A State Representative Thinks That By Speaking Out About Addiction, Others May Be Motivated To Get Treatment

A State Representative Thinks That By Speaking Out About Addiction, Others May Be Motivated To Get Treatment

Olympia, Washington — State Representative Debra Lekanoff has worked on bills honoring Native American history and promoting salmon recovery during her six years in Olympia.

However, Lekanoff is concentrating on addiction and rehabilitation in this session, which is a topic she is very passionate about.

Lekanoff declared, “I’m a recently recovered addict who only recently left treatment a few months ago. “I don’t think I would have stepped into recovery and continued the work I’m doing today unless I realized I wasn’t alone.”

Lekanoff, D-Bow, stated that she had spent the majority of her adult life using depressants, such as alcohol and narcotics.

She claimed that it assisted her in overcoming the pain her ancestors had experienced across generations as well as the physical and sexual abuse she experienced as a child.

Raised in Alaska, Lekanoff is a Tlingit Tribal member.

She claimed that in June 2023, she sought therapy due to an alcohol addiction.

“When I realized there were days I couldn’t leave my house and days when I was by myself, I really realized that I was an addict and that I needed help,” Lekanoff stated. Or the expression of final disappointment in my daughter’s eyes. and being afraid that I wouldn’t be a mother here after this.

She claimed that one of the reasons she has opened up about her issues is because getting therapy taught her that she is not alone.

Lekanoff expressed her concern that her disclosure may damage her credibility as a lawmaker and her connections.

“I can already picture the people who will hear this, look at me, and say, ‘We were unaware.'” Is she someone we can still trust? Is she still deserving?” stated Lekanoff.

Lekanoff is concerned that her admission may serve to further perpetuate negative perceptions of Native Americans.

“Those indigenous, I hear this all the time. “They’re just addicts; they ought to have been eliminated or assimilated,” Lekanoff remarked. “History demonstrates that. However, as I sit here in the state house, I realize and comprehend that I am capable of overcoming the stigma associated with being Native American, as well as the shame associated with addiction.

Lekanoff is supporting a set of legislation dubbed “Heal One Washington.” Her proposed law would give state financing to local governments and tribes so they could open more facilities to assist both tribal and non-tribal members in overcoming addiction, as well as providing more mental health and substance abuse counseling.

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