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MARS™ Director Participates in ONDCP Drug Policy Reform Conference at White House: Ginter Joins Panel on “Lifting the Stigma of Addiction” moderated by Patrick Kennedy

New York, New York (PRWEB) December 09, 2013

Medication-Assisted Recovery Services (MARS™), part of a leading national nonprofit organization that provides peer support services and training to address the needs of the medication-assisted recovery community, announced its Project Director, Walter Ginter, has been invited to participate in one of three expert panels at the upcoming ONDCP Drug Policy Reform Conference being convened at the White House on December 9, 2013. This conference is part of the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s ongoing efforts to expand and implement evidenced based approaches to drug policy reform in America.

Mr. Ginter will join some of the nation’s leading experts in the field of drug policy to discuss the latest programs, policies, and approaches that represent the future of drug policy reform in America. As a participant in one of three panels, Mr. Ginter will address the topic of "Lifting the Stigma of Addiction", during which time he will share his work as an advocate for medication-assisted recovery and discuss how he has been part of a movement to help overcome the barriers and stigma that can fight against recovery efforts.

Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Behavioral Health Advocate, will moderate the panel. In addition to Mr. Ginter, the other panelists include Chris Kennedy Lawford, Recovery Advocate; Kateri Vergez, White Bison, Native American Recovery Advocate; Neil Kaltenecker, Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, Faces & Voices of Recovery Board Member; and Greg Williams, Recovery Advocate, creator of The Anonymous People. Mr. Williams, whose feature documentary film addresses the emerging Addiction Recovery Advocacy Movement, will introduce the panel. He will be followed by Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who will initiate a moderated discussion to include questions for the panel, after which he’ll turn it over to the audience for a brief moderated question and answer session. The conference is closed to the press, but will be streamed live on from 9:00 am-1:00 pm EST on December 9, 2013.

President Obama has outlined his vision of an America built to last—where an educated, skilled workforce has the knowledge, energy and expertise to compete in the global marketplace. Yet -- for far too many Americans -- that vision is limited by drug use and its consequences, which not only limits the potential of the individual, but also jeopardizes families, communities and places immense burdens on our health and criminal justice systems. Earlier this year, the Obama Administration released a science-based drug policy that addresses our national drug challenge as a public health issue, and not just a criminal justice issue. The President’s National Drug Control Strategy is built upon the latest research demonstrating that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that can be successfully prevented, treated, and from which one can recover.

According to Mr. Ginter, “It is an honor and privilege for MARS™ to participate in the ONDCP Drug Policy Reform Conference with such an esteemed group of experts in the field of drug policy, and we are thrilled to be part of a panel in which we can share our perspective on lifting the stigma of addiction.” Mr. Ginter continued, “As a nationally-recognized program with a long history of positive outcomes, MARS™ is proud to be part of the medication-assisted recovery community nationwide that is working tirelessly to improve treatment outcomes and fight the stigma that can negatively impact sustained recovery efforts.”


Medication-Assisted Recovery Services (MARS™) is a peer-initiated recovery support project, sponsored by the National Alliance of Medication-Assisted (NAMA) Recovery, which improves treatment outcomes and fights the stigma that can negatively impact sustained recovery efforts. In collaboration with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the original MARS™ Community was launched in 2006 with funding from a SAMHSA Recovery Community Services Program RCSP) grant.

In 2012, the Beyond MARS™ Training Institute was formed to replicate this model and implement MARS™ “satellite” programs across the United States. The growing MARS™ Community currently includes ten programs. MARS™ offers a wide range of training and technical assistance services. To learn more about Medication-Assisted Recovery Services, visit or

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