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"The Anonymous People"—Groundbreaking Film about Addiction and the New Addiction Recovery Advocacy Movement Screened Prior to Panel Discussion in Rare U.S. Capitol Event-Open to Press

WASHINGTON, D.C.—September 11, 2013—Members of Congress, Administration officials, and leaders from the addiction recovery advocacy community will conduct a panel discussion to address drug and alcohol addiction, what has been America’s largest silent public health crisis– until now. The Anonymous People: Changing the Conversation from Addiction to Recovery, will be hosted by U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH), Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY), Representative Hal Rogers (R-KY), and sponsored by Faces & Voices of Recovery and Transforming Youth Recovery. The esteemed panel will include: White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Deputy Director, Michael Botticelli; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Administrator, Pamela Hyde; filmmaker Greg Williams; Rhode Island Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts (RICARES) Board President Tom Coderre; and Carol McDaid, Capitol Decisions. The panel will consider the undeniable benefits of addiction recovery to our national interest, and how elected officials, the recovery community, and general public can work together to eliminate the barriers of discrimination and criminalization that keep Americans from getting the help they need to recover.

"There are over 23 million Americans in long term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, benefiting individuals, families, communities and the nation," said Pat Taylor, Executive Director, Faces & Voices of Recovery. "It’s time to remove barriers to recovery and support people seeking or in recovery across our nation."

"We must work together to provide people who are fighting to overcome addiction with the support they need," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. "I will continue to fight for federal programs and policies that help recovering Americans reclaim their lives."

The panel will follow a special screening of the groundbreaking new feature documentary film, "The Anonymous People", by Greg Williams, a person in long-term recovery. The film portrays the raw reality of the drug and alcohol addiction public health crisis in America through powerful interviews with researchers, former Members of Congress Patrick Kennedy and Jim Ramstad, advocacy leaders, celebrities and average Americans living in recovery. The film’s story focuses on the birth of a new movement in America, the New Addiction Recovery Advocacy Movement, which models itself after other health movements, like women with breast cancer and people with HIV/AIDS, and calls for a more aggressive, open and vocal approach to advocacy.

"This film is not your tired old addiction story often seen on reality television or in the news," said Williams. "There are no needles hanging out of people’s arms, pictures of the brain, or fried eggs in a pan. We set out to find the answer to one very fundamental question: Why don’t we treat addiction in this country like any other health issue?"

The forum is expected to explore the approach that government and healthcare providers have historically taken to drug and alcohol treatment: criminalizing and too often giving superficial treatment to a chronic health condition – addiction. As a result, addiction now comes with an annual price tag of $350 billion. A growing movement is calling for expanding the continuum of care, legislation and legal protections for people in addiction and recovery, increased public health investment in recovery research and education, and an end to discrimination and the shedding of stereotypes about people with the health condition.

According to addiction recovery expert William White, "It is time we acknowledged that we cannot incarcerate our way out of the nation's alcohol and drug problems.  It is time we replaced acute care models of crisis intervention into the most severe addictions with models of sustained recovery management on par with how we manage diabetes, hypertension and other complex chronic health problems.  Achieving the latter will require creating the space within local communities where recovery can flourish.  Vanguards of people in recovery throughout the United States are ready to step forward in partnership to create this healing space.  It is time we shifted our focus from the problem to what can be learned from the solutions that already exist for millions of Americans.  That time is now."

About Faces & Voices of Recovery

Faces & Voices of Recovery is organizing the over 23 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.

About Transforming Youth Recovery

The Stacie Mathewson Foundation, founded in 2011 by Stacie Mathewson, is focused on addiction recovery and prevention for young people; and is committed to erasing the social stigma associated with substance use disorders. Presently, the Foundation is acting on the call for the expansion of community-based recovery support models to extend the continuum of care into schools and colleges. This is being undertaken through a capacity-building approach that supports local coalitions as they mobilize their community-based assets to help youth in recovery live their best lives.

About "The Anonymous People"

"The Anonymous People" is an independent film written and produced by recovery advocate Greg Williams under 4th Dimension Productions. The film is distributed through KinoLorber and its Alive Mind Cinema. Screenings will be held in New York City on September 17 and in Los Angeles in October, continuing through mid-2014. The film is distributed via a new crowd-sourcing, theatrical-on-demand model from Gathr. It will be available later this year for educational distribution, community screenings and digital download prior to a general digital and retail video release in 2014. To view "The Anonymous People" film trailer, visit: Portions of the trailer may be used for news broadcast with prior approval.