Safford chosen as pilot community for public addiction reform

Safford has been chosen as one of 15 municipalities nationwide to take park in public addiction reform sponsored by Facing Addiction.

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SAFFORD – Facing Addiction, a national nonprofit organization, announced Friday that Safford was chosen as one of cities to participate in its pilot community project aimed at public addiction reform.

The project, which was first announced in October 2015, works to reform the public’s response to the addiction crisis via a grassroots-driven strategy.

The strategy will work to:

  • Secure increases in localized funding to adequately address the crisis.
  • Train advocates on proper organizational and advocacy techniques to reform their community’s response.
  • Invest time and resources in communication opportunities with elected officials and other policy makers.
  • Provide media guidance to garner press coverage to further highlight the solutions to the problem.
  • Develop political strategies and aid community stakeholders in the development of an overarching campaign strategy.

“As addiction to alcohol and other drugs now impacts 1 in 3 households in America, we must urgently work to turn the tide on this health crisis,” said Greg Williams, Facing Addiction’s Co-Founder and Executive Vice President. “We received over 50 applications from communities across the country for this program. We are excited about the prospect of working to train, organize and mobilize citizens in Safford to ensure a shift toward a public, health-centered response to those impacted by addiction.”

Safford City Councilor Chris Taylor and addiction advocate Mariah Hile submitted an application for Safford. Taylor is also the CEO/President of Desert Eagle Addiction Recovery and serves as the chairman for the Addiction and Recovery subcommittee of the Graham County Substance Abuse Coalition. Hile was born and raised in Safford and is now the vice president of business development of Bella Monte Recovery Center in Desert Hot Springs, Calif.

Chris Taylor

“After years of intense advocacy efforts, we feel like our voices have been heard and this is the breakthrough to finally create the change we need in the community.” Taylor said. “It’s pretty cool we got picked. I think it is a huge breakthrough for us.”

Joining Safford in the pilot project will be Annapolis, Maryland, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Billings, Montana, Boise, Idaho, Chicago, Illinois, Cumming, Georgia, Fitchburg, Mass.,  Martinsburg & Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, New Canaan, Connecticut, Rochester, New York, San Diego, Calif., Springfield, Missouri, West Bend, Wisconsin and West Linn, Oregon.

Mariah Hile