Online petition asks Congress to provide more help for addicts

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — An online petition is raising awareness for people struggling with addiction.

The petition is part of Anthony’s Act which asks Congress to extend the time the Affordable Care Act covers for rehabilitation treatment facilities. Under the current coverage plan, patients are covered for up to 90 days. The petition, which has more than 38,000 signatures, is asking for that to be extended to 180 days.

“We need to allow treatment for them to be able to get over,” said Avi Israel, the President of the Save the Michaels Foundation. “They need to get every treatment they need and they should be able to.”

Israel has seen first-hand the effect addiction can have on people.

His 20-year-old son, Michael, became addicted to pain medication he was prescribed to help treat his Crohn’s disease.

“My son didn’t want to be an addict.”

Israel says they tried getting Michael into multiple treatment facilities but it was difficult.

“Michael was in there [a local facility] but was asked to leave after three days because our insurance company refused to pay,” said Israel.

After being denied treatment multiple times, Michael took matters into his own hands. He took his own life on June 4, 2011.

“When Michael was laying there, trying to take his last breath – he was trying to breathe, I was holding him – I remember thinking, this is not supposed to happen,” said Israel choking back tears. “All Michael was doing was taking medication his doctor gave him.”

Israel says addiction should be like every other disease where treatment is readily available. He feels when that happens, we may actually have a shot at winning this war on drugs.

“I think it’s worse than an epidemic. I think it’s a plague.”

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