Educating Policy Makers
AAS members applaud the effort of contemporary legislators to require that evidence-based practices be rewarded and encourage every treatment program to include in its evidence-based practices those nutrition-based practices that have fifty years of evidence to prove their effectiveness.
With the crisis in our federal and local budgets due in large measure to the overwhelmed jails and prisons, filled to overflowing with nonviolent offenders whose crimes were fueled by their addiction, it is truly criminal to ignore research showing dramatic reductions in costs when inmates are fed nutritious food and given even the most inexpensive multivitamin/mineral compounds. In one California study in 1999, when the Department of Corrections invested just $1 in a modest multivitamin/mineral for inmates, the Department could measure $1,000 back in the budget by month's end due to the dramatic reduction in rule infractions and violence by inmates.
At least 18 studies have confirmed the reduction in aggression and rule infractions in prisoners and in students after improving their nutrition through reducing sugar and white flour products, increasing fruits, vegetables, and wholesome proteins, and adding nutritional supplements. In England, studies by Oxford researcher Bernard Gesch*, not only confirmed Stephen Schoenthaler, PhD's original research, it electrified the British press and public and led to significant improvements in prison nutrition.
The Alliance for Addiction Solutions is dedicated to educating policy makers about improved nutrition in schools and prisons as a logical and cost-effective strategy to begin treating the more than 80% of inmates addicted to drugs or alcohol. We are also dedicated to educating legislators and policy makers about the importance of including nutrition in every drug and alcohol treatment program across the country. Nutrition is the logical and most effective first step to correcting the underlying biochemical abnormality that triggers self-medication with drugs and alcohol.
Alliance members in California are heartened by the May 2008 report submitted to the state legislature by the Little Hoover Commission, an independent advisory body. Their recommendations included the following:
- Since mental health and addiction are inextricably entwined, combine the two streams of funding and treatment, creating collaborations between professional staffs and administrative staffs.
- Since addiction influences every cranny of our social fabric, including family violence, crime, malnutrition, public health, and more, there needs to be a greater emphasis on creative solutions by the leadership of the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.
- Since programs at the community level respond to financial incentives, the state Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs ought to insist that programs design their own goals and then de-fund the ones that don't meet those goals, and reward financially those who do.
Alliance members have been meeting with decision-makers to help them understand the far reaching consequences of using drug-free brain repair as a core value of treatment and of rewarding those programs that add nutritious food, nutritional supplements, acupuncture, and other drug-free modalities to their existing daily offerings.
*”Influence of supplementary vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids on the antisocial behaviour of young adult prisoners: randomized, placebo-controlled trial,” C. Bernard Gesch, Sean M. Hammond, Sarah E. Hampson, Anita Eves, and Martin J. Crowder, British Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 181, July 2002, 22-28.