Sunday, August 18, 2013

The History of the Premise of GrAS

THE GREEN ASSOCIATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY was originally created as an archive and forum for essays, reports and other academic writings produced as an undergraduate and Master’s candidate at Northern Arizona University from 1997 through 2002. Upon graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Political Science major and a minor in Research and Statistics, the University offered me a full tuition waiver to the school’s first Graduate Level Liberal Studies program in the environmental sciences, entitled “Visions of Good and Sustainable Societies”.
When I began the Masters program in 1999, medical insurance and health care availability and cost containment were primary concerns among voters. In addition, the regulations surrounding addiction treatment were outdated and did not reflect current science or practice. There was also a call for parity in the insurance industry for mental health and psychiatric treatment, including addiction recovery. The millennial national election brought the issues to the forefront of the campaign, as a topic of conversation among candidates about how to fix the health care system, and a topic of contention on addiction treatment and punishment.
In researching my thesis, I became involved with an advocacy group that was supporting new guideline regulations for outpatient opiate addiction recovery. Authored by Senators Hatch (R-UT), Biden (D-DE) and Levin (D-MI), the bill failed to make it out of committee in 2000. The Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000) was passed the next year with much celebration , and a renewed hope for further changes to the harsh drug control policies of the United States.
Also nearly one year after elections, the Al-Qaida attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 changed the course of the Country’s agenda, and the election defining issues and political promises became moot points to be argued again at a later date.
Under the warrant that a “good and sustainable society” cannot exist without “good and sustainable people” and supported by the issues of inadequate addiction treatment and ineffective and punitive drug legislation, I hypothesized that the vision of a good and sustainable society included better access to health care, specifically addiction treatment, and significant changes in the U.S. drug laws including an end to the failed “War on Drugs”.

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