News About Addiction, Recovery and Advocacy

If you want to be in the know about what’s going on at our organization, you’ve come to the right place. Be sure to check back regularly to get our latest news updates.

Public Policy Update – June 2021

June 29, 2021
June 2021
Policy Update

On the Hill…

Budget Proposal

The Biden Administration has released its proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2022, and in the process has called for an historic investment in recovery support services. While the President’s budget is more proposal than policy- and serious work remains to be done to make these proposals a reality- we are inspired by the document and the administration’s call for an investment in these services that are so desperately needed in communities across the country.

Block Grant Funding

The White House has called for a significant increase in the Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment Block Grant, the first such increase in almost 15 years. The jump from $1.85 billion to $3.5 billion, almost a 100% increase, contains a landmark provision: 10% of the block grant, which funds state SUD activities, will be set aside for spending solely on recovery support services. Faces & Voices has advocated for close to two decades for this change. Our attention now turns to Congress to enact legislation that will make this change a reality. While the budget proposal is merely a proposal, it signifies the position of the White House on policy matters, and just as important, is an indicator of what the White House deems as a priority.

Building Communities of Recovery Program (BCOR)

The budget proposal also recommends increases in other programs that will benefit recovery support services, and their communities. The Building Communities of Recovery Program (BCOR) is recommended for a doubling of its budget, from $10 million to $20 million. The Recovery Community Services Program fared even better, with a proposed increase to $5.1 million (up from $2.4 million).

Just so you know…

HUD and the Recovery Community

While SAMHSA is the “home” government agency for SUD policy and funding, there are programs across government that have an impact on our work. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is responsible for a program that invests $25 million in recovery housing annually, ever since the passage of the SUPPORT act in 2018. The Recovery Housing Program (RHP) allows States and the District of Columbia to provide stable, transitional housing for individuals in recovery from a substance-use disorder. The funding covers a period of not more than two years or until the individual secures permanent housing, whichever is earlier. The program has allocated funds to 28 grantees, including 27 States and the District of Columbia. The FY 2022 budget fully funds this program once again.

CDC & Recovery

The Center for Disease Control also plays a role in our work. CDC’s FY 2022 request of $19,500,000 for Infectious Diseases and the Opioid Epidemic is $6,500,000 above the FY 2021 Enacted level. This increase will expand activities to target the infectious disease consequences of the public health crisis involving injection drug use, including viral hepatitis, HIV, and bacterial and fungal infections. This funding offers support for jurisdictions to address infectious disease vulnerabilities related to injection drug use. In addition, CDC plans to expand support for syringe services programs and strengthen national communication capacity on the effectiveness and safety of syringe services programs.  It seeks to strengthen state and local capacity to detect and respond to infectious disease clusters and prevent further transmission, improve testing and linkage to care for infectious diseases related to injection drug use, and increase linkage to substance use disorder treatment at healthcare encounters for drug use related infections.

The Work Continues…

Juneteenth & Race Equity

Faces & Voices of Recovery would like to acknowledge that, On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all enslaved people. Nearly two and a half years later, on June 19, 1865, the enslaved residing in Texas received news of their freedom. Juneteenth marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. On June 17, 2021 President Joseph Biden signed a law making Juneteenth an official federal holiday. Faces & Voices of Recovery recognizes Juneteenth as a national holiday, and we honor it as the day all slaves in America became free. On this important day, we are proud to release the following document regarding Race Equity. It is the culmination of a year-long examination and thoughtful reflection on our collective role in the recovery community’s pathway toward race equity. We are grateful to our partners in this endeavor for their painstaking work. We also extend an open invitation to any organization who would like to join us in this work. We believe there is ample opportunity to heal. The work continues.
View the Document here!

Juneteenth and Racial Equity at Faces & Voices

June 19, 2021

Faces & Voices of Recovery would like to acknowledge that, On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all enslaved people. Nearly two and a half years later, on June 19, 1865, the enslaved residing in Texas received news of their freedom. Juneteenth marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. On June 17, 2021 President Joseph Biden signed a law making Juneteenth an official federal holiday. Faces & Voices of Recovery recognizes Juneteenth as a national holiday, and we honor it as the day all slaves in America became free.

On this important day, we are proud to release the following document regarding Race Equity. It is the culmination of a year-long examination and thoughtful reflection on our collective role in the recovery community’s pathway toward race equity. We are grateful to our partners in this endeavor for their painstaking work. We also extend an open invitation to any organization who would like to join us in this work.

We believe there is ample opportunity to heal.

The work continues.


Race Equity in Recovery North Star final-2

Action Alert! – 10% Set-Aside and Billions dedicated for Recovery

May 28, 2021

May 2021
Action Alert

Breaking News!

10% Set-Aside and Billions dedicated for Recovery

Our hearts are elated. Our eyes filled with tears of joy. Today, The President introduced the FY 2022 Budget, which includes – for the first time in history – a 10% set-aside for recovery support services.

  • $1.7 billion increase – Substance Use Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Block Grant = $3.5 billion total
  • $750 million increase – State Opioid Response Grant (SORG) = $2.25 billion total
  • $500 million increase – Peer Support Technical Assistance Center = $1.5 billion total
  • $10 million increase – Building Communities of Recovery = $20 million total

“[The budget includes] … a new 10 percent set aside within the SABG for recovery support services in order to significantly expand the continuum of care both upstream and downstream. This new set-aside will support the development of local recovery community support institutions (i.e. recovery community centers, recovery homes, recovery schools, recovery institutions, recovery ministries; develop strategies and education campaigns, trainings, and events to reduce addiction/recovery-related stigma and discrimination at the local level; provide addiction treatment and recovery resources and support system navigation; make accessible peer recovery support services that support diverse populations and are inclusive of all pathways of recovery; and collaborate and coordinate with local private and non-profit clinical health care provides, the faith community, city, county. state, and federal public health agencies and criminal justice response efforts”.

The Recovery Community will make significant strides with this new funding. Our work begins advocating for its enactment. Stay tuned for additional updates as new information becomes available.

Public Policy Update – May 2021

May 20, 2021

May 2021
Policy Update

On the Hill…


The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the lead federal agency for services related to the prevention of, treatment for, and recovery from substance use disorders. It is led by the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, a position appointed by the President. Three months into his term, President Biden has appointed Dr. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon of Connecticut to lead the agency.

Who’s that…

Dr. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon has had several positions at the national and state level. As the commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, she has been committed to promoting recovery oriented, integrated, and culturally responsive services and systems that foster dignity, respect, and meaningful community inclusion. At Yale University, she maintains a faculty appointment in the Yale Department of Psychiatry and has been Director of Cultural Competence and Health Disparities Research and Consultation at Yale’s Program for Recovery and Community Health (PRCH), which is affiliated with the Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC). If confirmed, she will be the first person of color nominated to lead the agency.

In Other News…

SAMHSA is currently under the stewardship of Acting Director Tom Coderre, a former Faces & Voices employee and a man in long term recovery. In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and SAMHSA announced that federal funding may now be used to purchase rapid fentanyl test strips (FTS) in an effort to help curb the dramatic spike in drug overdose deaths largely driven by the use of strong synthetic opioids, including illicitly manufactured fentanyl. FTS can be used to determine if drugs have been mixed or cut with fentanyl, providing people who use drugs and communities with important information about fentanyl in the illicit drug supply so they can take steps to reduce their risk of overdose. This change applies to all federal grant programs as long as the purchase of FTS is consistent with the purpose of the program.

In Action…

Current Administration

The Biden Administration also recently made good on their promise to reform the “X waiver,” after halting efforts of the previous administration to do the same. The Department of Health and Human Services has determined that under the new rules, doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nurse midwives and some other types of nurses will be allowed to prescribe buprenorphine without first receiving specialized training. Health care providers will require additional training and federal waivers if they plan to treat more than 30 patients with the medication. Studies have shown that people taking the medication are less likely to develop HIV or hepatitis C, or to be unemployed or imprisoned.

Peers Speak Out! – Faces & Voices and Community Catalyst Project’s Data is In

May 4, 2021

Peers Speak Out!

Hello Everyone!

As many of you know, Faces & Voices of Recovery has been partnering with Community Catalysts and the American Society of Addiction Medicine to identify the results of treatment and recovery services most important to individuals with substance use challenges or in recovery, and learn whether those priorities change during COVID-19.

More than 20 million Americans have substance use disorders, and during COVID-19, overdose deaths are increasing and demand for treatment is higher. We need more effective and equitable addiction services that meet peoples’ individual goals and needs.

We encourage you to share these findings with your networks and incorporate into your advocacy these recommendations for advances in research and treatment to help achieve the outcomes identified.

What we found:

  • Overall, people prioritized survival and improving their quality of life and placed less priority on completely stopping all drug and alcohol use.
  • As a result of treatment and recovery services they also want improved mental health, to be able to meet their basic needs, increase self-confidence, and connect to ongoing services.
  • Based on our engagement of 882 individuals with lived experience of substance use disorders across the country, through an online survey, focus groups and a National Peer Council, the outcomes from treatment and recovery support services that matter most to individuals are:
    • Staying alive
    • Improving quality of life
    • Reducing harmful substance use
    • Improving mental health
    • Meeting basic needs
    • Increasing self-confidence/self-efficacy
    • Increasing connection to services and supports pandemic, improving mental health replaced stopping all drug/alcohol use as a top priority.  
  • During COVID-19, the majority of respondents want the same top results as they did prior to the pandemic. For the 20 percent of people who prioritized different outcomes during COVID-19, quality of life became less important while connection to recovery support services, and taking care of basic needs, became more important
  • Our study also found differences in priority outcomes across race and gender. In addition, addiction continues to be criminalized, especially among Black and brown communities. It is essential to improve cultural effectiveness of services, and address systemic racism.
    • For example, 25 percent of white respondents selected “stop all drug and alcohol use” as a top priority compared to 13 percent of multiracial respondents.
    • Also, 59 percent of transgender/nonbinary respondents selected “stay alive” as a priority outcome compared to 26 percent of women.

Our Recommendations:

  • Policymakers should increase funding for a full continuum of services, including peer recovery support, and boost harm reduction programs that keep people alive, such as overdose prevention and syringe services.
  • Service providers should clarify each individual’s treatment and recovery goals and adjust services to meet those goals. Mental health supports should be fully integrated.
  • Researchers should investigate which services best achieve the outcomes patients want. They should also stratify this research by race/ethnicity and gender to inform solutions that address systemic inequities.
Contact the project team with questions
Phone: 617-275-2945

Public Policy Update – April 2021

April 22, 2021
April 2021
Policy Update

On the Hill…

CARA 3.0

Senators PortmanWhitehouse, and Klobuchar unveiled their “CARA 3.0” legislation at the end of March, which will be the retiring Portman’s last attempt to bolster his landmark legislation from 2016, the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act. The bill addresses several aspects of SUD policy, including prevention, treatment, recovery, and the criminal justice system.

What that means…

The bill calls for an investment in recovery community organizations on a scale unlike anything we have seen in the past. The total is $250 million. $200 million of that would build a national infrastructure for recovery support services to help individuals move successfully from treatment into long-term recovery. The goal is to build connections between recovery support services and networks, including treatment programs, mental health providers, treatment systems, and other recovery supports. Funds may also be used on efforts to reduce stigma associated with substance use; to develop recovery wellness plans that address barriers to recovery, including social determinants of health; and to use telehealth to support recovery in rural and underserved areas. Another $50 million is authorized in grants for peer recovery services to provide continuing care and ongoing community support for individuals to maintain their recovery. These organizations are nonprofits that mobilize resources within and outside the recovery community to increase long-term recovery and that are wholly or principally governed by people in recovery who reflect the community served.

Other programs in the bill include a national youth and young adult recovery initiative, with $10 million authorized annually to provide substance use recovery support services to youth and young adults enrolled in high school or an institution of higher education, and to build communities of support for youth and young adults in substance use recovery; and an Excellence in Recovery Housing program, which requires SAMHSA, along with national accrediting entities and reputable providers of recovery housing services, to develop guidelines for states to promote the availability of high-quality recovery housing.

The “CARA 3.0” legislation faces a very long road through Congress and is likely to be altered significantly before the final product is voted on. Faces and Voices had significant input into the first draft, and will continue to try and improve the bill to provide even greater benefits to the recovery community.

More Info Here

In Action…

Drug Policy Priorities for year one

On April 1, 2021, President Biden and Vice President Harris released their administration’s Drug Policy Priorities for the upcoming year. President Biden has made clear that addressing the overdose and addiction epidemic is an urgent priority for his administration.

Priorities include:

  • Expanding access to evidence-based treatment
  • Advancing racial equity issues in our approach to drug policy
  • Enhancing evidence-based harm reduction efforts
  • Supporting evidence-based prevention efforts to reduce youth substance use
  • Reducing the supply of illicit substances
  • Advancing recovery-ready workplaces and expanding the addiction workforce
  • Expanding access to recovery support services

What that Means…

The plan cites the need to identify a research agenda to examine existing recovery-ready workplaces. Recovery research has always been a high policy priority for Faces & Voices of Recovery. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) will request agencies to support training for clinicians in addiction with special emphasis on community-based services in underserved areas, such as federally qualified health centers, the Veterans Health Administration, and the Indian Health Service. The White House will seek to identify authorized, evidence-based vocational programs that can expand the addiction workforce but that have not yet secured appropriations. Also, they will seek to produce guidelines for federal managers on hiring and working with people in recovery from a substance use disorder.

ONDCP acknowledges that as we seek to expand the continuum of care to address the chronic nature of substance use disorders, recovery support services help people build recovery capital to manage and sustain long-term recovery. Recovery support service- to include peer support services and engagement, recovery housing, recovery community centers, and recovery programs in high schools and colleges- are a necessary investment. Scaling up the capacity and infrastructure of these programs will create strong resource networks to equip communities to support recovery for everyone.

Read Full Statement Here


Biden-Harris Administration’s Statement of Drug Policy Priorities

April 2, 2021

On April 2, 2021, President Biden and Vice President Harris released their statement of Drug Policy Priorities for their first year in office.

Please Read below for the full statement.


The Biden-Harris Administration’s Statement of Drug Policy Priorities for Year One

Faces & Voices Update – March 2021

March 30, 2021

March 20201 
First Quarter
Digital Newsletter

Save the Date!

Faces & Voices of Recovery is turning 20 this year!

Join us where it all started in St. Paul, Minnesota on October 3-6th. Stay tuned for more exciting updates!

Toolkit is Live!

After months of work in January Faces & Voices of Recovery launched an RCO Emergency Preparedness Toolkit to aid and assist all Recovery Community Organizations nationwide.

The handouts are a collection of materials that have been provided by multiple resources and compiled in order to be easily accessible for the public needs. Faces & Voices has collated these resources to guide RCOs and other agencies in their Emergency Preparedness planning.

Resources include:

  • Best Practices
  • Case Studies
  • Communications
  • Technology
  • Treatment Access During Emergencies
  • Resources
  • External Links
  • RCO Toolkit Site

After creating an account and logging into the system you can access and download the complete toolkit for FREE

RCO Toolkit Site

Federal Policy &
Advocacy Priorities

In January Faces & Voices launched our federal policy and advocacy priorities for the next two years.

Take a look and take these priorities with you. Cultivate the diverse voices of individuals and their families affected by addiction. In your community or on Capitol Hill, carry these priorities with intention. Together we can accomplish amazing things.

Read them here!
The National Recovery Institute offers competency and strength-based professional development and leadership training specific to the recovery field.

Adjunct Faculty Opportunities Available 
We draw from a pool of external consultants with expertise in recovery support services, organizational development and much more.
Want to know more?

Please send an email with “Adjunct Faculty” in the subject line along with your bio, résumé, subject matter expertise and letter of reference to Joseph Hogan-Sanchez at

More about NRI Trainings Here!
The Council on Accreditation of Peer Recovery Support Services (CAPRSS) at Faces & Voices of Recovery works to identify and support excellence in the delivery of peer recovery support services and other activities by recovery community organizations (RCOs).

Any questions on how to get your organization accredited? Please contact

More about CAPRSS Here!
The Association of Recovery Community Organizations (ARCO) at Faces & Voices of Recovery unites and supports the growing network of local, regional and statewide recovery community organizations (RCOs).

ARCO links RCOs and their leaders with local and national allies and provides training and technical assistance to groups. ARCO helps build the unified voice of the organized recovery community and fulfill our commitment to supporting the development of new groups and strengthening existing ones.

More about ARCO Here!
The Recovery Data Platform (RDP) is a cloud-based software solution developed and managed by Faces & Voices of Recovery. RDP aids RCOs and Peer Service Providers with the tools and assessments needed to effectively implement, document, and evaluate peer recovery coaching programs.

The Recovery Data Platform continues to grow, and based on your feedback we have created training modules, as well as other helpful resources such as FAQs and other useful tips.

Ready to schedule a demo? Sign up here

More about RDP Here!

Virtual Shift

January 22, 2021

2020 was a challenging time. It may have looked different. We may have had less hugs and more virtual high-fives, but we were still able to accomplish amazing things.

This ongoing series will look at some of the amazing Recovery Community Organizations, their struggles, triumphs, and unrelenting desire to help others find health, wellness, and success on their journeys of recovery.


In March of last year, Recovery Community Network in Central Minnesota, made the difficult decision to shut their physical doors due to COVID-19 restrictions. Just prior to their closure, Recovery Community Network (RCN) with the assistance of funding from the Department of Health Services, was in process of opening new offices. What was to be a joyous occasion, turned into a store faced by many in 2020, but through struggle comes growth.


RCN Director, Major John Donovan, and his staff, had to make  a complete virtual shift. Organizational growth that was planned to be implemented and enacted during year 2 or 3 of the brick and mortar facility, now had to happen at warp-speed. A website was created. A Constant Contact account, which allowed RCN to mass email and make connections to their email network, was enabled. By adapting to the need for change, and embracing the very spirit of recovery, RCN managed to grow their 1400-member listserv to nearly 6000 members by year’s end.


In the COVID-19 world, digital meetings via Zoom have become a standard of 2020, but RCN took the common TRS (Telephonic Recovery Services) system of communication used by Recovery Community Organizations and built on that system by creating TORS (Telephonic Online Recovery Services). Realizing that Gen Y and Millennials don’t always respond well to phone calls, they created a text system, with weekly check-ins of simple questions and conversation starters, like “How are you doing on your Recovery this week?” Those simple texts granted opportunity for an individual to seek support on their recovery journey. Donovan says that those moments, where individuals feel comfortable in showing vulnerability – knowing they need additional help – makes for some “good news stories,” and makes it all worth it.


While many programs changed, the Recovery Community Network’s goal for continued recovery support services for Veterans did not. Major Donovan, who served in the United States Military for 27 years and is a person in long-term recovery for 42 years, has blended his experiences into the programs for RCN by engaging the Veteran community in Central Minnesota.


The Recovery Coach Academy is a workshop training offered by RCN for trainings of individuals hoping to find jobs in Peer Recovery Support Services. Through grants, they have been able to offer the Recovery Coach Academy training to 16 Veterans. The program has proven wildly popular and in 2021 they will be able to provide full scholarships to another 12 veterans! Donovan feels that through these programs, Veterans can use their recovery to give back to those around them. Service to others and their country is something Maj. Donovan has found to aid Veterans in their recovery.


RCN also recently received a $5000 grant from Central Minnesota Community Foundation for a transportation program, which provides free transportation to individuals entering residential care for their substance use. Donovan elaborates, “when an individual makes the decision to enter a [treatment] program, often their only option is to drive themselves to a facility which is not always the safest choice.” Through this program they will provide free and safe transportation to residential treatment. The program will also provide transportation for individuals in local halfway homes to mutual-aid group meetings.


We can all admit that 2020 was challenging for many, but Recovery Community Network and many other RCO’s have proven that the Recovery Community will not be stopped from performing their missions and services to help individuals with substance use disorder and their communities. We cannot wait to see what 2021 has in store us!



If you have a story you want to share, please reach out to Emily Porcelli at

Announcement: Federal Policy and Advocacy Priorities – 2021 & 2022

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021


As we enter our twentieth anniversary, we trim last year’s vegetation and nourish the roots that have allowed the Recovery Movement to flower and grow – advocacy.

As a new Administration and Congressional term begin, we look to the future. Through the building of new relationships with decision-makers and key partners, we continue to prioritize the faces and voices of those in recovery, those using substances, and their families.

Today, we introduce our federal policy and advocacy priorities for the next two years. Take these priorities with you. Cultivate the diverse voices of individuals and their families affected by addiction. In your community or on Capitol Hill, carry these priorities with intention. Sow the expectation of recovery and raise your voice – we’ve got growing to do.


Review our priorities here:

Federal Policy and Advocacy Priorities – 2021 & 2022


Warm regards,

Keegan Wicks
National Advocacy and Outreach Manager
Faces & Voices of Recovery
Advocate. Act. Advance