Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Dietary Guidelines on Alcohol

The USDA has proposed new Dietary Guidelines for Americans that include significant changes on alcohol that concern many public health experts. The deadline for public comments on the proposal is Thursday, July 15.

Every five years, the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) revisit the dietary guidelines "to promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases." The dietary guidelines include a chapter on alcohol (PDF). (A summary is on page D7-15.)

The Advisory Committee is recommending an average (weekly) rather than daily consumption guideline. Tim Naimi's accompanying commentary and Marin Institute's talking points (PDF) outline the issues. "The proposed change amounts to an endorsement for most men to consume up to 4 drinks and for most women to consume up to 3 drinks on days they actually consume alcohol," said Dr. Tim Naimi.

The real-world effect of the proposed new alcohol guidelines would likely be to encourage greater daily consumption of alcohol, discourage appropriate caution about using alcohol for health benefits, and open the door for the alcohol industry to misrepresent federal alcohol consumption guidelines to consumers, according to the Marin Institute.

Submit written comments to the USDA online (up to 2000 characters, attachments allowed). The USDA does consider all comments seriously before releasing the final version later in the year. But time is very short: the deadline is Thursday, July 15 at 5 pm E.D.T.

Should the draft dietary guidelines be revised?  Write to the USDA to share your views on the report.

See also:
Radical and Dangerous: Possible Changes to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Alcohol (Commentary by Dr. Tim Naimi)

New Guidelines on Alcohol Consumption Threaten Public Health & Safety (Talking points by Marin Institute, PDF)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Faces & Voices of Recovery Launches Online Guide to Mutual Aid

Over 50 Searchable Recovery Resources for the Recovery Community and Service Providers

Faces & Voices of Recovery has launched the Guide to Mutual Aid Resources, an online, one-stop resource for people looking for help with addiction and recovery. Visitors can find out about the many varieties of online and in person mutual aid groups that are helping people find and sustain their recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

The Guide is available on the Faces & Voices of Recovery web site and features over 50 mutual aid groups including Narcotics Anonymous, SMART Recovery and Women for Sobriety. “There is no other place on the web where someone can find such a user-friendly,comprehensive list of mutual aid resources,” said author William White. The groups are organized into practical categories like “Youth-Focused” or “Medication-Assisted.” There’s information about mutual aid groups organized by profession, alcohol or other drug,recovery pathway and more. “We are thrilled to be able to offer this useful and free resource to both the recovery community and service providers,” said Faces & Voices Executive Director Pat Taylor. “We encourage organizations and individuals to spread the word about this new tool,” she said.

The federal government’s 2010 National Drug Control strategy calls for “updated lists of mutual help groups as a potential resource to individuals seeking help for substance use disorders.” “Millions of Americans know first-hand what scientific research shows – mutual aid groups can be an important part of an individual’s recovery process,” said White. Anyone interested in mutual aid resources can also sign up to receive updates on upcoming conferences and conventions, new groups, books or tools and other relevant information.

The Guide to Mutual Aid Resources can be posted on organizational websites by using a logo downloadable from Faces & Voices (to download click here).

The Guide to Mutual Aid Resources was originally developed by Ernest and Linda Kurtz for the Behavioral Health Recovery Management project in 2001. In 2005, the Guide moved to Faces & Voices of Recovery and has been overseen by a 6-person committee of mutual aid experts. In 2009 Faces & Voices of Recovery received funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Partners for Recovery Initiative to enhance the Guide.

Faces & Voices of Recovery is a national nonprofit organization working to mobilize, organize and rally the 20 million Americans in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, their families, friends and allies in a campaign to end discrimination; broaden social understanding; and achieve a just response to addiction as a public health crisis.For more information, please visit:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Recovery Advocacy Tool Kit: Making Our Voices Count

Get the tools and resources you need to work on two important Faces & Voices initiatives
  • The Recovery Bill of Rights, a statement of the principle that all Americans have a right to recover from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. It was developed and adopted by Faces & Voices of Recovery‘s Board of Directors and has been endorsed by a broad alliance of national organizations.
  • The Recovery Voices Count campaign, our nonpartisan civic engagement effort to mobilize the recovery community so that our voices can be heard in the local, state and national arenas.

You can use these tools in your local recovery advocacy campaigns as well!

The kit includes media outreach templates, event organizing “how-to” materials and many other resources. The Recovery Advocacy Toolkit is a “living document,” we will be updating it with new materials as we develop new campaigns and organizing strategies.

Go to; click on resources to learn more.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Answering the Call to Civic Engagement and Public Service

Across the nation, people in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, their families, friends and allies are engaging friends, neighbors and leaders on all sides of the political aisle in the 2010 election cycle as part of Recovery Voices Count. They are registering voters, asking candidates questions organizing Candidate Forums and Town Hall meetings and will be Getting Out the Vote on Election Day. "By participating in nonpartisan civic engagement, we are educating the public and candidates for office about the reality of recovery from addiction and will be turning out the vote on November 2nd," said Faces & Voices Executive Director Pat Taylor.

A June 23, 2010 Burlington, VT town hall forum hosted by the Turning Point Center and Friends of Recovery Vermont (FOR-VT) will feature candidates in the State's Governor's race. The Recovery Voices Count campaign is nationwide. According to Fred Martin, who organized Recovery Voices Count activities with Pennsylvania Recovery Organization-Achieving Community Together (PRO-ACT) in 2008 and is heading up this year's campaign in Philadelphia, "It is very empowering for many in the recovery community who have prior convictions to learn that voting is a right and a responsibility that they can exercise to the fullest. They also realize how important it is to be educated on the candidates' positions."

The 2010 Recovery Voices Count campaign's organizing tools include the 2010 Guide to Nonpartisan Civic Engagement, Questions for Candidates and other materials. Campaign Coordinator Naomi Long will host a Recovery Voices Count teleconference on June 3, 2010 at 1:00 pm Eastern. Registration is free at

Faces & Voices is working intensively with lead recovery community organizations and allies in twelve states: Colorado (Advocates for Recovery); Connecticut (Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery); South Carolina (FAVOR-SC); Virginia (McShin Foundation); Minnesota (Minnesota Recovery Connection); Missouri (Missouri Recovery Network); Maryland (NCADD-Maryland); New Jersey (NCADD-New Jersey); Ohio (Ohio Citizen Advocates); Kentucky (PAR-People Advocating Recovery); Pennsylvania (PRO-ACT); and Massachusetts (MOAR- Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery).

About Faces & Voices of Recovery
Faces & Voices of Recovery is working to mobilize, organize and rally the millions of people in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, their families, friends and allies in a campaign to end discrimination; broaden social understanding; and achieve a just response to addiction as a public health crisis. For more information visit:

About the author:Betty Currier, CASAC, CPP-R
Betty Currier was a founding board member of Faces & Voices of Recovery and now serves on its Membership/Outreach Committee. She is a person in long-term recovery since January 1976, a New York State Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) and a founding member of Friends of Recovery of Delaware and Otsego Counties, a recovery community organization in upstate New York. She blogs on recovery community issues as well as developments involving Faces & Voices of Recovery.