Many people know about La Hacienda because of the treatment center’s 50 years of quality care for people who suffer from addiction or alcoholism. Scores of others, especially in the halls of government in Austin and Washington, D.C., recognize the name because of Sherri Layton, our Director of Outpatient Service & Public Policy.
Sherri started working fulltime for La Hacienda 30 years ago in February 1992. Having entered recovery early in life. became a licensed chemical dependency counselor and has spent her career helping others.
Since 2004, Sherri has advocated for the addiction treatment field with officials at all levels. She takes a very practical view of lobbying: the people in office now are the ones making policy and it’s most effective to collaborate with them to get things done. She knows lawmakers and their staffs, and they trust her as a dependable source of information about addiction treatment.
Sherri and other advocates worked hard for legislation such as the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (2008), which gave substance use disorder and mental health care the same standing as other medical conditions regarding health insurance. And they continue to work, especially with state legislators, to see that the act is enforced.
In 2014, NAADAC, the National Association of Addiction Professionals, named Sherri its Legislative Advocate of the Year.
Looking forward and seeing what policies need attention next comes natural to Sherri. “I’m a learner, and that fuels my interest in investigating things and digging deep into issues,” she says. “I want to have a good understanding of the legal issues.”