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 – 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



Recovery Community Celebrates Announcements of Marty Walsh and Rep. Deb Haaland as Nominees for Cabinet Level Positions in Biden-Harris Administration

January 8, 2021

Members of the Recovery Community would like to congratulate both Mayor Marty Walsh and U.S. Representative Deb Haaland, announced by President-elect Biden to be nominated to cabinet level positions in the new Administration.  Both Walsh and Haaland are public figures who are open about their long-term recovery from substance use disorders.

In December, President-elect Biden chose Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) to serve as the first Native American as Secretary of the Interior Department.  During the #CongressGoesPurple  observance of National Recovery Month, Congresswoman Haaland wrote on Twitter “As someone who is in recovery, I want to offer a message of hope to anyone struggling with addiction.  You are strong and you have my support.”

On January 7th, the Biden-Harris Administration announced plans to nominate Boston’s Mayor, Marty Walsh, for the next U.S. Secretary of Labor. In addition to his ample accomplishments in the labor sector and on behalf of working-class Americans nationwide, Mayor Walsh has paved pathways to progress and growth for those in recovery from addiction. As a person with more than 25 years in recovery, he has been a tireless advocate for the addiction recovery community. Mayor Walsh has spoken publicly about his own journey, invested in resources to support countless Bostonians, and even established The Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services.

We have no doubt that as Cabinet-level policymakers Haaland and Walsh will use every opportunity to highlight their own stories as shining examples of the power of recovery.  Through providing platforms and opportunities for Americans in recovery, we are also creating hope for struggling individuals and families by reducing the stigma associated with substance use disorders.

As national recovery organizations representing hundreds of affiliates nationwide and millions of American in long-term recovery, we hope that these nominees will be among many people in recovery in the Biden-Harris Administration. We aim to serve as a resource to the Biden-Harris administration to ensure that the voices of recovery are included in policy discussions at every level of our government.




Faces & Voices of Recovery

Association of Recovery in Higher Education

Association of Recovery Schools

Association of Alternative Peer Group Programs

Association of Recovery Community Organizations

National Alliance for Recovery Residences

RDP Newsletter – December 2020

December 8, 2020

December 2020
Digital Newsletter

Fewer clicks?! Yes, please!

Now available – Quick Actions from the Home Page to add new Participants, Interactions, Activity Logs and Material Distributions! Also, a quick Participant/Intake form that highlights ONLY your required fields.

If you have questions or would like to discuss getting a customization quote please let us know!

RDP Enhanced Layout is here!

To enable this feature for your staff by Program simply edit your program layout to Enhanced RDP from Original RDP! This lets you take control of the new view and when you implement it!

Have questions please submit a ticket from the RDP Homepage.

Your commitment makes it happen

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.

Please help us continue this mission and vision for years to come!

Donate Here!

Public Policy Newsletter – November 2020

November 19, 2020

November 2020
Policy Update
Nearing the end of the calendar year, progress has slowed greatly, but Faces & Voices is doing everything they can to lay a solid foundation for 2021. 

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

On the Hill…

Getting Ready for 2021

Through the Coalition for Whole Health, Faces & Voices is working on recommendations for policy priorities, which will be relayed to those shaping the future of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Some of these priorities will include an expansion of recovery support programs via new grant mechanisms, an expansion of the peer workforce, and a request for clarity in regard to new 42 CFR 2 regulations. As for the transition to the new administration, leadership announcements at SAMHSA or ONDCP are not expected until late March or Early April at the earliest.

Employment Services

Another program Faces & Voices is advocating for involves funds for people in recovery who are seeking new employment. Administered by the Secretary of Labor, this program will provide workforce and vocational training for those in recovery. The increase was $2 million, or a full 50% increase over last year’s amount.

“To award competitive grants to entities to carry out evidence-based programs to support individuals in substance use disorder treatment and recovery to live independently and participate in the workforce. Eligible grantees include entities that offer treatment or recovery services for individuals with substance use disorders, and partners with one or more local or State stake- holders that support recovery, independent living, and participation in the workforce.”

What this means…

While these two programs focus strictly on recovery support services, there were other aspects of the legislation that prove signs of progress. Increases were made to recovery support services in rural settings, and to programs that provide education and training to the SUD workforce that include peers. While the increases recommended by the Senate are not final, Faces & Voices is optimistic that when the appropriations process is complete, there will be significant gains.

In Action…


Faces & Voices now returns its focus to the federal budget and appropriations process. With the current continuing resolution set to expire December 11, we await the end of the process that will establish the budget for FY 2021.

While the House of Representatives finished their work on appropriations in the spring, the Senate only recently concluded their work this month. Our advocacy efforts were for the most part successful, as the Senate recommended a $2 million increase for the Building Communities of Recovery (BCOR) program, bringing its total to $10 million.

How its going…

The advocacy of Faces & Voices has resulted in a 67% increase in funding for this program in just two years.

The Senate also included this in their report, at our request:

“The Committee notes that Peer Support Networks focus on long-term, sustainable recovery and incorporate a full range of services such as case management, counseling, and community supports. SAMHSA is encouraged to ensure that grants employing peers comply with the highest standards within their respective states.”

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!

RDP Newsletter – November 2020

November 10, 2020

November 2020
Digital Newsletter

Enhanced RDP!

If you haven’t switched over yet,
what are you waiting for?The new participant layout also includes fields like Personal Pronouns and easier navigation of records via a tab layout.If you are tired of having to find the New TRS Log button, try the new layout today with Quick Actions available!

Reports, Reports and More!

The new My RDP Logs folder on the reporting tab will help users view and find all their records sorted by Month. Remember that My means record was created by the logged in user rather than they have been assigned! Let us know if you have any other reporting needs you would like met!

Monthly Trainings Going Strong!

On a recurring basis the RDP team is providing an onboarding training series for Standard, Manager and Admin users.

Sign-up for this directly from the Homepage of RDP!

Sign up now!

CAPRSS Newsletter – November 2020

November 3, 2020

November 2020
Digital Newsletter

Virtual Learning Community

Join us on November 18, 2020 at 12:00pm EDT for a webinar on Recruitment, Training, and Mentoring

This month we will focus on best practices in the recruitment of volunteers and peer recovery support workers. We will look closely at how training programs and mentoring can help develop and grow volunteer and peer workforce. Finally, documentation and the participatory process will be explored through this learning community.

Presenter: Kristen Aja, Senior Project Coordinator at Faces & Voices of Recovery

Register Here!

Kristen Aja

Kristen Aja is a Senior Project Coordinator at Faces & Voices of Recovery where she works primarily on expanding and supporting recovery community organizations across the nation.  As a training and technical assistance professional, she has provided instruction on a wide range of topics related to recovery community organizations and recovery support services.

Kristen has been involved in peer-based recovery for over a decade.  Shortly after she began her own recovery journey, she joined a community team that opened the 11th recovery community organization in the State of Vermont.   In 2013 Kristen was hired at the Vermont Recovery Network and held various positions over the years supporting peer recovery support services at the 12 recovery community organizations around the state.  She has extensive experience in peer recovery support services program design and implementation, training and workforce development, data collection and outcome measures, collaborations with stakeholders and building community partners.

Upcoming Webinars

Accreditation 101 – November 6, 2020 – 12pm EDT

Accreditation 101 is an introduction to accreditation course, where participants will learn the mission and purpose of CAPRSS, an overview of the standards and criteria, the steps in the accreditation process, establish resources for getting your organization accreditation ready, and for completing your application for accreditation candidacy.

Register Here

Accreditation 201 – November 20, 2020 – 12pm EDT

Accreditation 201 is designed to: Identify the elements of the CAPRSS standards taxonomy and how they relate. Describe the core domains and standards, and discuss how peer reviewers – and PRSS programs – will use standards, criteria, and elements of performance in the accreditation process.

Register Here