Guiding Principles

Members of the Coalition honor the following guiding principles when discussing issues, our work and advocating for policy and systems improvement.

  • We promote the understanding that both mental illness and substance use disorders are diseases of the brain. Like asthma and diabetes, a substance use disorder is a chronic, relapsing disease that requires long-term care and management. But there is remission, just like you can get diabetes under control, and you can reach recovery from addiction. The key difference is that addiction is an illness of the brain.
  • We promote education, early detection, intervention, and prevention of these diseases. Research has shown that effectively addressing behavioral health issues like addiction involves four basic elements: promoting health and well-being, preventing substance abuse, providing treatment, and fostering recovery.
  • We promote the understanding that the needs of communities are specific to that individual community; the formation and strengthening of partnerships at the local level are extremely important. Significant improvement in mental health and substance use disorder service is largely dependent on partnerships being formed or strengthened at the local community level. If we are to be successful in implementing long-term change, stakeholders from local communities must be involved so that services and supports can be modeled to fit specific needs.