Public Policy newsletter – September 2020

September 2020
Policy Update
It was a fairly quiet August due to the political conventions and Congressional Recess.

As always, we encourage you to reach out to your representatives on issues that matter to you.

On the Hill…

Relief Packages

Faces & Voices continues to put effort into the next COVID relief packages in hopes that there will be a significant amount of funding for substance use disorder services and recovery. As the legislation currently stands, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) stands to gain $4.5 billion, with $1.5 billion going to the SAPT block grant. Faces & Voices continues to be hopeful that there will be a provision dedicated solely to recovery funding. However, the Senate has been unable to advance the legislation, and there is little hope currently that there will be a new COVID relief package before the election in November.

In need of allies

Unfortunately, allies of substance use disorder treatment and recovery will no longer have a reliable voice in Congress. In Massachusetts, Representative Joe Kennedy sought to unseat Senator Ed Markey in the Democratic primary but was unsuccessful. As a result, he will not be able to run for his Congressional seat. Both men are true champions of our cause, but now we are left with one instead of two, which is not ideal for advocates who struggle to find strong voices on Capitol Hill.

In Action…

National Recovery Month

Faces & Voices has made progress on one piece of legislation, with Representative Trone of Maryland, we are working to establish dedicated funding for National Recovery Month. Now that Faces & Voices is presiding over National Recovery Month, we are seeking to establish authorization for funds for the express purpose of organizing and executing events around the country. We also received help promoting this year’s Recovery Month from Senator Portman of Ohio, who has always been one of our most vocal supporters.


Recently, Faces & Voices of Recovery’s CEO, Patty McCarthy, was invited to speak at the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) Board of Directors meeting, in order to present to them on the priorities of Faces & Voices and the Association of Recovery Community Organizations (ARCO) and how to best collaborate on policy. Also on the call was Danielle Tarino, CEO of Young People in Recovery. Both Patty and Danielle were well received, with many Single State Agency directors citing that they were aware of, and appreciated, our respective chapters in their states. The goal was to lay the groundwork for future policy initiatives that will highlight the role of recovery, and to utilize NASADAD and their network as a partner in these efforts moving forward.

Recovery at Work Roundtable

On September 3, 2020, Patty McCarthy and Keegan Wicks were invited to the White House in honor of Recovery Month, where they attended a roundtable with the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director, Jim Carroll; U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams; Economic Council chair, Larry Kudlow; and First Lady, Melania Trump. Director Carroll singled out Patty and Faces & Voices as a leading voice in the community, and Patty gave comments about all F&V is accomplishing, especially in regard to our efforts to sustain Recovery Month.

View the Full Stream Here

Call to Action:
Abuse is a four-letter word

Faces & Voices of Recovery and the Recovery Research Institute of Harvard Medical School & Massachusetts General Hospital have joined together in creating a petition to end the use of the term “Abuse” in the names of governmental agencies which use the outdated term.

Words and language matter and stigma has been identified as a barrier to treatment and recovery among individuals with addiction. Terms such as “abuse,” increase stigma and add additional harm to those seeking – as well as those in – recovery.

Now is the time to tell Congress that national government agencies with words like “abuse” must undergo a NAME CHANGE (e.g., National Institute on Drug Abuse [NIDA], National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [NIAAA]), and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA].

Please take a moment to share and sign the petition, and together we can change the conversation and help the Recovery Community.

Sign here!