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George Hoehmann, Executive Director/CEO of Rockland Independent Living Center and Sally Corbett, Executive Director of Stepping Stones in Katonah were invited to participate in a special meeting on January 21, 2015 at the White House on improving access to services for persons in recovery from substance abuse and mental health disorders.

The meeting was hosted jointly by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and featured discussions about how agencies, nonprofits and others can work together, explore issues of how to improve access to services for persons in need of treatment and strategies to improve the overall system of care. Acting ONDCP Director Michael Botticelli led a panel discussion featuring several policy experts on the latest programs, policies, and how the Affordable Care Act is expanding coverage and access.

Ms. Corbett and Mr. Hoehmann, who is also a Councilman for the Town of Clarkstown, also serve on the National Recovery Month Planning Partners Work Group which is holding its quarterly meeting on January 22nd.  So in addition to the White House meeting, they participated in the program planning process for the annual National Recovery Month in September, which meets at SAMHSA headquarters and is tasked with designing programs to promote Recovery Month and to spread the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.

Ms. Corbett explains that “The Stepping Stones Foundation is pleased to participate in this important national conversation about alcoholism and addiction. Among the pioneers who advanced the treatment of alcoholism and inspired recovery were Bill and Lois Wilson, co-founders, respectively, of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon. Just as the White House is doing this week, in 1984 Lois Wilson brought leaders in the field to Stepping Stones for a dialog that she organized as President of The Stepping Stones Foundation. This is a fitting time to create more awareness of treatment and recovery because this week we commemorate the Wilsons’ legacy as it is the anniversary of Bill’s death (Jan. 24, 1971) and the Wilsons’ wedding anniversary (Jan. 24, 1918). Alcoholics Anonymous also celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2015.

”According to Mr. Hoehmann, “Collectively we will be seeking ways to improve access to treatment programs that will help people on the path to recovery from substance abuse and mental health issues. It is critically important for us to find new ways to get people into treatment so that they may become active, productive participants in society.”  Both Stepping Stones and RILC are organizations committed to supporting people on their paths to recovery and independence.