tv Opioid Epidemic CSPAN September 1, 2017 8:06am-10:07am EDT
good morning. my name is paul molloy and i'm an alcoholic. i want to welcome everybody to the 17th annual oxford house convention. as those of you who have -- i'm sorry. it's the 19th. i've lost track. this is what happens when you get old. i remember the first convention we had. it was up on new jersey avenue at a hotel that held 200 people,
and we thought, oh my god, this is such a big hotel, we will never get 200 people. we lasted at that hotel only for a year, and we have moved from one hotel to another we've held the convention every other year in washington, d.c.. and this year there are almost 1300 folks registered already. [applause] with all those conventions, we've always started in the same way, and that is having an invocation to get started on the right foot. each of us who have not drank alcohol or use drugs today is grateful, but we remember that seldom do we take credit for that all by ourselves. and two years ago and several
other times in our history, deacon ron ely has been wanting to come early in the morning to start us off on the right foot. deacon ron, could you get started on the right foot? [applause] >> god bless you, paul, and thanks for the introduction. god bless all of you. i'm happy to be here. i don't know how many times, but truly indeed this is a pleasure for me to be here amongst all of you as we all have to build with the issues that we have, whether alcoholism, drug abuse, or all of the other types of addiction that are out there. i've got a few myself and their related to food. [laughing]
but as we begin today let us remember that there are some brothers and sisters who are not here with us because of that terrible tragedy that has taken place in parts of her country, in particular texas and louisiana. so we want to remember all of them in our prayers and in our thoughts. we want remember all of those who, for whatever reason, that are not here today are struggling to get here or have not arrived, that god will continue to bless and be within and help them as they journey here today. and so we ask our gods blessings. i'm going to start out with psalm 100. cry out with a joy to the lord all the years, serve the lord with gladness. come before him singing for joy. note that he the lord is god. he made as.
we belong to him. we are his people, the sheep of his flock. go within his gates giving thanks. enter his courts with songs of praise. give thanks to him and bless his name. indeed, how good is the lord. eternal his merciful love. he is faithful from age to age. let us pray. god, you have brought us this far by safe. leaning on your loving arms. when asked that you continue to help and be with us as we strive not only in terms of our own recovery, but to reach out to those who are around us who most need our help and assistance in their own journey. we ask that you bless this conference, this 19th time that we have come together as oxford house participants, to
sing the praises that you have given to us, and to sing about the good times that we've had and the times that you have helped us to go upon and strife over the issues that we've had. we ask you be with this pick would ask you to conquer the darkness of her own ignorance by the light of your word. strengthen within our hearts the faith you have given to us. let not temptation to find you, that your love has kindled within us. god, our heavenly father, we thank you. we thank you for all that you've done for us. we thank you for your beautiful holy spirit that has come upon us. we thank you for your son jesus. and it is in his name that we pray, amen. >> amen.
>> thank you, deacon. as usual you have gotten a stat off on the right foot. alfor all of us in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction, we know that gratitude is something that hits us in the face every day we wake up. because when we wake up we know where we are. we know where we want to go. we know what we want to do, and we know we are not likely to go to jail because of it. [applause] >> it's appropriate that we are gathered here in washington, d.c., this labor day weekend. not only is the country facing the floods of texas and louisiana, but also facing what
people refer to everyday as the opioid crisis. just out of curiosity, how many in this room have ever used heroin or opioids? for those of you who can't see the crowd to come seems to be almost every hand went up. of course i say to all my friends who had used heroin or opioids, if you use canadian club in the beginning -- [laughing] you wouldn't have done that because you would've thought you were in heaven and had gone no further. [laughing] but then we are of a different generation. where is whit? whit, stand up. there he is. [applause] i give deference to whit because whit was a foul sent over to do with that halfway house in
silver spring in 1975 that was closing. whit has about six months additional clean and sober time that i do, and he also was a big guy and a fellow who held the lease on the building that was being rented to us. he said, those characters who live in that house are so unreliable they are going to rip me off. therefore, whit him your job is to beat the hell out of them if they don't pay their rent. [laughing] we all worried a bit, but finally after he arrived we found out that he was just like one of us, and he was in recovery. i say just like one of us. he wasn't quite like me because he rode his bicycle everywhere, including from silver spring down to ocean city. i stop what my bicycle at about the eighth grade. [laughing] and i don't are ever to resume
it. but in spite of those differences we began to put together what has become what you all keep going today, and that is the oxford house movement. [applause] show after that first house open in silver spring we begin to feel guilty about the fact that we had no vacant rooms, so we looked around and granted a second house in washington, d.c.. and so it is that in silver spring and in washington, d.c., oxford house was born in 1975, and in 1976 in d.c. and whit moved to d.c. to get oxford house huntington and goig and keep on track. all of us today are grateful for those first few folks that begin to the oxford house together,
and we are thickly grateful that the district of columbia was here. because this was a place where we opened up the first group home that was west of rock creek park. for those of you who are not as old as i am, you perhaps don't remember, but things in washington, d.c., in 1975 were quite different from what they are today. if you live in a northwest corner on the other side of rock creek park, you probably were white, you are probably well educated and you probably made a lot of money. if you lived east of rock creek park, you probably were not in that category. [laughing] and you probably have a lot of group homes in your neighborho neighborhood. and you probably were going to stay that way forever. now, as the young folks from
vermont, jane and i quickly took an inventory, and i kind of looked around and said where are the republicans in washington, d.c.? of course i quickly found there were none on neither side of the park. [laughing] but those houses began the whole business of demonstrating that oxford houses work. and today we are pleased to have with us this morning tanya royster was the director of d.c. behavioral health, and tanya had been in illinois. she came to d.c., and we have the benefit of experiencing a great relationship with the district, and i think there are, what is it, 32 houses? 32 houses in d.c. [applause] it is with great pleasure that i introduce to you dr. royster.
[applause] good morning, oxford house. >> good morning. >> good morning oxford house. >> good morning. >> it is indeed an honor and a pleasure and a privilege to be here to welcome you to this 19th world convention that you're having. we are so excited that you are here. [applause] the work that you do touches lives in a way that as much asi love what i do and as much as i work hard in what i do and encourage my 13 plus hundred staff and support everything that you need, it can't replace what you do. and so i'm grateful and thankful for the partnership that we have with oxford house. i wanted to bring greetings from my mayor, muriel bowser purchase also signed junior and wanting me to this great city picked anywhere you go they will safe feel free to spend your money. [laughing] feel free to expand our economy.
we are excited that you hear and we're proud to be the seat of oxford house. we're proud to be the place where your origins are, where you call home. because we know home is where the heart is and we are proud of our 32 oxford homes and would always encouraging add one more come we can fill them up. happily and sadly, right? [applause] >> we are very excited. when i came to the district of columbia, their vision statement said recovery is possible. and i said no, no, no. that's not good enough. recovery is the expectation. we expect that if we do our jobs, you can do yours. [applause] and so our vision say this is the district of columbia is a thriving community where prevention is the mental health and substance abuse disorders is possible that recovery is the expectation. and that's what we want to leave you with today, the remembrance that we are here to make your
recovery the expectation. with the right support and services and with your arm on the recovery and come we are excited to be your partner. we're excited that oxford house offers a safe, affordable, and in addition, affordable is a keyword, because affordable if a difficult to find. i have not been able to live west of rock creek park. [laughing] we are just excited that you hear. the oxford houses in d.c. are beautiful. if you have an opportunity to visit one, i'm sure they would welcome you. with oxford houses that are specialized for women and children, because we want to meet every need. when you are ready to make that step we want to be the children and give you what you need to continue on your journey. so we are again excited that you are here. we are looking forward to the decisions that you make and the serious contemplation that you will do to continue the important work of oxford house
here in the district and around the world. thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you, dr. royster. one of the things that dr. royster mentioned is what is part of oxford house uniqueness. we started out with the premise that relapse should be the exception, not the norm. in 1975 no one really have thought that way. as a matter fact, in 2000 no one was thinking that way. unfortunately, many today do not think that way. and what has become the monitor in the treatment field is that relapse is part of the disease. as good alcoholics and drug addicts, we make sure to fulfill that mantra -- [laughing]
-- by relapsing over and over and over again. [laughing] the federal government publishes something called the treatment episodes data set, and it takes a snapshot of what's going on in the country, how many people are probably alcoholics or drug addicts, which is about 25 million. of that 25 million, about 17 million are plain old alcoholics. about 8 million are addicted to other drugs. and each year about 1.7 of those 25 million any kind of treatment at all. the rest don't. but when you look at folks who do get treatment, like as, most of us have had some kind of treatment, those 1.7 million folks get into treatment each year.
15% of them, it is their fifth time through treatment. wow. when you think about it, that really isn't very efficient. somebody should sit back and say may be something is wrong, to recycle five times through treatment. when you look at everybody in treatment, the average number of times folks have been through treatment is about 3.5 times. holy cow. we worried about that in the early days in 1975, and we said okay, maybe relapse is part of the disease. and when somebody relapses, perhaps we should give them another chance. and the first four guys who relapsed we said okay, charlie, you can stay, but don't drink or
don't use drugs again. and poor old charlie drank and use drugs again within a week. and that was because he said those guys will give me another chance. and there came a time come as a matter of fact the very next time that charlie relapsed when all said you're out of here, you going to screw us up by drinking or using drugs that we're trying to stay clean and sober. and so from that point on, part of the whole business of oxford house is that one drink or one use of drugs, your peers throw you out. i mentioned this whole business of peers because when whit and i were in this business of this first oxford house, we couldn't afford to run it like a halfway house. i halfway house in 1975 cost $114,000 to run, and the reason
it cost $114,000 to run is that the hired a cook. they hired a house manager and they hired a counselor. we couldn't hire anybody. we didn't have the money. quite apart from the fact that we were also cheap. [laughing] and so it was that we had to figure out a way how we could govern ourselves. i had locked into a job while n the halfway house and so i said to my fellow roommates, don't worry, i'll pay a whole lot. and they said that's what makes us worry. [laughing] you are already trying to be big boss. if we let you pay more than us, you're going to be impossible to live with. [laughing] and so from the beginning within oxford house was a notion that everybody pay an equal share. those of you here today come
from states, come from places around the country where every single oxford house follows that same principle. i used to say if oxford house can be like mcdonald's with a franchise taste the same the matter where you go, we've got something special. and we do have something special because each of you in each oxford house all around the country follow the same format. part of that form it is if you drink or use drugs, there will be a house meeting and if half the folks in the house in believe you have relapsed, goodbye. and guess what? that works pretty well. we were not sure how well it worked until 1987, a fellow from catholic university used to work with doctor dupont retired from the national institute on drug abuse. and he started teaching at catholic university and he came
to us and said can i study what happens to people who move into an oxford house? we said sure. the only records that exist at each house keeps track of who came in and whether the revote in our voted out. but fine, and this guy track down 1280 people, and in those few houses in d.c. and in maryland in the early days, from 1975 and 1987, 1280 people have lived in those houses. he interviewed them all and he came to us and he said, you know, 80% of the folks who did oxford house stayed clean and sober. and whit and i and john o'neill any of the folks in altered house sent my god, what are we doing wrong? we are losing 20%. and he explained to us know,
what we are doing was exceptional. most places would be happy if 20% stayed clean and sober. here was some system, some way, since -- some scheme that ended up with 80% of the folks staying clean and sober. [applause] when we look back, we now realize there were a couple of things that accounted for that. one is we ran the show ourselves, democratically, making decisions on issues, democratically deciding who came in and who was thrown out, and that was a big deal because it avoided that we versus them thing. you know, if you been in prison or if you been in a normal
halfway house, or if you been in the nuthouse, there's always some big boss. you look at that movie one flew over the cuckoos nest and you know of a place like that has a nurse ratchet. [laughing] and in those kinds of situations, the thing that bond you together if you're one of the inmates is that we versus bama thing. it's us inmates versus that damp establishment. and we spend so much time on the wii versus them thing that we forget about what we're trying to do. i remember in the halfway house when frank was a house manager, frank was obsessed with the fact that when you clean the frying plan, you have to go clockwise with the sos pad. [laughing] every time i would clean the
frying pan i would go counterclockwise. [laughing] and john, the roommate of whit would say, frank, he's going counterclockwise. [laughing] well now all of a sudden we're running the show ourselves. and it didn't matter whether you are clockwise or counterclockwise. as a matter fact, because we were running the show ourselves and we limited the amount of time that each of us could stay in office, and everybody insisted everybody pay an equal share, there were no big bosses. and that made a big difference. the other big difference was, and is, that you could live in an oxford house as long as you want. that first halfway house had a a rule that you have to move out at the end of six months. 11 people had to move out during the first three months i was there because their six months were up.
ten of the 11 were back drinking or using drugs within 30 days. and we kept plodding how can we manipulate the system so we don't have to leave? and that's when the county announced they were going to close the house. but once we took it over, the first row we did was you could live there forever, as long as you didn't drink, didn't use drugs and pager equal share of expenses. the second thing we did was also quite by accident. when the halfway house closed, it was in the news all over the country that senator nunn, a therapeutic community in the west was in a kind of trouble. they've been set up as a therapeutic community in san francisco and spread across the country, and he got into all kinds of businesses.
they ran a car repair shop. they ran a hotel. they ran a red business. at all of these things meant they collected a lot of money. and the founders of synanon begin to fight with each other over how to deal with the money, who god and who didn't. and we took care of that problem with oxford house by putting in that very first set of bylaws that whit wrote that oxford house would never own any property, and he would accumulate any wealth. that was just like aa. we followed that same principle. we follow that principle today so the organization has never been distracted by accumulating money or accumulating property. every one of our houses is rented. [applause] somebody asked once where did you get that idea being able to
rent a house? and the answer is we got the idea of being able to rent a house by looking down the street and finding that most families in america rent a house. [laughing] most families go into town and find a house for rent, and they rent it. we said we're just like a family. and we began to act and behave that way as we went across the country. when we opened a house in illinois or whether a house is opened in edmonds washington, whatever, we said we're just a family. and you said you're not just a family, you're a bunch of drunks and druggies. and you've got a group home in our neighborhood and we don't want you here. the first five houses we rented in new jersey, every single one ended up in court.
and ended up in court because neighbors said we don't want these folks in our neighborhood. well, we said we disagree with you. and we went to court, and that's one of the advantages of being an alcoholic and a drug addict. because alcoholism and drug addiction is an egalitarian disease, you get rich people, poor people, white people, black people, that people, skinny people, and you get a hell of a lot of lawyers. [laughing] [applause] and whe windows lawyers get into recovery, there's always some lawyer that got there before and says to the newcomer, ain't you got any gratitude? should you try to help your
fellow alcoholics and drug addicts? and we found lots of lawyers with lots of gratitude, and they helped us all across the country. now, it doesn't hurt any that these kinds of actions are civil rights actions, and so once you win the case, the lawyer gets paid. so it wasn't quite as optimistic as i make it out to be -- alter a stick. as a i can tell you without booze and drugs you do think a little differently. one of the things that makes oxford house what it is today is all of those different things that are characteristic so typical of america. you hear a lot about norman rockwell america, though none of you are old enough to remember when the health norman rockwell was alive.
most of you are not around to even remember when the saturday evening post was a magazine. but it used to be in america, that the saturday evening post would come out once a week and its cover would be a beautiful picture of something, usually painted by norman rockwell. it was a thanksgiving dinner where everybody was around the thanksgiving table. it was a little boy, little child going to bed at night, the mother and father standing there and it was a symbol of freedom of religion. it was some of the kind of americana that was painted on the cover of that magazine, because it was what americans want to think of themselves that we were a caring people, that we stumbled into this wonderful system of democracy and freedom and liberty, inc. we cared about each other. that was our ideal. we didn't always practice it but that was our ideal.
and that's what oxford house looked for and said how can we be the way we want to be? article we live the way we want to live? and one of those things we had was this business of democracy. one of the things we had was that we can all work together to get better, to stay clean and sober. and whit and i and it would ele in the early houses said unless we can figure out how to have fun and make more fun, and by being clean and sober with going to go back and drinking and using drugs. and that happens right across the country. james and i were down at which a doctor what was it, about the six convention we had? i remember the post was this girl running along the little brick road and we were in kansas. of course also remember that there was a hotel there, and suddenly the tornado warning came and the hotel says get to your bathrooms, a tornado is coming. rebate from oxford house of course went out front to watch
the tornado. [laughing] [applause] so there are things that do not change even though we don't drink and use drugs. [laughing] we love that excitement. one of the things that happens at these conventions is that kathleen myers gibson, her name has changed since moved to oxford house 20 years ago, has this wonderful staff of folks who now do the kinds of things in oxford house that whit and i used to ignore doing, like keeping records, and they have done a wonderful job in setting up this convention. let's give the oxford house staff -- [cheers and applause]
>> at this time let me call on kathleen gibson, the ceo of oxford house to come up and tell us what we can expect in the next few days at this convention and what we are supposed to do. and after that we will get james mcclain up, and then after that we will have the keynote address from the acting drug czar, richard baum. kathleen. [applause] >> good morning, everybody. >> good morning. >> i'm kathleen, a woman in long-term recovery and what that means is i haven't used a drink or drug since generally 15, 1993. [cheers and applause] -- january. and maybe even more importantly, i moved into oxford house in the
spring of 1994. [applause] which i really want to welcome everybody. i don't how much it takes for everybody to get here, for the chapters to plan for the houses to set aside money, for the individuals to dig deep in the pockets and to make that flight from the west coast, many, and those he came up from texas, so i know what it took to give yourselves a big round of applause. [cheers and applause] >> we do truly have an amazing staff at oxford house that is now over 100 i think, yes? 100 pics of those folks have worked very hard this weekend, this week and this weekend, but they work hard every day and we are grateful to them for going out there and creating new communities of oxford house everywhere. i just want to do a quick overview, but i sort of wanted
to have you think about three things. that'the it, the us, and the tr. so that it, make this the best weekend you can. enjoy this beautiful hotel. enjoy being in downtown d.c., a gorgeous area of downtown d.c. here enjoy the panels, the breakouts. today we have the nuts and bolts, information on the opioid epidemic, great keynote speakers, this morning richard baum. just, tomorrow even more reentry, a lot of research that is being done at oxford house. all the things that can help you in your recovery. my friend karen who also works for oxford house always says not so we just survive but we thrive in accident and in our recovery. the us, take time to deepen your
relationship with the people you already know but also take time to get to know some new people. to broaden your network. staff, friends, all over the country. i we said the very beginning that was one of the greatest things that happened. all the friendships that i have across the country. and the truth, paul wrote in the conclusion of the program and he probably thinks i don't always read everything, but i do pick it up and in the program and in the conclusion he said, and it usually struck me so want to be just a little bit of it. oxford house to is unique. time-tested and evidence-based. we are all fortune to be a part of it. keep in mind that each of us plays an important role in the success of oxford house. there really are no big bosses. because each of us pays an equal share of expenses and as an equal vote in the house decisions, we learn self-confidence firsthand.
that makes us feel good about ourselves and sued or later we tie that feeling good about ourselves, the fact that we are staying clean and sober and kachina bidding to successful run of our oxford house. he goes on to talk a little bit more, but that just really struck me, that that's our truth at oxford house. over the next few days you get to participate in all of that. breabreakout, go to different panels, get to know different people, vote on world council things. members and, vote on being in the general sessions about a new resolutions and just be a part of and enjoy. and with that about -- i will turn over to james mcclain who will tell more about that. have a great few days. [applause] >> good morning, group. >> good morning. >> i'm not hearing so well. good morning, group. >> good morning.
>> will my world council members please come up so you can see these guys can who they are and what they do, please? [applause] [cheers and applause] >> my name is james, i'm an longtime recovery, and that means i've that used a drink or drugs since may 23, 1982. [applause] it's also the truth that i have not, i moved in oxford house in 82 and they kind of coincide, you know? i don't know where i would be if i'm not going to oxford house. but the world council group, you know, paul talks about mcdonald's and how quality control is out there. there are people who make this impossible. there are people who look at what's going on wrong, what can
be wrong, what could be helped. this world council group is your voice to paul and to the establishment. so that we can make the oxford house go very, very well. and so it is worked since 1999, the world council of been a part of this or position since 1999 and it is really, really been, it's grown to a point where to be a world council member is like being on the president's staff, like the secretary can like being on paul's staff, that's what it's like. what it means is we have a direct responsibility from you to the organization to paul to the rest of the world. so these guys are there and you're getting elected every year at this convention. and this year we have a few vacancies. but let me say something about this group. it is an elite group. to be a part of elite group have to really, really know what this group does.
so this year we put some information in your packets. there are two pieces of paper that if think you should look at your one of them is a grade. it comes out monthly sometimes pick sometimes it comes out every month, but it's a piece of paper that tells you what we are doing pick and the other part is a pathway. these are in your folder, in your bags so please look at those. but together world council, you guys jump through hoops. you can't just walk in a site i'm going to be on the world council. there's some hoops. these hoops are very simple. you have to find somebody that says it's okay that you are okay that you can be a member of this group. what you do is at the end of this session, you go across the hallway and you go to the world council table and you get a nomination petition. now, if you are a resident which means if you live in oxford house, if you go and get a blue
copy, and on this copy you read it and fill it out and you would go and you would get five houses somebody in the house to sign this petition, and it's five spots. let me tell you something that happens. if you are from the same house come you come from the same house, one of you sign this, don't everybody sign this, okay? we've got to cheat a little bit sometimes but one of you sign this and you get five signatures, and yet this piece of paper turned in by 1:00 today, okay? you get this turned in. this is your nomination petition. schedule try to become a part of this group here. now, if you are an -- you could get alumni to vote for you or you can get residents to vote for you. but if you are an alumni, you're
only going to be alumni paper and you will this color paper, okay? you're going to go across the hall and you're going to get this form and you're going to do the same thing, filled out and you have it in the world council desk by 1:00. that's one of the hoops you have to jump through. the next to you jump through is you come back in here before general sessions and you make speech telling everybody here why you want to be on the world council let me tell you something about that three minister it's really going to be two minutes. i'm going to tell you, paul is here. [laughing] and you coming here and you make your speech, and then you try to circumvent -- the people here you want to be on the world council. okay, now for you guys, listen very careful what they say. because you are going to vote on these guys. listen very carefully.
at the end of the session this evening you're going to get a voting petition form and you're going to fill out and you're going to say okay, i like her, i like him. he will turn that in at the same world council desk before, at 1:00 tomorrow. at noon tomorrow. at noon. now, let me tell you something. it's going to be a lot of fun because they are going to be nervous and we are scared to death in front of all you people. but remember that you will also be the same way and they will try to convince you that they're going to be a part of this elite group. and so when you come in here and when you get your form and you do your speech, remember that this group is the elite group. thank you. [applause]
>> thank you, james. one of the amazing things about oxford house is that we managed to build and excitement. we managed to build in those characteristics of democracy that really make freedom and living worthwhile. and this business of electing one-third of the world council members are elected each year for three-year terms. and we have rules in place that the world council put in place to make sure that the distribution of members is all over the country, not just one state. we were all scared stiff in the beginning that washington state with control everything. because you had the most houses. but we protected against washington state controlling everything, because everybody loved verna brown but not that much.
[laughing] and so people had to be distributed around the country and that's worked out very well. the world council is the canary in the mine. it's dealing with houses out there that feel they in a data, it meets several times year, it has monthly telephone conferences, and it's able to pick up those kinds of things that are causing problems before they become real problems. and then kathleen and her staff address those problems and gets things fixed. it's always self-serving on our part to say we are well organized, we do a good job. but gosh, that's true. through no fault of mine but through the wonders of the organization, and new technology oxford house has thrived. just the other day i was talking about the fact that one of our big problems 20 years ago was telephone bills.
some guy in plainfield new jersey would get feeling lonely about his girlfriend was in california, and he would get thinking about a relapse but he would call her every night. and in those days you have to pay for long-distance calls. and then he went relapse. the house with throwing out and at the end of the month get the bill for $2982 to pay for his phone calls. but one of the beauties of technological change is we don't have to pay for long-distance phone calls anymore. you can get all that phone service for 49 bucks. a month. the guy can still call his girlfriend in california and it doesn't cost the rest of the house i sent. but technology has helped us in other ways, too. those of you who want to know the vacancies of your house or any other house, now having easy
system, because we came up come as a matter fact a fellow in jersey, tim, came up with the notion of using a cell phone at somebody living in each house that automatically that cell phone is called once a week and says how many vacancies do you have? they put in one or two or three. and then about a half hour after your regular house meeting you get a phone call that say never sang did you fill the vacancy? so anybody can go on the website and look at oxford vacancies.com and find out exactly what vacancies exist around the country. i suspect that marriott will be coming to negotiate with us at any time to develop the system for them. [laughing] i don't know whether mr. marriott knows where every vacant bed is in the system, but
i'll tell you, oxford house does. [applause] >> now, one of the things that cost oxford house it's been all over the country was the antidrug abuse act of 1988. when congress passed that law it did a number of things. it created a drug czar. then there was a provision of the law that said every state in order to play the game of getting money from the feds had to set up a revolving loan fund to help create self run, self-support recovery houses which are based on the oxford house model. and that was put in there in large part because c-span had covered a hearing, that congressman florio did on health insurance in 1988 where three members of oxford house testified before the hearing about their success in living in
an oxford house. that spread, and by the fall, congress had put in this provision to encourage new oxford houses. of course a major part of the law was the creation of a drug czar, and it almost every convention we've had the honor of having the drug czar, to address us. and this year is no exception. richard baum is the acting director of the white house office of national drug control policy. it also teaches at georgetown and is a friend of dr. dupont who's on our board. all of those things together would be enough for him to come here, but in addition to that he has kind of been the power behind the scenes in dealing with the presidents task force that looked at the opioid crisis. and that task forces, with an interim report, and among other
things it said, hey, let's call this a national emergency. and let's do some other specific things to begin to deal head-on with the fact that people from one end of the country to the other are dying because they take too much heroin or other opioid. they go to sleep and they don't wake up. each of us knows individuals who overdosed. more and more oxford houses are able to deal with that if you can detect the overdose. but too often people go to bed, go to sleep, and don't wake up now, with that depressing thought, let me call on the drug czar to talk to us about what we're all going to do so as to correct that problem. richard.
[applause] >> thank you. thank yothank you so much. it's great to be a tremendous balls at oxford house is a new demeter i've been in this a long time. i wanted to ask paul how many drugs are citin setting up befo? started before administration with bob dupont. >> as we did know bob until later, because the ford administration was kind of quiet about the whole fact. and then we begin to know other drug czars because the crack epidemic scared the hell out of everybody. and i for julie was not able to get to all the crack users and say use canadian club instead. [laughing] >> what i want to say about paul, what paul's been doing is every four years, every eight years a new crowd comes to detent. paul is always here. he comes in, he talks to people, he educates us. he brings up up to speed and
with what his belt, what you built is incredible. it's amazing. every administration comes to know the work of oxford house. i can tell he for us in this of administration of what to do everything we can to support you. and paul is a living legend. you guys are so lucky. standup comic standup for paul. [cheers and applause] >> so thanks again for everything you do. [shouting] [laughing] >> i just want to say a word about paul mentioned the office where i'm serving as acting drugs are, pretty good title. i like it. [laughing] was created in 1988 at the end
of the reagan administration, the first drug czar was in the george w. bush organization, administration. and since and that's always been a white house drug czar. those of us who work at ondcp, i'm at acting, i'm a career official president trump aspi to serve as director in march and i'm thrilled and honored to serve until they have a permanent replacement down the road at some point, but we at ondcp, we are about 80 people, we are almost all career staff. we are very mentioned focus. we're here to represent the entire anti-drug community to rally the country hide what needs to be done to address this terrible problem of addiction we have in the country. oxford house is just a critical factor and we are so glad to have the partnership with you. i want to introduce my colleagues, june and peter. stand up. [applause]
>> gina and june and myself, we are here for the long haul. it's not a stepping stone for us. we have been here, jim and i have been here over two decades at ondcp so we're sticking director we are committed to partnering with you and keep building oxford house and building other sober housing opportunities. some people have a place to live. so thank you so much. [cheers and applause] ..
. >> i can't tell you how important it is and now more than ever with so many people struggling with drugs and the drug supply seems so dangerous and so lethal, how important it is to have a place for people to have a sober recovery, a police to live, a community of friend, something to believe in, to pull their lives together and not just be drug-free and alcohol free, but to strive and pursue their dreams. so it's such an important institution and i'll say again, anything we can do to support and partner, we want to do. paul has already been a couple times in the administration and always welcome. we want to do what we can to get more states to support the revolving fund and build up the whole oxford house community.
[applause] with the sober house model and more than 10,000 people living in these houses anytime, your impact already is significant. significant. [applause] >> a round of applause for yourself, 10,000 people. since becoming the acting director at andcp in march i've been able to travel and people don't necessarily know my name, but they know the title drug czar and they're happy to share their stories and sat down with people across the country and heard about their journey. and two topics come up all the time in these conversations, one is related to recovery housing, finding a safe place to live that allows people to recover and the other thing is stable employment and good jobs and those are a couple of things i wanted to dwell on
today. you know, it's reassuring to note that oxford house is there to provide a pure accountability, structure and housing for individuals who want to stop using and maintain recovery. it's the hope of this administration that each person that wants to stop their drug use and alcohol use is welcome regardless of the recovery pathway they follow and whether or not it includes medication. there is no one path to recovery because everyone is different and frankly, doesn't really matter how someone gets into recovery as long as they get there. [applaus [applause]. at ondcp we have every option. it's to work and assure medication assistance. mat is available to people who
want to use it. i know some are wary of medication assisted treatment, and that medicated assisted recovery isn't recovery, but i believe what the evidence shows and experience shows and a lot of people i talked to around the country, that it helps stabilize people so they work towards recovery. as many -- [applause]. some applause for m-a-t and i know the subject is controversial and speaking for all of us at o nchondcp we have own views, but we have other dialog and i like to have conversation and hear other thoughts. there are three fda medications to treat opioid use, some last longer up to four weeks or six weeks in some cases and as we look at the evidence, i think would he find a lot of people do pretty well on medications,
and also, helps reduce overdose deaths and the spread of infections and disease from injection. so the bottom line is m-a-t can be part of the solution. that's why it's important for oxford house to be inclusive for many people, this is something that we talked about with paul and really, i commend paul for sort of bringing up the subject and working it into the oxford model. those who chose to accept individuals utilizing m-a-t to sustain the recovery sustained and encouraged to think it's something you can add to your help as well. [applaus [applause] >> so let me move on to talk a bit about employment because that's such-- it's interesting when i traveled around talking to people and giving talks on drug stuff, a lot of people ask me about employment and jobs. and my first thought was, i'm the drug czar, i'm not the
housing czar. i wanted to give ben carson a call and ask him about it, but what i found just sitting down and talking with people, is that the employment issue is really central to people's recovery, and so i've started talking about it more and asking about it more and thinking about what else we can do in government to promote options for better employment for employment for people in recovery. you know, and i understand also, this is something that oxford house works with as well. i was in vermont and rhode island to meet with people working to address the opioid crisis. during this trip i met a woman named hillary who works in a restaurant. she struggled with addiction in the past and she's been getting help and she told the restaurant what she's been through and they're helping with her and supporting her with her recovery. the owner of the restaurant trusts her, values her, gives her the keys to close up the restaurant at night. tells her to count the money
and trusts her to do that and it was great for me to hear from hillary just how much it meant to her to have an employer that supported her, to have colleagues and friends in the restaurant that were sort of a new family for her and of course, the means to support her family, and to pay her bills and to be independent, just how much it meant to her. and i really think it's something in this country, we need to do a better job at articulating the need for people to have good employment. you know, 20, 25 million people in recovery, we understand that paul kind of referenced earlier, sometimes people in recovery have some complexity in their past, so maybe some criminal record stuff or other things, but we want people to get the treatment they need, to stop using drugs to be in the recovery, and maybe pay a debt to society if they had some criminal justice engagement.
once they do that, we want them to integrate, come back and start their lives and get a job and we're creating too many obstacles for people to get the jobs they deserve. [applaus [applause] >> okay. i'm going to keep going. so, one of the things that we're doing is we're really-- i've been trying to talk to more employers and just ask and tell them about, encourage them to hire more people. we need some big companies to come forward and say that they want to hire employees who are in recovery, and i repeat my message, you know, i work with people, and side by side or in recovery, people in recovery make great employees, they deserve a chance. [applause] so this is something
for us, we're going to feature in our first trump administration national drug control strategy that comes out early next year and i'll be talking it up and i just, i think that, you know, with so many people in recovery in this country and the opioid crisis being on the front pages and every member of congress and senator has people in their district who have unfortunately overdosed from drugs, i think now is the time to push it to the next level and to tell companies you already have people in recovery who work for you, you just may not know it yet. and so, it's time to just be more explicit and to look at those obstacles in the employment process and remove them and set a good example, because people in recovery, people who struggle with addiction, they work for you, they're in your family, they're in your friends, in your faith community and it's time to get them come forward and get the jobs they deserve. [applaus [applause] >> so, i want to turn for a
minute and talk about some of the things that we're doing in the trump administration, to support the anti-drug efforts. and as you know, president trump, when he was exchange, he-- in the northeast of new hampshire, he talked to a lot of people in the meetings and town halls he did, people who struggle with drugs, families that struggle with drugs and so he started learning about it and talking more about the issue. and since taking office, he has really made this a major priority, and i've been really, you know, someone who has been around ondcp as career officials, we've seen times when attention ebbs and flows a little bit and it's encouraging to see the drug administration front and center in the administration. some of the things that has already happened in april, the department of health and human services spent nearly 500 million out to states so they could work and prevent drug use
on a local level. another 500 million to come out and support treatment and prevention in fy 2018, the next fiscal year, we think those are critical. the president's national drug control strategy and talk about jobs and also about housing and oxford house. and we'll-- a round of applause for that. [applaus [applause] >> if you don't want to read the whole thing and maybe 70, 80 pages, you can word search oxford house, i promise you, it will be in there. we're looking how we can target federal prevention efforts going forward to the most critical drivers of the epidemic preventing drug use initiation and addiction, its terrible consequences. we've been talking about restarting anti-drug media campaign, it's something that we want to do to make sure young people are getting the right messages. and you know, i always think it's really important to be
very honest about drugs, and i have a couple of teenagers, and i don't tell them you smoke one joint, die and your life is over. i tell them about the risks, the risks of using drugs and what the evidence shows and how especially if young people under 14 start using drugs, their risk of addiction later in life before their brains and bodies develop is a very serious risk. and we don't want that for our young people. and i have to say that with what's in the drug supply now, with fentanyl which i'm going to talk more about in a minute, unfortunately, you know, there isn't as much room to make a mistake. you know, if you happen to get a dose of heroin or you buy oxycodone on the street and you think you see the way they make the counterfeit oxycodone and other medications now, is the drug dealers, the traffickers, they imprint the logo of the
drug company on the pill. you may think you're buying your regular dose of prescription analgesic, but you're taking pure fentanyl. unfortunately, one mistake can kill you. so, i don't want to exaggerate the fact, but i think the facts are there are people in this country that are making one mistake and losing their lives, and we have to be honest that, it's a very risky business. president trump, as paul mentioned, established the commission on the drug addiction and problem to look at with fresh eyes, making sure we can do everything we can to address it. the interim report was released last month and their final report released in october. we work very closely with them. i'm serving concurrently as executive director of the commission, trying to make sure they have the best information. and i know people talk like, hey, don't we know already what to do and shouldn't we go do it? we're not stopping.
we're doing things right now all the time, but i think at the start of a new administration, in washington, there's a bit of a cycle based on the change of administration. i think it's really great to take a fresh look at the crisis, the drug problem and what other major things we can do to address the problem. looking forward to the final report of the commission coming out in late, october, november, we'll get a flow and their best ideas into the national drug control strategy and really drive the most effective drug policies we can to help our citizens all across the country. [applaus [applause] >> you know, let me say a word, also, about interdiction and the supply side. because there is no silver bullet to this drug problem in this country. there's not like one thing you can do and the problem goes away. we need to do everything, and do everything better. on the supply side, we need to restrict the availability of
these dangerous drugs that are coming into our country. you know, i've been to the southwest border. i got to-- a chance to when i was at the largest border in the country and go over in a helicopter and fly over the border. it's a daunting challenge to control what's coming into the country, but there are a lot of people working it very hard and i can tell you that something that this administration is doing is really refocusing the energy and enthusiasm, because, you know, since 9/11, they're quite understandably has been a lot of focus on counterterrorism and weapons of mass destruction and that's important. we all want to protect our families from the threats, but maybe we've sort of dropped a little bit of the focus on the drug supply, and i can tell you, the people at the department of homeland security and customs and border
protection, ice, dea, everyone working that, they really are energized and enthused with the support in this administration for strong drug enforcement. so there's a lot of energy in doing better, not a cure-all, but a way to do a better job at restricting the supply. we're also working to control the importing of fentanyl into the country which comes across the border, but comes through the mail as well. i got a chance to go to the largest mail facility in the country which is jfk airport. man, that's a huge challenge. you know, it's a giant cavernous facility and there are boxes of stuff everywhere. there's a k-9, a drug dog that works there and that drug dog has to be the happiest drug dog in the country because they're making seizures all day long at jfk. and so, they're -- there is a lot happening. you know, and also, i think folks know this, people are
order fentanyl from china on the dark web and just recently, one of the large est platforms for the dark web, alpha bay was shut down by u.s. law enforcement and i think we're really sending a message that even on the dark web, there's no longer impunity for drug traffickers to sell deadly drugs to people in our country. and it's amazing how rapidly the drug picture has changed. it's only really been two years or so that the fentanyl prem has become so prominent and it's begun to kill americans at such a high rate. so we've been beginning to turn the focus of law enforcement on really understanding where these substances are coming from. how to block them, sort them, sort of mail and there's challenge and a lot of effort going on. we're also working with the chinese to stop the export of
fentanyl and its analogs and using all the sort tools we can to get to work with the chinese and national community to control the export. at the urging of the united states, the chinese have banned the illicit production, a growing number of fentanyls. we're also working in the -- dropped this thing again, sorry about that. we are working in the united nations internationally scheduled fentanyl precursors in march after a strong push by the united states, the commission on narcotic drugs have two fentanyl pre curer chemicals, and the fact that they're internationally scheduled items. we are talking with the chinese, working at the u.n. and through the national control board and working with partner countries to try and restrict this supply and put pressure on it and put --
arresting people with these. at home and abroad we have to use every tool in the toolbox it try to address this problem. the data, and the last full year of data, the new numbers come out in december of this year, and in a couple of months weeping the numbers are going to be about 60,000. we already know that in 2017, it's up again, and so the following year, it could be around 70,000. so, we really are experiencing in terms of fatalities, the worst epidemic in american history and we have a the lo-- a lot of work to do to turn around. we didn't get into this problem overnight. it took 15, 20 years of-- as far as the opioid problem of overprescribing medications. there are a lot of americans struggling with prescription drugs. unfortunately, many of them are migrating to use the heroin and then to fentanyl and it's an
enormous problem. so i want to be straight forward with you about it, that it's not something that we think that we can solve overnight, but it is something that we're working on, really hard, as a top administration, top trump administration priority. so, the theme of the conference this year is unique, time tested, and evidence based. a pretty good theme. did you come up with that yourself, paul? >> yes. [laughter] echt. >> guest: oxford house meets those criteria and i would add that oxford house is inspiring and innovative and crucial partners in addressing addiction in our country and i think that one of the attention on this terrible epidemic, maybe it creates a better environment for creating more oxford houses because god knows, we need more.
[applaus [applause] >> you've led the way and encouraged others through your commitment. 42 states that have oxford houses are better off because of your presence and you're needed more than ever during this opioid epidemic. paul, tell me the eight states that don't have them, we'll see if we can work with those as well. >> good. [applaus [applause] >> go back and tell you what you already know, there's no state in this country that doesn't have people addicted to drugs and in recovery and who need sober housing. [applaus [applause] >> this is an unprecedented public health and public safety problem and it's put a lot of stress on states and communities who don't know where to turn. it's reassuring that local leaders can turn to oxford house, a program that's been in the national registry of evidence-based practice and proceeds and that's the acronym, since 2011.
the federal gold standard of evaluated programs. i know it took work for oxford house to get in that registry, but it really helps us so when oxford house is talking to state officials about the house, you can mention that it's an evidence-based practice and they can look it up if they don't believe you. [applaus [applause] >> so we all have a role to play in this, from the federal government, to those providing safe and sober housing all over the country. so, thank you for the honor of being here today to address you, thanks for everything you do to help people and sustain recovery and to flourish and to get their lives back. it's a pleasure to be here today. i look forward to hearing more about the oxford house, i tell you, you've got a good friend in the white house anytime you need us. thank you. [applaus
[applause] >> thank you very much, richard. i think that all of us look forward to tackling within of the biggest problems that the country is faced in a long time and that is the business of drug deaths going up instead of going down. i remember when automobile deaths were 35,000 a year and congress really responded with saying, we've got to pass laws that put seat belts in cars, air bags, we've got to reduce the number of those deaths. and the number of automobile deaths have been reduced, substantially. and it seems to me that we have to focus on the drug epidemic the same kind of-- with the same kind of laser
intensity and say, how can we really focus on reducing the harm that comes from people dying really through no-fault of their own. partly because what they get is something they don't xpect. as richard pointed out, so many of these pills, so much of the street drugs have fentanyl or other dangerous components in them, and there is no truth in advertising. i know that could invite all kinds of other laws that we could have truth in advertising, but i do think that all of us, at this convention, can learn a little bit more here and in washington state, in oregon and all around the country, people learn a little bit more to say how are
we going to tackle this problem that together we'll be able to make great headway. today, for example, people who get in an automobile tend to automatically put on their seat belts and we don't even think about it. and i think that that occurs when the country as a whole begins to focus on what is the problemand what is the solution. the problem with drug use and drug overdoses, that often times we're not providing alternatives. the problem with treatment is that too often we say relapse is part of the disease and we cycle people in and out. too many times in incarceration, we figure, we put somebody away for a while, we fix them. and yet, when people come out, 70% of the folks who come out of prison and jails will go back within three or four months. and usually, the reason we go
back is, if we go into our old behavior patterns and pick up drugs again and pick up booze again and act crazy. i'm reminded of marty walker who often tells his story and you know, i think by the time he was 35, he got into an oxford house and probably has 20 more years under his belt now, but for a long time, marty would get arrested and go to prison and instead of focusing on how do i stay out of trouble, he would focus how can i knock off that 7-eleven better than the last time. of course, he'd get out and try it and get caught again and go back in. well, oxford house stands there as an institution that may be able to help a lot of folks in that kind of situation. and you know, and i know, that in state after state, you all
are reaching into the prison systems and saying to folks who got a booze or a drug problem, when you get out, come live with us. in state after state, you're holding interviews for people who come into our house by way of skype or some of these other fancy new, modern fanangled things. and curtis in north carolina i think goes to the prison gates and walks with the folks leaving prison and takes them directly to an oxford house. [applaus [applause]. he can run i'm sure, meets with folks week after week in the jail system and tells them that god can be of help to them, but while god is doing work you better be living in oxford
house or you're going to screw up. [applaus [applause] >> what is coming up at this convention is important stuff. some of this stuff is where we enjoy each other's company and we learn more about our large and growing family. some of the stuff involving voting for folks to be on the world council, and really making democracy work close up. i see those pink t-shirts out there, vote-- [cheers and applaus [cheers and applause] there's pink campaigners, blue campaigners and in between campaigners, but remember to get your petitions in by noon and vote so that tomorrow we can have some new members on the world council.
while you're doing all that, get to meet the directors of oxford house, inc. who are here, jerry collins is here, presenting the 100 year award at the end of today. dr. hoffman is here, janice jordan is here, james is here, stu getlow is here, talk to those folks because they represent you and do a really good job of it. in addition to that, you've got substantive programs coming up. we have 25 different breakout sessions where big-time stuff is talked about. after this session we're going to have a little break and then the subject dr. gitlow is going to run a panel that talks about the opioid crisis and at the same time, there will be other panels going on. dr. gitlow's panel will in this
room, opioid facts and experiences and many others are on that panel that will give you some really good information. in renaissance west you're going to have the nuts and bolts of opening oxford house, the basics. oxford house and state agencies, most of the states where we have done well, and we have houses, we've worked closely with the single state agencies that deal with alcoholism and drug addiction and that panel is going to tell how we did it and how we can hope to enter into agreements with states where we don't have agreements. dr. clark, at the end of the clinton administration, the clinton administration was cleaning up the business of getting rid of mandates on states. and dr. clark said one of those is the state has to set up a revolving loan fund.
you might want to speak up and say something so they don't eliminate that mandate. one of the many mistakes in my life is that i was arrogant and i said to dr. clark, if the states are too dumb to use this, screw them. we should make it permissive, not a mandate. and we did, and so there's only 14 states that have that loan fund now. one part of me feels good about it, one part of me says that was pretty stupid. but in any event, that panel was going to discuss state agencies working with oxford house. we're also going to have a panel at the same time that deals with working with drug courts and parole and probation. a good friend, a judge in montgomery county, that panel will look at what are the practical problems of dealing with folks, how do you send folks off and say, how do you
get your tail into an oxford house. joe has done a good job in hawaii. he's going to chair that panel. then we're going to also be talking about educating the public about recovery. when we started oxford house, it was a great secret, alcoholics anonymous, and now people are speaking up and this panel is going to focus on that. we're going to follow that up with a second round of panels and the panel in this room is going to be oxford house and reentry from prison where we really focus on that. we've got more people in prison and jails in this country than we've had at any time in our history and most of the people who are in jails and prison got a booze or a drug problem. and they're going to go right
back if they don't have an opportunity to change behavior. oxford house provides that opportunity. we're going to talk about how programs like the one in north carolina where curtis goes into prisons and jails and convinces people, have we got a deal for you, instead of knocking off a 7-eleven, come live with us and get a job and you won't come back to jail. simple system. take a look at your program, take a break, grab a cup of coffee, but get back here in 15 minutes so we can stay on schedule. [applaus [applause]. [inaudible conversations] >> please remember, if you're going to smoke, go behind the starbucks in the alleyway. do not block the valet. please remember to downloaded guidebook app to help you with the convention and the schedule
>> as you heard, about a 15 minute break here in this conference on combatting drug abuse. when starts up again, the deputy director on drug abuse and other doctors will look at opioid abuse, treatment expansion and a recent report issued by combatting opioid addiction. and the need for post-jail recovery and smooth transition into society and coming up this afternoon there will be presentations about acute care and long-term recovery and training programs for medical students working with drug abuse patients. live coverage resuming here on c-span2 in just a couple of moments. news items to pass on as we wait for the conference to continue, as hurricane harvey recovery efforts continue the associated press says that the white house has another first
down payment for the recovery efforts in the next weeks are adequately funded. a senior administration says that they will be submitted on friday and votes likely next week. jobs numbers are out from associated press, u.s. employers added a steady 156,000 jobs in august and the unemployment rate ticks up from 4.3, to 4.4%. again, the day long oxford house conference. a brief breaks, we'll show the beginning remarks as things are getting underway. [applaus [applause] >> good morning, oxford house. >> good morning. >> good morning, oxford house! >> good morning. >> it is indeed an honor and a pleasure and a privilege to be here to welcome you to this 19th world convention na--
that you're having and we are so excited you're here. the work that you do touches lives in a way that, as much as i love what i do and as much as i work hard in what i do and enurge can my 1300 plus staff to support everything that you need, it can't replace what you do. and so, i'm grateful and thankful for the partnership that we have with oxford house. wanted to bring greetings from our mayor, she's excited you're here and welcome to the great city. anywhere you go, they'll tell you feel free to spend your money, feel free to expand our economy. we're excited that you're here and we're proud to be the seat of oxford house. we're proud to be the place where your origins are, where you call home because we know home is where the heart is. we're proud of our 32 oxford homes and we're encouraging add one more, we can fill them up
happily and sadly, right? [applause] we're very excited. when i came to the district of columbia their vision statement said recovery is possible and i said, no, no, no, that's not food enough. recovery is the expectation. we expect if we do our job, you can do yours. [applause] . >> so our vision statement says district of columbia is a thriving community for mental health ab substantial abuse disorder is possible and recovery is the expectation. that's what we want to leave you with today. the remembrance that we are here to make your recovery the expectation. with the right support and services and with your arm on the recovery end, we are excited to be your partner, we're excited that oxford-- excuse me, oxford house offers a safe, affordable and in the district affordable is the key
word because affordable is very difficult to find. i have not been able to live west of rock creek park. [laughter] >> we're just excited that you're here. the oxford houses in d.c. are beautiful. if you have an opportunity to visit one, i'm sure they would welcome you. we have oxford houses that are specialized for women and children because we want to meet every need. when you're ready to make that step, we want to be there to hold your hand and give you what you need to continue on your journey. again, we're excited that you're here and looking forward to the decisions that you make in the serious contemplation that you'll continue to do the important work of oxford house here in the district and around the world. thank you so much. [applaus [applause] >> thank you, dr. royster. one of the things that dr. royster mentioned is what is
part of oxford house's uniqueness. we started out with the premise that relapse should be the exception not the norm. in 1975 no one really had thought that way. as a matter of fact, in 2000 no one was thinking that way. unfortunately, many today do not think that way. and what has become the mantra in the treatment field is that relapse is part of the disease. as good alcoholics and drug addicts, we make sure to fulfill that mantra by relapsing over and over and over again. the frft-- federal government publishes something like that data set. it takes a snapshot of what he is going on in the country, how many people are probably
alcoholics or drug addicts, which is about 25 million. of that 25 million, about 17 million are plain old alcoholics. about 8 million are addicted to other drugs. and each year, about 1.7 of those 25 million get any kind of treatment at all. the rest don't. but when you look at folks who do get treatment like us, most of us had some kind of treatment. those 1.7 million folks who get into treatment each year, 15% of them, it is their fifth time through treatment. wow. when you think about it, that really isn't very efficient. somebody should sit back and say, maybe something's wrong, to recycle five times through
treatment. when you look at everybody in treatment, the average number of times folks who have been through treatment is about 3.5 times. holy cow. we worried about that in the early days in 1975, and we said, okay, maybe relapse is part of the disease and when somebody relapses, perhaps we should give them another chance. and the first four guys who relapsed, we said, okay, charlie, you can stay, but don't drink or don't use drugs again. and poor old charlie drank and used drugs again within a week, and that was because he said those guys will give me another chance. and there came a time, as a matter of fact, the very next time that charlie relapsed when
we all said, you're out of here. you're going to screw us up by drinking or using drugs and we're trying to stay clean and sober. so from that point on, part of the whole business of oxford house is that one drink or one use of drugs, your peers throw you out. i mention this whole business of peers because when we were in this business in the first oxford house, we couldn't afford to run it like a halfway house. the halfway house in 1975 cost $114,000 to run and the reason it cost $114,000 to run is that they hired a cook, they hired a house manager, and they hired a counsellor. we couldn't hire anybody. we didn't have the money, quite apart from the pact th--
the fact that we were all so cheap. and so, it was that we had to figure out a way how we could govern ourselves. i had lucked into a job while in the halfway house so i said to my fellow roommates, don't worry, i'll pay a whole lot. and they said, that's what makes us worry. you're already trying to be big boss. if we let you pay more than us, you're going to be impossible to live with. and so, from the beginning within oxford house was the notion that everybody pay an equal share. those of you here today come from states, come from places around the country, where every single oxford house follows that same principle. i used to say if oxford house could be like mcdonald's where the french fries taste the same no matter where you go, we've got something special.
and we do have something special because each of you in each oxford house all around the country follow the same format. and part of that format is, if you drink or use drugs, there will be a house meeting and if half the folks at the house meeting believe you have relapsed, goodbye. and guess what? that works pretty well. we weren't sure how well it worked until 1987. a fellow from catholic university who used to work with dr. dupont at nida retired from the national on drug abuse. and he said can i study what happens in oxford house. i should sure, and they keep track how many came in and
whether they were voted in or out, but fine. and this guy tracked down 1280 people and in those few houses in d.c. and maryland in the early days, from 1975 to 1987, 1280 people had lived in those houses. he interviewed them all and he came to us and he said 80% of the folks who moved into oxford house stayed clean and sober. and wit and john and i and others at the oxford house said, what are we doing wrong? we're losing 20%. explain-- explained to us, no, what we were doing was exceptional. most places would be happy if 20% stayed clean and sober. here was some system, some way, some scheme that ended up with 80% of the folks staying clean and sober.
[applaus [applause] >> when we look back, we now realize there were a couple of things that accounted for that. one is we ran the show ourselves. democratically, making decisions on issues, democratically deciding who came in and who was thrown out, and that was a big deal because it avoided the "we" versus "them" thing. you know, if you've been in prison or been in a normal halfway house, or if you've been in a nut house, there's always some big boss. you look at that movie "one flew over the cuckoo's nest",
every place has a nurse ratchet. it's those situations that bonds you together. if you're one of the inmates is the "we" versus "them" thing. it's us inmates versus that damn establishment. and we spend so much time on the "we" versus "them" thing that we forget what we're trying to do. i remember when frank was a house manager. frank was obsessed when you clean the frying pan, you have to go clock-wise with the sos pad. [laughter] >> every time i'd clean the frying pan i'd go counter clock-wise. and john, the roommate of wit and i would say, frank, paul is going counter clock-wise! well, now, all of a sudden, we're running the show ourselves. and it didn't matter whether
you went clockwise or counter clockwise. as a matter of fact, because we were running the show ourselves and we limited the time we'd stay in office and everybody would pay equal shares, there were no big bosses and that made a big difference. the other big difference was and is that you could live in an oxford house as long as you want. that first halfway house had a rule you had to move out at the end of the six months. 11 people had to move out during the first three months i was there, the six months were up. >> we're going to start in four minutes. minutes.
>> back in 1971, this postage stamp came out. and this is a path you've been down before. the whole question about drug abuse and issues that revolve around open ideas. today we'll be going through the opioid crisis, facts and experiences, but what we need to remember, one of the keys to remember is that in the midst of this opioid crisis, in the midst of the burgeoning numbers of individuals who are dying as a direct result of their use of opioid opioids, we have to keep in mind, it represents a comparative drop in the bucket. 50,000 lives lost last year, due to opioids, no small
number, however, we have to compare that to the 80,000 lives lost due to alcohol, and the 500,000 lives lost due to cigarette smoking. remember, the number one leading cause of death in people with addictive disease and recovery, is smoking-related illness. so, the major issue for us to deal with, remains tobacco. ap the second most significant issue for us to deal with remains alcohol. the media attention to the opioid crisis is wonderful, because it brings attention to addictive disease as a whole. but remember what's happening is that there are roughly three 747's a day crashing and the media is focused on the car crash. all right? we need every chance we get to
ensure that we're also paying attention to the 747's full of people and that we don't just look at the car crash. all right. coming back to the 50,000 lives lost due to opioids, let's figure out where that comes from, and basically, we've got a panel today, we've all got about 15 minutes, ten minutes or so, i'm going to try to take as little of that as possible, but i want to set the stage. the opioid crisis arose, if you will, out of roughly a perfect storm. three things went wrong. the first thing that went wrong is that doctors who, remember, for many years were reluctant to prescribe opiates because they didn't want to see people get in trouble by them. doctors were told by largely the pharmaceutical industry, hey, there are long acting pharmaceuticals, long acting
opiates that would work well to treat your patients with pain. never mind the fact there's never been any literature to indicate that opioids work with anyone with chronic pain, noncancer pain, no evidence that they do. the initial reaction to people receiving an opioid is oh, that makes me feel better. surprised? so, when people feel that way, they come back and they ask for more. the doctor says, oh, good, it's working. when they come back and ask for more, if they are turned down, the patient is dissatisfied, which leads to part two of the perfect storm. at the same time as the availability of long-acting opioids started, we had
physicians and medical facilities being told that the way they would do well, the way they would be certified, the way they would get a goldstar, is by making sure that patients were satisfied. well, if a patient came back in and said, well, doc, those 30 vicodin worked well for me, i'd like 30 more and you tell the patient, no, i'm sorry you've already had a month's supply of vick vicodin, we're not going to give you any more, do you think the patient is satisfied? the patient would leave a black mark instead of a goldstar. and we'd end up with thousands of individuals taking opiates for a condition for which opioids are not indicated. suddenly, people realized this is a problem. we need to stop that. doctors were reeducated, programs that were giving out
opioids like m & m's were closed down. what happened to all of those individuals who were taking opiates every day who could no longer get them from their favorite family physician? well, they left and they went to the street. when they went to the street what they found, and this is part three of the perfect storm, is that over the past bunch of years, the united states has turned from importing marijuana to exporting marijuana because we grow, apparently, good marijuana. because we grow good marijuana and because marijuana is increasingly accepted in the united states, we have an abundance of the plant, and we now send our marijuana across the borders instead of bringing it in. the department of justice pointed out, well, these folks who sold us the marijuana, they
need other centers of profit now. and in order to accomplish that, they sent us cheap heroin at the exact time that our patients could no longer obtain prescription narcotics from the pill mills they used to go to for their opioids, they go to the street, there's cheap pure heroin. unfortunately, sometimes laced with fentanyl to give you a better feeling if you don't die. all right. so, these were the three steps that brought us to the point where we're at now. so, as we've been educating this clinical community, and we've seen a drop in the number of people getting prescriptions for opiates, we've seen an equal, if not greater increase in the use of street opioids, like heroin. so, we're not even close to stopping this crisis yet, and i
don't think we'll at the point of stopping the crisis until the country recognizes that addictive disease is addictive disease independent of drugs. you can't be a country that embraces marijuana and encourages the use of a drug that gives you better living through chemistry. at the same time, as you have a crisis of addictive disease that's killing tens of thousands of people a year. and a crisis of alcohol and tobacco use that's killing hundreds of thousands of people a year. you can't, in that context say, but we still love addictive drugs. therefore, let's make them legal. doesn't make sense. so, let's go ahead with our panel. we've got a great panel for you today. we've got dr. wilson compton from the national institute of drug abuse. we have dr. wesley clark, faculty now at university of
santa clara. we have marty walker, jut reach house coordinator. and lori, oxford house regional management and john major, the researchers and clinical psychology professor at truman college. so, i look forward to hearing from our panel today and i apologize they all have only about ten minutes apiece, but like i said, we will try and cram in all of that information for you today. we'll turn quickly to dr. compton. [applaus [applause]. >> threw, dr. gitlow, it's a pleasure to be here. i've been a fan of oxford house for many, many years. i lived in st. louis until the 2000's and we had a new oxford house in my neighborhood. back in the early '90s and they were having trouble, the neighbors were trying kick them out actually using illegal reasons because they said there
were too many different unrelated people in the house. that turns out that's discriminatory. you can't discriminate against people who are in recovery. i had a pleasure of being one of the neighbors and also a little bit of an expert in the field in some court cases. i was pleased they'd succeeded and been a successful home on the western west end. ...
to reenter society, to reorganize their daily activities for the memories begin to fade, not quite so powerful craves and and normal activities and family and loving relationships to take the place where drugs occupied so much mental space. that is why oxford plays a key role in long-term recovery, we didn't talk about that as much in terms of the opioid crisis. we need to look at long-term recovery supports and oxford house to be the key process to address the underlying issue related to the opioid crisis which is addiction in some people. now that is really my main points. if that is all you remember i said that would be fine. at the national institute on drug abuse, our job to bring science to address the health
problems related to addiction. how can science be solutions related to the opioid crisis? some relates to bringing information about it. so we certainly know that it has played a major role in overdose deaths. that of course is what is drawing all the attention, is phenomenal and destructive power of opioids in our communityies in terms of how people are killing. it is killing people in different parts of the country not used to having drug problems. it has been a rural and suburban areas disproportionately. that is reason it drew so much attention. it is population that said, addiction is somebody else's issue. now their on communities in ways visibility and unfortunate. deaths are number one reason it dress drawn intention but also
hiv. alpana was harder to senator. that was mistake. turned it to inject regularly. it has a short half-life. it doesn'ts have very long. people inject frequently. this part of the country had no public health infrastructure. nobody was bringing messages of safety and recovery and support and treatment to that community. the result was we had first hepatitis-c. of course spread by sharing of infected injection equipment and hiv outbreak where 4% of that community was infected of hiv. not just of the group but entire community. that is really astounding. we have deaths, infections. to add further to the complexity, it is not just opioids but with other sedatives. it is not just heroin, fentanyl
and drugs but combination with sedative agents. that is all too medical combination. some of my colleagues are helping to fuel this by supplying both the opioids and the sedatives that help cause this. it is also neonatal syndrome. that is fancy way babies exposed in utero during pregnant any to opioids and we've seen the rates be a really significant issue in some parts of the country. i visited charleston, west virginia, where the hospitals there, one in 10 babies, that means every day they were seeing babies who had, who were suffering from opioid withdrawal when firstborn. fortunately we have reasonable treatments and ways to help these babies but it is an indication that the not only baby may have difficulty but the family needs help. we pay attention to the babies but turn to the moms and turn their lives around and you have
all the recovery it you seek? okay. that is enough about some of the backgrounds. what are we trying to do about this? i would love to say we have the solution. unfortunately the data don't suggest that. the data suggest number of people dying of overdose continues to increase. first the prescription pills, driven i would suggest as dr. getlow eye lighted by mark. purdue pharmaceutical, one example of a company that engaged in engreen just marketing practice is to promote the products. meant so many millions of people were exposed to them and misusing them and number of become addicted to have the deadly outcomes. the other economics are for heroin. heroin is a remarkable product. we've seen new distribution routes. i mentioned that i lived in st. louis. when i was there working in the
addiction field in the '90s we didn't have much of a heroin problem in st. louis. that is not true in the last 15 years. because so many people already taking the pills, and misusing them, there was a recognition there is untapped market a cheaper, readily available opioid that could be sold on the streets. that is what heroin represents a cheaper readily available. cities like st. louis that didn't have a opioid problem but also rural and suburban communities. there were a number of deaths particularly in chicago, philadelphia a couple of other areas, brought about one site as far as we can tell manufactured fentanyl illegally. when the site closed down the outbreak pretty much disappeared. didn't completely disappear but for the most part. there are tens of thousands as far as i'm informed companies