Civic Engagement and Recovery: Casting a Vote for Hope

By Keegan Wicks, Amanda Cassidy-Trejo, and Lindsay J. Fancovic  

The recovery community is driven by hope and action. Here at Faces & Voices, we’re dedicated to empowering individuals and influencing policies for healthier futures.

As we pivot from our daily efforts to a broader political stage, we recognize a unique opportunity for advocacy and change. The upcoming 2024 elections are imperative. It’s more than politics; it’s a pivotal moment for those touched by addiction to voice their collective need for effective recovery strategies.

The Current Landscape of Addiction Recovery

Addiction has affected millions across various demographics nationwide. The latest figures continue to highlight devastating numbers of preventable overdose deaths and underscore an urgent need for robust recovery frameworks. Recent policy shifts, like updated DEA regulations, have driven some progress, notably in access to treatment services like medications for opioid use disorder. But a significant, pressing demand for comprehensive action remains.

This call to action encompasses the expansion of evidence-based care, which aims, in part, to remove access barriers. It also emphasizes community-based services ranging from secure housing to employment assistance (including recovery-ready workplaces with well-defined career pathways).

The Importance of This Year’s Election

Elections shape our country’s response to addiction. They hold the power to reform national policies, potentially shifting funding allocations, re-ordering legislative priorities, and improving societal awareness.

A vote this year is a vote for the future of addiction recovery. It’s a meaningful opportunity to influence how we as a nation support people on their journey to healing.

During elections, emphasis should be placed on campaigns that focus on stigma reduction, nurture empathy, and clearly express understanding of a person-first approach to recovery on a community level.

Legislative measures that support collaboration between research institutions, healthcare providers, and key decision-makers should be prioritized. A collaborative approach ensures that research findings seamlessly translate into effective policies and strategies, aligning data with practice.

The election cycle provides a beginning for new and senior policymakers alike to champion laws that safeguard people in recovery and protect them from discrimination. Securing basic rights like access to care, a self-determined course of treatment, and patient privacy protections are instrumental in our nation’s efforts to address the impacts of addiction.

Advocacy and Its Impact

Historical triumphs in the recovery community, where advocacy efforts have led to increased protections for patient privacy and funding for recovery services, exemplify the influence of a united voice. These narratives are testaments to the strength of advocacy and its essential role in driving positive change forward.

Each success story is a thread woven into the collective tapestry of experience. Our voices carry a clear message: Together, we possess the ability to drive systemic shifts.

In the same vein, stories of overcome adversity contribute to a transformative shift in stereotyping, de-stigmatizing, and cultivating deeper empathy for both addiction and recovery. Narratives about lived experience catalyze change.

Powerful storytelling and eloquent advocacy are dynamic forces that should be combined to educate and connect with people running for office.

How to Get Involved

Your involvement can make a significant impact.

Engage in the electoral process by registering to vote, attending informative webinars, and advocating for policy reforms. Understanding the candidates’ positions on addiction recovery is crucial, and we urge you to join us as we campaign for well-informed choices.

It’s simple: recovery voices do count, and recovery stories do have power.

Let this writing serve as your call to action for election season. Get involved, stay informed, and use your vote to champion the cause of recovery.

Faces & Voices of Recovery is here to listen and be of service. As esteemed partners of SAMHSA, The White House’s ONDCP, and other major recovery thought leaders, we are fierce policy advocates that offer industry-renowned education and peer support accreditation opportunities throughout the year. If you’re interested in hearing about recovery legislation or other industry news, sign up for updates. You can also donate to our cause anytime.