctors only care about making money or ensuring there are no empty beds. In the confusion of addiction, this could lead someone to enter a facility that doesn’t allow them to overcome their addiction. That helps no one in the end.
4. THE RIGHT TO INFORMED CONSENT AND INDIVIDUALIZED CARE
When enrolling in a rehab facility with aftercare treatment, each person should feel assured that they have both informed consent and individualized care. Consent means the patient receives the best level of care possible but is still aware of any risks that may exist. Through individualized care, each rehab facility enrollee gets treated as a unique person in need of their own treatment. There’s no lumping them in where they don’t get the kind of quality attention they need to get and stay sober.
5. THE RIGHT TO EVIDENCE-BASED TREATMENT
As OCAAR says, “addiction is a bio-psycho-social and spiritual disease.” A rehab facility should have a great track record of success stories. The graduates of this program through aftercare drug treatment and more should maintain their sobriety even once they leave the facility. This gives the patient in question the confidence that their time and money will go towards a facility that can truly help them, too.
6. THE RIGHT TO 42 CFR PART 2 PROTECTION
The 42 CFR Part 2 provision refers to patient records and confidentiality. With this provision, if a person received help for drug or alcohol addiction, they have the right to keep that information from others. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 or HIPAA should also work to maintain this privacy.
There’s often a stigma that surrounds addiction to drugs or alcohol, as OCAAR themselves mentioned. While the nonprofit continues its education and advocacy efforts to get rid of this stigma, it sadly does continue to exist. If a person has an addiction and went to great lengths to hide it for any reason, then that information should stay hidden. After all, an addiction could lead to ostracization from friends and family and even the loss of a job or marriage in some instances.
7. THE RIGHT TO AFTERCARE
When a person graduates from a rehab facility, cutting them loose and letting them reenter the world alone can erase all the sobriety they just achieved. This graduate might not know what to do when in the real world. If they go to bars or seedy streets to buy drugs and hang out with fellow alcohol and/or drug users, then it becomes easy to fall into old habits.
With aftercare from a rehab facility, the graduate has a sense of accountability. That could increase their likelihood of maintaining their sobriety.
8. THE RIGHT TO STANDARDIZED RECOVERY HOUSING
Where a graduate lives after they leave a rehab facility is also quite important. OCAAR believes these graduates should have access to standardized recovery housing that doesn’t break the bank. For example, in Ohio, there’s Oxford Housing as well as Ohio Recovery Housing for rehab graduates looking for a safe place to restart their lives.
9. THE RIGHT TO HIGHER EDUCATION
If a graduate decides they want to pursue higher education or secondary education, they may find their past of bad grades, absences, and even prior criminal activity prevents them from achieving this goal.
More college and university campuses should offer recovery information and support so students feel safer and more included when attending school.
10. THE RIGHT TO WORK
Rehab graduates who’d rather go back to work than pursue secondary education should find that’s within their right. They should be able to get a job that provides them with the financial compensation they need to support a basic lifestyle. Having a job of this nature can provide a sense of purpose for the graduate, which in turn could keep them sober.
What Does This Mean for Addiction Recovery?
Now that we’ve talked about the 10 provisions of OCAAR’s Recovery Bill of Rights, what does this mean for addiction recovery in other states outside of Ohio? Having an organization such as OCAAR in one’s home state to push for more rights for those seeking recovery from addiction or those who have recently gotten sober is great. After all, the 10 rights above are all basics that any person deserves as they pursue addiction recovery and life afterward.
That said, it seems like Ohio has begun something that the rest of the country has yet to catch on to. It’s not that the other 50 states all need their own individual Recovery Bills of Rights. Instead, the focus should be more on setting the 10 rights as standard across the country.
By advocating for changing legislation, we can make it easier for those with an addiction to get the help they need. This isn’t just any help, but care from a facility that offers individualized treatment and aftercare. With this aftercare, we can increase the chances that the graduate that leaves the program will stay sober.
That life that a former addict leads after they leave the rehab facility is the blueprint to future success, after all. If nothing changes in their life, then it’s only a matter of time before a person like this will reach for their substance of choice.
If a former addict wants to keep their medical history private for any reason, then that should be their right. If they could lose friends, family, or even employment because they once had an addiction, any of those things happening would be incredibly detrimental. Having the means to prevent them if possible makes sense in most cases.
Also, the decision to pursue higher education or get a job should be one a rehab program graduate should get to make for themselves. If they’ve achieved sobriety, then they shouldn’t be precluded from the chance to get an education or earn a livelihood because they once had an addiction to drugs and alcohol.
With the Recovery Bill of Rights out in the world and available for anyone to read, what legislators, doctors, politicians, policymakers, and other key parties decide to do with it is up to them. If every state adopts these rights legally, then those with an addiction will find it easier to get help as well as rebuild their lives after they get sober. That’s what anyone deserves, a second chance.
Looking for an Aftercare Program in California? Come to Elevate Addiction Services
Finding the right addiction recovery aftercare drug treatment matters. Until the Ohio Recovery Bill of Rights becomes a nationwide guarantee to those dealing with drug addiction, it’s very crucial to consider one’s recovery options and aftercare alcohol and drug treatment carefully. Twelve-step programs that place the blame on its enrollees create the wrong mindset.
Here at Elevate Addiction Services in Northern California, we do things a bit differently. We don’t believe in the old 12-step program provisions. We’ll never put the blame on those who come to us seeking guidance on quitting their addiction to drugs or alcohol. Also, our staff at Elevate Addiction Services believes in taking a holistic approach to recovery. We focus on the entirety of our enrollees, including their spiritual, physical, and mental health.
Then there’s our substance abuse aftercare. We know that once our enrollees graduate and leave our program, they’ll have to enter the real world again. If the enrollee doesn’t cut out toxic people and places, then it’s easy to sink back into the same bad habits and invite addiction back into their lives again, as we mentioned. Before they know it, they’re addicted once more, and worse yet, they’re not even sure how it happened.
With the aftercare program offered through Elevate Addiction Services, no enrollee gets left alone in these pivotal days, weeks, and months after leaving the facility. Whether aftercare alcohol and drug addiction treatment, our staff will work with the enrollee to guide them through their new sober life.
We present referrals to sober support groups near the enrollee, even if they’re not in California. Sometimes these groups include yoga studios or exercise gyms, which are choices surely a little off the beaten path. That’s just part of the substance abuse aftercare and aftercare drug treatment one can expect here at Elevate Addiction Services.
Our check-up calls keep the graduate of the program accountable for their actions and behaviors after leaving the facility. The graduate can call the counselor at any time if they need advice on a particularly difficult situation.
We also create a post-treatment plan as part of our substance abuse and recovery aftercare. This plan, which we call a relapse prevention plan, includes the family members of the graduate. With resources for sobriety as well as reminders and tips each day, the graduate can stay on the right track.
To learn more about our drug and substance abuse aftercare services, please call Elevate Addiction Services at 800-340-9156 anytime 24/7.
Tim Sinnott, MFT
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