Uniting Around the Opioid Crisis

as delivered by

Addiction Policy Forum Frounder, President & CEO

Jessica Hulsey Nickel

at the

Independent Women's Forum 2018 Annual Awards Dinner

November 14, 2018


Jessica Hulsey Nickel:

Thank you so much, and thank you for having us here today.  What an amazing evening, and I love IWF.  I'm a big fan.  And you can tell because I dressed to match the logo.  Look at that.

I am the founder of the Addiction Policy Forum and we are building a patient advocacy organization for all the families and patients that are struggling with addiction in this country, and I am incredibly grateful to IWF as one of our newest partners and addressing this crisis, so thank you so much.  It has been such a pleasure, and the work you do it so important.

Women are sort of unique in this crisis because while our male counterparts are more likely to begin developing a substance use disorder, women who have an addiction, their disease worsens more quickly.  

So, we need to make sure that we are providing services that are unique to all of our patients that are struggling, and today in America we have 20 million people that are struggling with addiction.

The other unique parts of this that we need to address are how this affects us as moms, losing custody of our children, neonatal abstinence syndrome, and all the pieces, criminal justice involvement.  

So, coming together to build a comprehensive response with IWF and our other partners is so important.  There is no silver bullet and this is about coming together as a team, everyone from the industry, to lawmakers, to the media, to health care, policy makers, everyone together – kind of like this room, right – together at one table to address this and change how our country is responding to this illness.

I'm so excited that you all have a kit on your chairs, and just a little reminder, mini-PSA, we really need to make sure we're starting at home, so disposing of unused prescription medications is really important.  It is also a teachable moment with your own families to make sure that we are disposing of unused medications. I always sort of talk about when we change the clocks you should make sure that you clean out your medicine cabinet. So, this is sort of aptly timed.

So, take a look at the kit that you have, learn more about this, and get involved, because we do need everyone at that table to make a difference in how we address this disease. Thank you so much.