PA Congresswoman and Son Address Stigma of Substance Abuse Recovery

Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) Secretary Dr. Latika Davis-Jones, Congresswoman Madeleine Dean and her son Harry Cunnane, who is in recovery from substance use disorder (SUD), joined those in recovery, advocacy organizations, elected officials, and others to highlight the importance of equitable and accessible supports for all individuals in recovery and to celebrate National Recovery Month across Pennsylvania.

“People can and do recover from the chronic illness of addiction,” said DDAP Secretary Dr. Latika Davis-Jones. “This month is a time to celebrate the gift of recovery and to remind people in recovery, and those who support them, that no one is alone in their journey. I want to thank Congresswoman Dean and her son Harry for sharing their story as a reminder that we must continue the work of eliminating stigma, making recovery supports more equitable and clearing a path for someone to take that first step on their road to recovery.”

Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s 4th Congressional District, and her son Harry Cunnane, who is celebrating his 10th year in recovery, spoke candidly about their family’s experience with SUD to break the stigma surrounding the disease and spread awareness that recovery is possible with the right treatment and support. They discussed their perspective from the individual experience through Cunnane’s recovery journey, which is a focus of a book they wrote titled Under our Roof: A Son’s Battle for Recovery, a Mother’s Battle for Her Son.

State Senator Art Haywood, who represents Philadelphia and Montgomery counties, joined the event and shared insight as the Democratic Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

“To combat this crisis, we need to employ remedies that have been proven to be effective: prevention, treatment, and research,” said Senator Haywood. “We must remove the stigma around the disease of addiction and affirm every individual’s intrinsic dignity – no matter their struggles. When we hold onto hope and affirm the dignity of everyone, we can turn the page on the disease of addiction, the opioid crisis, and substance use, and begin to work towards recovery and restoration.”