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SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
September/October 2009, Volume 17, Number 5 

Recovery: A Philosophy of Hope and Resilience

A person’s early days in recovery might be compared to a climber’s first steps up a great mountain. There’s a lot of work ahead. As time passes, healing occurs not only for the person in recovery but also for relatives, coworkers, business associates, and the community at large.

At its core, the philosophy of recovery embraces and encourages an individual’s capacity for change and personal transformation. But that change does not happen overnight. Challenges can and often do crop up every step of the way.

As part of its mission, SAMHSA supports the concept of recovery on multiple levels Agency-wide. The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), and the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) offer specific services and support to individuals and community organizations through discretionary grant programs, Web sites, policy resources, publications, data, and more.

This issue of SAMHSA News highlights CSAT’s recovery-related programs and recent white papers on research, case studies, and lessons learned. Future issues will focus on activities related to prevention and mental health.

Programmatic support for recovery takes many forms at CSAT—clinical services, peer-to-peer support, outreach materials and Recovery Month activities, and vouchers for faith-based treatment and recovery services. At the heart of each program is the nonjudgmental, holistic, overarching concept of recovery as a means to improve quality of life for individuals struggling with substance abuse and the disease of addiction.

“We’ve come to understand that recovery is a process, different for each person,” said H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., CSAT Director. “Seeking help for a substance abuse problem is just the beginning of the recovery process.”

Person-centered and community-oriented, recovery “exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness,” according to the Guiding Principles of Recovery, which were developed at the National Summit on Recovery in 2005.

With those principles in mind, CSAT’s goal is to support individuals as they make every effort to transform their lives.

“Focusing on recovery gives us a way to conceptualize services that meet people’s holistic needs in the context of their community,” said Dr. Clark. “Whatever path individuals choose to take for their recovery, they typically need an array of services, such as access to treatment, peer support, housing, jobs, and education. CSAT programs have a lot to offer.”

Paths to Wellness

CSAT currently funds five major recovery-related programs, including the Recovery Community Services Program, Targeted Capacity Expansion/Local Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care, Access to Recovery, Partners for Recovery, and National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.

In addition, CSAT runs a national helpline for treatment information and referrals for substance use disorders. That number is 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357).

In addition, CSAT runs a national helpline for treatment information and referrals for substance use disorders. That number is 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357).

“Programs that support recovery are at the heart of what we do here at CSAT,” said Catherine D. Nugent, LCPC, Chief of the Quality Improvement and Workforce Development Branch, Division of Services Improvement. “Each of these programs serves a specific area of need.”

Recovery Community Services Program (RCSP)

“We are strictly a peer-to-peer support program for community-based organizations,” said Marsha Baker, M.S., CSAT’s Project Officer for RCSP. “Our goal is to help prevent relapse and provide social supports to help maintain and sustain recovery for those who are out of treatment and also for those who have not been to treatment but are in recovery.”

For example, one of the 15 current grantees is “Community Bridges” and its peer support recovery services in Phoenix, AZ, and other parts of Maricopa County. Working in homeless and crisis centers as well as on the street, peer specialists help people who need access to services. Other RCSP grantee projects offer support to family members of people needing, seeking, or in recovery.

Access to Recovery (ATR)

A 3-year, competitive discretionary grant program, ATR provides vouchers to clients for purchase of substance abuse clinical treatment and recovery support services. “Goals are to support client choice, expand service capacity, and increase faith- and community-based providers,” said Roula Sweis, M.A., Psy.D., CSAT’s ATR Team Leader. Currently 19 states and 5 tribal entities receive ATR funding. See SAMHSA News online, November/December 2007 for a feature story on ATR.

Partners for Recovery

Partners for Recovery (PFR) is a policy-generating program that offers technical support and information to the field. Four white papers, which include recovery-related research, case studies, and extensive bibliographies, are posted on the PFR Web site.

Consumer-driven, PFR posts technical resources on the PFR Web site and serves as the “home base” for Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC) information. Currently, PFR is developing a management and human resources toolkit designed to support employee wellness, including the dangers of substance abuse relapse.

In addition, a new publication from PFR will assist states and communities in advancing recovery-oriented systems change. A brochure is also in development on the rights of persons in medication-assisted treatment. The brochure is intended to help reduce the stigma surrounding seeking treatment for opioid addiction.

Local Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care (LROSC)

“We have a diverse portfolio of grantees,” said Linda Kaplan, M.S., LROSC’s Project Officer at CSAT. The program supports person-centered and self-directed approaches for substance abuse treatment and recovery services in communities with serious drug problems.

“There’s a recovery community center in the Bronx, services for women and families, adolescent programs, a screening program for college freshmen to lower dropout rates, services for individuals who are homeless, and more. Each grantee serves a particular population and provides support for local organizations,” Ms. Kaplan said.

What these grantee programs have in common is a focus on identifying gaps in substance abuse treatment capacity in their communities. The purpose is to expand the community’s ability to provide integrated community-based responses to a targeted, well-documented problem and improve the quality and intensity of services.

“Our program does have a clinical element,” Ms. Kaplan said. “In addition to expanding treatment services, grantees look for and find opportunities for links to primary care, mental health services, and housing.”

National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month

Now celebrating its 20th year, Recovery Month promotes the message that recovery from substance abuse in all its forms is possible.


  Cover Story & Related Articles  
Recovery: A Philosophy of Hope and Resilience

Recovery: A Philosophy of Hope and Resilience




  Treatment Updates  
Treating Alcohol Disorders with Medication

Treating Alcohol Disorders with Medication

A set of guidelines for use of effective medications, such as naltrexone.

Guidance for Change

Guidance for Change

Substance abuse treatment programs: Here’s a way to integrate evidence-based practices into their services.

Treating Opioid Addiction

Treating Opioid Addiction

Three new educational brochures for patients on medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction are available.


  Suicide Awareness  
Dealing with Suicide Loss

Dealing with Suicide Loss

To help support survivors of suicide loss, a new guide for funeral directors.

National Study on Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

National Study on Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

Nearly 8.3 million adults had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year.


  Grants  
Recent Awards

Recent Awards

Millions of dollars in SAMHSA funding is heading to state and community programs.

Tips on Writing a Winning Proposal

Tips on Writing a Winning Proposal

Boost your chances of crafting a winning grant proposal by following an expert’s advice.


  Communications  
Highlights of Recent Conference

Highlights of Recent Conference

New ways to engage partners and the public in improving health through an ongoing dialogue.

Strategic Communications Framework

Public health practice aligns with evidence-based communications to help establish “a common language.”


  Recovery Month  
Recovery Month Launched

Recovery Month Launched

20th anniversary events across the country marked this year’s celebrations, which included a march across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Photo Gallery

SAMHSA’s Dr. Westley Clark, Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, joined other VIPs to celebrate.


  New Survey Data  
National Survey Shows Overall Drug Use Steady at 8 Percent

National Survey Shows Overall Drug Use Steady at 8 Percent

Among 12- to 17-year-olds, a significant decline was reported in past-month illicit drug use.


  Prevention Update  
FASD Awareness Day

FASD Awareness Day

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day emphasized the message, “If you’re pregnant, don’t drink alcohol.”


  Special Populations  

Hispanics

An annual average of 2.6 million Hispanics age 12 or older needed alcohol use treatment in the past year.

American Indians

A recent report examines the 335 identified facilities serving the American Indian and Alaska Native population in 2007.

Race and Ethnicity

New data focus on the need for treatment for substance use and depression among adults age 18 or older by race/ethnicity.


  Also in this Issue  
Statistics on Mental Health Groups

Statistics on Mental Health Groups

Of the 28.8 million adults who received mental health treatment in the past year, about 5.5 percent also received support from a self-help group.

Science and Service Awards

Science and Service Awards

Categories for this year’s awards to 27 organizations included substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery support services, and more.

GlassBook Project

GlassBook Project

Trauma awareness through art was the topic of a recent presentation as part of SAMHSA’s Consumer Affairs Seminar Series.



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