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The Chauvin Verdict and the Need for Equity in Addiction Treatment

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Last summer, a tragic series of deaths, culminating in the gruesome killing of George Floyd, spurred global protests and an overdue reckoning within our country and our addiction treatment community. Nearly a year later, NAATP believes the guilty verdicts in the Chauvin trial were rightfully reached and offer some measure of accountability for the tragic murder of George Floyd. We wish for peace and healing for his family and loved ones. We hope to see the same accountability in the cases of the countless other Black, Indigenous, and people of color who have lost their lives to state violence, as recently as this week. We are committed to uplifting, supporting, and investing in lasting interpersonal and systemic change toward racial and social equity. 

As noted in our CEO Marvin Ventrell’s social injustice statement released last June, George Floyd’s murder holds implications for the treatment and recovery field. Those implications were on display throughout Derek Chauvin’s trial, as the defense attempted to make the trial a question of Floyd’s relationship with substance use. As treatment providers and recovery advocates, it is our responsibility to combat stigma and defend the humanity of every individual living with a substance use disorder – particularly when the disease of SUD is used as a shield for police violence. We know that substance use disorder is a chronic bio-psycho-social-spiritual brain disease, we know that it is treatable, and we know that there exists vastly disparate access to treatment based on race and other social indicators. It is incumbent upon us, therefore, to stand up in the truth of that message and take action. 

Guided by the NAATP Advisory Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity, we will continue our work to remove barriers to the treatment and recovery support services that we know will save lives. For more information, please visit our NAATP Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Resources page. 

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