Changing the Way the World Treats Recovery

Transforming the recovery landscape through advocacy, collaboration, and empowerment

At Faces & Voices of Recovery, we stand on the forefront of transformative social change in the way the world addresses and supports addiction recovery. We recognize the urgent need to raise awareness, empower peer support, dismantle stigmas, and break the systemic barriers that hinder individuals from accessing the support they need.

  • Drug-related deaths rose from 2019 to 2021 with more than 106,000 drug overdose deaths reported in 2021.
  • Deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (primarily fentanyl) continued to rise with 70,601 overdose deaths reported in 2021.
  • Deaths involving stimulants, including cocaine or psychostimulants with abuse potential (primarily methamphetamine), also continued to increase with 32,537 overdose deaths in 2021.

(Source: CDC WONDER).

“We are a grassroots organization mobilizing 23 million Americans in recovery,” as Faces & Voices CEO, Patty McCarthy explained. “In our quest for change, we confront a wide range of challenges that surround the state of recovery today – including stigma and discrimination, access to quality treatment, community support, addressing social determinants of health, and the availability of a continuum of care that supports sustainable recovery. We are deeply committed to advocacy, accessible resources, sustainable supportive services, and empowerment. We strive to shape legislation and policies that foster a society where recovery is not only valued, but also embraced as a fundamental human right.”

I am a Face & Voice of Recovery

Patty McCarthy, Faces & Voices CEO

I’ve been a person in long-term recovery since 1989. In 2005, I found out about Faces & Voices of Recovery. I had never thought I should talk publicly about my addiction or my recovery, but I learned that there was a group in Washington, D.C., advocating for me. Of course, I had traditional anonymity issues at first, but then I realized that I could be part of this movement and I could advocate for people like myself who needed treatment. I could advocate for people who wanted to start families and break that intergenerational cycle of addiction. I could advocate for people whose loved ones are incarcerated due to the war on drugs.

I saw these issues and knew that I needed to support the movement. That’s what I want everyone to be able to do. The fact of the matter is, we lost over 110,000 people to overdose last year. We have to be a louder voice and advocate for what we know works, which is recovery support services – beyond treatment and prevention. Today, I feel empowered to be part of the solution. I have a voice. I’ve learned how to use my voice to advocate.

Organizing a recovery movement

Faces & Voices of Recovery plays a vital role in raising awareness about the challenges faced by those in recovery – including issues related to employment, education, housing, and discrimination. We work to educate the public and policymakers about these issues and to promote policies that support recovery and help to reduce these barriers. Faces & Voices of Recovery works with federal agencies to ensure that funding is available for Substance Use Disorder (SUD) recovery support services and research, and to promote the use of national standards in recovery support services.

Actively advocating

We advocate for policies and practices that support SUD recovery. This includes advocating for increased access to recovery support services, fair and equitable insurance coverage through the Parity Act, and treating addiction as a health care issue rather than focusing on incarcerating people. We meet with policymakers on Capitol Hill and with the Administration whenever possible to discuss legislation. “We’ve helped to achieve important changes in access to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), access to free Naloxone – over the counter, which is historic – and now, telehealth for addiction treatment that was extended after the pandemic ended,” McCarthy explained.

People across all demographics are affected by SUD, but certain populations face unique challenges. Disparities exist in terms of access to treatment, healthcare resources, and socioeconomic factors. Some of our most vulnerable populations include lower-income communities, racial and ethnic minorities, and those with co-occurring mental health disorders. “Faces & Voices of Recovery has been working to eliminate barriers to recovery and actively fighting stigma by putting our own face on recovery, engaging people who are most affected, and showing up at the tables where decisions and policies are made,” McCarthy said. “Every time we look at a policy, we have to look at the unintended consequences and its potential impact on racial equities.”

Strength in collaborative partnerships

Faces & Voices of Recovery collaborates with other recovery organizations to share resources, knowledge, and lived experience. “We identify partners as organizations that are aligned with our mission and who want to invest in our organization in some capacity – whether that involves partnering on a contract to deliver a program or an initiative, or providing a voice to their initiatives,” McCarthy explained. “In other words, they come to us because we are the voices of recovery and we have lived experience.”

Through strategic partnerships, we have been able to amplify our message and advocate for policies and practices that support recovery. Leadership works closely with staff and other stakeholders to ensure that the direction of the organization is aligned with its mission, vision, and values, as well as its strategic plan. This includes reaching out to partners and having conversations with similar organizations in Washington, D.C., and around the country – to address national issues related to SUDs and recovery.

Empowering the recovery community

We recognize the importance of engaging with the broader community to raise awareness and reduce stigma surrounding substance use and recovery. This has meant partnering with media outlets, community groups, and other organizations to promote this message and to highlight the success stories of those in recovery.

The partnerships and collaborations fostered by Faces & Voices of Recovery are critical in advancing our mission. With the support of families, friends and allies, and recovery community organizations and networks, Faces & Voices of Recovery is helping to make a positive impact on the lives of countless individuals and families affected by substance use. Today, over 23 million Americans are living proof of recovery. “We have mobilized people to take action on policies and issues, in their own states and at the national level, in Congress, that will help future generations – eliminating barriers to recovery and fighting the stigma of recovery – by putting our faces on recovery and showing up where decisions and policies are made,” McCarthy said.


Faces & Voices of Recovery was founded by a group of recovery advocacy pioneers who believed in a world where the shame and stigma of addiction no longer exists. They believed in a world where a lifetime of recovery and wellness was within everyone’s reach. This vision is the cornerstone of the work we do every day.

Join your friends, neighbors, and business associates in supporting our mission to make long-term recovery possible for millions of Americans. Please consider a generous gift to help sustain our work in the coming years.

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Patty McCarthy

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Patty McCarthy, M.S., has been the Chief Executive Officer of Faces & Voices of Recovery since 2015. Prior to joining Faces & Voices, she was a senior associate with the Center for Social Innovation (C4), where she served as a deputy director of SAMHSA’s BRSS TACS initiative.  Patty served for a decade as the director of Friends of Recovery-Vermont (FOR-VT), a statewide recovery community organization conducting training, advocacy and public awareness activities.  In addition to public policy and education, her work has focused on community mobilizing, peer-based recovery support services, and peer workforce development and was instrumental in the development of a national accreditation standards for peer recovery support service providers. She holds a master’s degree in community counseling and a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and has been in long-term recovery from alcohol and drug addiction since 1989.