AOR Statement: Patrick J. Kennedy Nomination to Presidential Commission on Combating America’s Opioid Crisis

Advocates for Opioid Recovery (AOR) applauds the nomination of Patrick J. Kennedy to the White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Patrick’s voice, experience, and legislative record is a perfect complement to the other notable nominees, and we believe we are poised for real, lasting results on this public health crisis that is currently claiming 91 lives a day.

Kennedy’s personal experience with addiction to opiates and his sponsorship of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act makes him the perfect person to serve with Governor Chris Christie, who has taken bold steps to combat the opioid epidemic in his own state of New Jersey, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, and Dr. Bertha Madras of Harvard University. The nomination of these subject matter experts and policymakers, all known for their records of achievement, is a positive step for the Administration.

Kennedy believes that policy should follow the evidence-base and clinical guidelines, and informs his work both as an advocate and an AOR advisor. Amid the deadliest public health crisis of our time, we need to invest in recovery solutions that work. The American Society of Addiction Medicine and the National Institute on Drug Abuse recommend medication-assisted treatment (MAT) – the use of recovery medications in combination with behavioral therapy – as the most effective approach to helping people achieve long-term recovery. Tragically, only 3% of people suffering from the disease of addiction receive MAT. Patrick, who was prescribed recovery medication after several abstinence-based in-patient rehabilitation efforts, was able to count himself among that 3%. He now fights passionately to save lives and repair families and communities by tirelessly working to break down the barriers to MAT.

The opioid crisis is a non-partisan issue, which is reflected in the collaboration of AOR’s advisors Patrick J. Kennedy, Newt Gingrich and Van Jones. Now is the moment to turn the recommendations of these experts in the field of mental health and addiction into actions that can save thousands of lives.

Advocates for Opioid Recovery is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing a science-based, evidence-based treatment system that can reduce death and suffering from opioid addiction, and produce more long-term opioid addiction survivors who are positively engaged in their families and communities. To learn more about AOR and our policy recommendations, please visit



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