The last eight years of the Obama administration have seen some positives and negatives related to many different policies, as is the case with every President. However, there is one stance that President Obama has taken that is hard to call anything but positive: His stand on mental health and substance abuse.


Barack Obama’s administration has overseen numerous steps forward related to the issue of people suffering from mental health and addiction: the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA), the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or what many have come to call Obamacare and the current Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2015, which is being called the most expansive federal, bipartisan legislation to date for addiction support services. Each of these were positive steps in having mental health and substance abuse being treated like any medical illness. Each of these were positive steps in having health insurance companies treat and pay for necessary services for those suffering from mental illness or addiction. And each of these were helpful in breaking the stigma of mental health and addiction, in creating conversation, in ending shame for sufferers and their families.


However, as former Senator and person in long term recovery from addiction Patrick Kennedy recently wrote in the Huffington Post, “I call on our president, and everyone who wants to be president, to offer bolder, more comprehensive plans to revolutionize our treatment of addiction and mental illness. There can be no health without mental health.” Yes, over the last eight years of the Obama administration much good has come for those people suffering and treating mental health and addiction, but there is so much more to do.


Whether it is Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush or any of the other candidates currently running in the Republican and Democratic presidential races, the question is: What will the new United States President’s stance be towards mental health and substance abuse? Will that take the baton from Barack Obama and continue progress, enforcing the laws of healthcare parity and aiding in breaking through stigma and ending discriminatory practices towards those suffering from mental health or substance abuse? Or will they falter, folding to the will of Big Pharma and the health insurance lobbyists?


These are major, important questions for this upcoming Presidential race. Already, Jeb Bush has spoken out about how addiction has touched him and his family and Hillary Clinton’s campaign proposed a $10 billion plan to “combat America’s deadly epidemic of drug and alcohol addiction.” Are these just soapbox antics or is it true that a shift has taken place in the consciousness of the American people regarding how we view mental health and addiction in America? Clearly the answers will not come until the next president is elected, but throughout that process and continuing forward, it is important that all who suffer from mental health and addiction, are in recovery, work in the field of treatment or who have in any way been personally impacted speak up and speak out. Change only happens and progress only continues when people make a decision to stand up, be counted and make sure their voices are heard by those that need to hear them.

If you or someone you know is in need of help because of drug and/or alcohol abuse, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Baltimore, Baltimore County and entire Maryland and Washington, D.C. area. If were aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at Contact us today. For more information on all of our drug addiction and alcohol addiction services and recovery resources, please visit our web site at

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