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Press Release

ATTACHED PHOTOS

CARA families gathered at the Federal Triangle for a press conference.

Dylan Armus and Executive Director of Horses Healing Hearts Lizabeth Olszewski

Sis Wenger and Lizabeth Olszewski

Liz Olszewski, Dylan Armus and Congressman Ted Deutch

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Horses Healing Hearts Pushes for Expansions in CARA bill

Written by: Kendall Bierer
Client: Horses Healing Hearts, Inc. http://www.horseshealingheartsusa.org
Release Date: 2016-05-21

Washington, D.C. - May 21, 2016 – Horses Healing Hearts (HHH) founder Liz Olszewski and HHH participant Dylan Armus met with members of Congress this week to urge legislators to increase support for children of addicts and to reintroduce student assistance programs to schools. They also told legislators about the one-of-a-kind Horses Healing Hearts equine program for children of addiction.

Olszewski and Armus traveled to Washington, D.C. on May 18 at the invitation of NACoA President and HHH Advisory Board Member Sis Wenger, a national advocate for children of alcoholics, to support the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, CARA.

CARA "establishes a comprehensive, coordinated, balanced strategy through enhanced grant programs that would expend prevention and education efforts while also promoting treatment and recovery."  The bi-partisan bill passed both the Senate and the House with strong support from both parties.

However, the bill falls short in addressing the needs of the most vulnerable victims of addiction: the children of addicts. Both Wenger and Olszewski believe children's programs are a critical part of the recovery process, and that legislation must address their needs. Statistics show sons of addicts are four times more likely to become addicted to substances (Goodwin, D.W. (1985). Alcoholism and genetics. Archives of General Psychiatry, 42, 171-174.)

As participants in the 2016 CARA Family Day on May 18, Olszewski and Armus shared their stories with legislators through testimony at the hearing of the Bi-partisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, co-chaired by Congressman Frank Guinta (R-NH) and Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH), along with Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI).

Fourteen-year-old Armus was the only child of addiction to testify at the event, and his honest and moving testimony in front of the Task Force won accolades from Congressman Ted Deutch (D-Fla).

The Congressman thanked Armus on Facebook, saying, "I am so proud of my young constituent, Dylan Armus, who traveled from Boynton Beach to Washington to share the story of how his mother’s addiction impacted his life, and how Horses Healing Hearts of Wellington helped to mend his relationship with her. Thank you, Dylan, for sharing your powerful testimony."

Olszewski commented, “We are extremely proud of Dylan for having the courage to stand up in front of Congress and speak from his personal experience, giving a voice to the millions of children of addicts. For too long we have simply reacted.  It’s not enough.  We desperately need a comprehensive strategy of prevention to get in FRONT of this epidemic.  Until we do this, it will keep growing. During the testimony of 27 families who lost loved ones to addiction we heard multiple cases of mothers and fathers suffering heart issues during this difficult time and siblings attempting suicide for ‘guilt’ over not doing more for their sibling lost to overdose.   The families and children of addiction MUST have help along with the recovering addict.”

After the hearing, Olszewski and Armus met with Deutch, as well as Senator Joseph Abruzzo (D-Fla).  

Olszewski met individually with Senators and members of Congress on May 19 to discuss HHH, prevention strategies, and other issues related to addiction and treatment.

As the child of alcoholics and someone who has dedicated her life to helping children of addicts and alcoholics, Olszewski is optimistic about the attention Congress is giving to the problem. "The CARA bill is a monumental and historic step in the right direction. HHH is very thankful to the legislators who have worked tirelessly to get it this fare. However, we urge legislators to add specific language to protect children and families.  This is a family disease."

HHH is the only program in the country using horses to help children of alcoholics and addicts. The West Palm Beach, Florida charity emphasizes prevention and breaking the familial cycle of addiction, while providing a safe place for children to explore their feelings and heal emotionally. 

To learn more about Horses Healing Hearts, log on towww.HHHUSA.org, email Liz Olszewski at liz@hhhusa.org or call (561) 713-6133. To find out more about student assisted programs,  please visit www.NACoA.org. For more information on how you can support CARA, log on to http://www.cadca.org/comprehensive-addiction-and-recovery-act-cara.

 

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