Recovered Crack Addict, Tonier Cain, Hopes Drug Treatment Success Stories Stop Senators From Making Drug Epidemic Worse

During her 19-year crack addiction, Tonier Cain racked up 83 arrests and 66 convictions. She turned to prostitution to pay for drugs, lost custody of four children, and, when she wasn’t locked up, she slept under a bridge.  Today, 12-years after completing treatment, Cain penned an open letter to the Senate Health Committee urging them to preserve the mandate for insurers to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment and continue federal funding for Medicaid expansion.

“I sent the letter to make sure the Senators working to overhaul health care who may be out of touch with the people they serve, get a first hand account of how treatment changes lives,” says Cain. “I urge anyone who has benefitted from treatment to speak out and let our leaders know we matter, our struggle matters, and our votes matter. Our triumphs over addiction demonstrate that treating this debilitating illness not only saves lives and communities, but also saves money. ”

“My untreated crack habit cost U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars,” writes Cain, who received treatment after asking a judge to give her a longer sentence so she would be eligible for a substance abuse program. “Limiting access to drug abuse and mental health services will fuel the addiction epidemic and increase costs to taxpayers.”

Tonier Cain

The letter continues, “Treatment paid off.  Today, I am a mother, wife, and productive citizen. I’m no longer homeless or in public housing; I became a homeowner. I’m no longer a burden on other taxpayers; I work and pay taxes. I now train public health providers in the courts, prisons and child protection agencies who once served me.”

The current plan to replace the Affordable Care Act eliminates essential coverage for drug addiction and mental health services despite the fact that the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health shows that substance abuse treatment is cost-effective compared with no treatment. The report alsodetermined thatsubstance abuse costsmore than $400 billion annually in crime, health, and lost productivity. If benefits for treatment are cut, it will exacerbate the nation’s current opioid crisis.

Since completing treatment in 2005,  Cain has become a nationally recognized inspirational speaker and trauma care expert. In addition to encouraging inmates across the country, she has testified before Congress, lectured at Yale University and delivered a keynote speech at the United Nations. Former Gov. Charlie Crist recognized Cain for her contributions to transforming the way the entire Florida Department of Juvenile Justice serves youth.

Cain’s poignant memoir, “Healing Neen,” and feature-length documentary of the same name, exposes her traumatic childhood filled with abuse, rape and neglect, and is also a testament to her amazing resilience. Her compelling story was also featured in Ebony Magazine’s Power Issue (2014). Currently, there is a docu-series in development chronicling her work helping prisoners transition from behind bars into their community.

“When people meet me now it’s hard for them to believe there was a time when people wouldn’t look at me on the streets. I was addicted to drugs and alcohol, homeless, dirty and smelled awful. I’m living proof that treatment is an important weapon in the battle against addiction,” adds the founder and CEO of Healing Neen, Inc.

A copy of the open letter to Senate Health Committee can be found online at www.dogonvillage.com/?p=7918.  For more information Tonier Cain visit www.toniercain.com.

7 Comments

  1. Barbara Sales on September 7, 2017 at 9:21 am

    I can very much relate to your story. I to am a recovering truly BLESSED ADDICT. Who GOD changed almost December 9,1998. This year I will celebrate 19 year GOD is Good to me . Yet the enemy still tries to attack me but not with drugs..I keep giving it to GOD. I ALSO BELIEVE HE WILL ORDER MY STEPS AND WORK IT OUT.

  2. Barbara Sales on September 7, 2017 at 9:26 am

    I now work for CCA DEPT.OF CORRECTION AT HARDEMON COUNTY BELTSVILLE TENNESSEE. I WANNA MOVE DEEPER IN THE COMMUNITY. I LIVE IN JACKSON I DIDN’T USE IN JACKSON. BUT I SEE THE CRACK ENEMY STILL ON THE MOVE. BUT THE GOD I SERVE WAS ABLE TO CHANGE ME HE CAN ALSO CHANGE THEM TO. BECAUSE I BELIEVE.

  3. Hugh King on August 28, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Hi Mrs. Cain ,i read your story and found it to be most intersting, to say the least , congradulate you. I wish this was so for sooo , many others
    whom have found themselves
    living this nightmare , as a matter of fact , i wish that no one woyld live it at all,do you?

    • Hugh King on August 28, 2018 at 6:17 pm

      I know a way that will reduce the addiction rate atleast 60 percent ,in first 2yrs!

  4. Tina ward on August 30, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    That is good I was on drugs for 15 years maybe 17 somewhere around there I’m going on 11 years clean and sober October 5th I’m trying to get a clemency because I got a charge delivery of a controlled substance in 07 and it’s kinda showing up now and hold me back some jobs that I really like but other than that God has been good to me I’m going to keep the faith live my best life and never return back to drugs what got me clean was my son was murdered prom night 2005 and Huntington West Virginia I cried for 2 and 1/2 years Non-Stop finally I got clean I went to rehab for two weeks and by God’s grace and mercy I’ve been clean ever since October 5th 200 7 is my clean that God bless you baby you are beautiful I wish I had a copy of my picture that I can put on here so you can see what I was looking like The Walking Dead

  5. Debra on August 31, 2018 at 1:40 am

    Amazing testimony!! I Thank God For Saving You!! Continue on your journey of helping others and may God Bless You and Your Family

  6. Angela Melvin I'm so proud of you and don't even know you .God bless you and you are an inspirat ion to a lot of people.Yes I lived that lift but I didn't share my experience,like your doing ,and I thinks it's GREAT😘 on September 16, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    You are a rue blessing ,I don’t know you,nbt I’m roud of you.I have had a lot of the same experience s,but never accomplished what you are doing,I think it’s GREAT.You will continue to be blessed. Love you Girl just because we are Sister ,we have the same Father.😘

Leave a Comment