Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bernadine Fried Hopes to Boost U.S. Economy with 12 Angels Mission Fund

The visionary behind Los Angeles-based 12 Angels Mission Fund, therapist Bernadine Fried has seen the massive toll that addiction can take on both local and national levels.

Q: In your experience as a therapist, how has the problem of addiction ravaged communities throughout the U.S.?

Bernadine Fried: Essentially, the U.S. economy is experiencing a significant amount of damage as a result of addiction. It’s important to note that addiction has caused pain and stress to countless families across the country. Part of that strain is being felt in their pocketbooks.

Q: What evidence have you found that supports these observations?

Bernadine Fried: In a recent survey developed by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, some troubling information about drug abuse was brought forward into the light. Approximately 8.7 percent of the American population had abused some form of psychotherapeutic medication – tranquilizers, stimulants, or pain relievers – or used an illicit drug within the previous 30 days. Those numbers are staggering.

Q: In terms of a monetary value, what has been the impact of addiction in the U.S.?

Bernadine Fried: We have spent over $366 billion on drug enforcement, not to mention the productivity loss and financial strain on our health care system as a result of illicit drug and alcohol use. By failing to address the causal issues related to addiction and the economy, that hole just keeps getting deeper and deeper.

Q: How is the 12 Angels Mission Fund positioned to contribute to the turning of this tide?

Bernadine Fried: The vision of 12 Angels Mission Fund is to give recovering addicts direct access to long-term and sustainable employment and help individuals find meaning in their lives. Jobs allow recovering addicts to serve society in a productive manner and they help build self-esteem and self-worth. We are building bridges back to productivity for those who previously held successful careers but are now struggling to find employment and those who never had a career; In the end, the return on investment is considerable.