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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.

RDP Newsletter – August 2020

August 11, 2020
August 2020
Digital Newsletter

It’s Finally Here!

Our participant mobile application, MyRecoveryJourney, has launched on both iOS and Android devices! Please complete the form below and we’ll reach out!
MyRecoveryJourney Signup

Fewer clicks?! Yes, please!

Coming soon 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.

National Recovery Month Annoucement

August 5, 2020

National Recovery Month 2020

National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) is an international observance held every September to educate people about how substance use and mental health services can enable individuals and their families to live healthy and rewarding lives. This observance celebrates the millions of people in recovery from mental health and substance use issues, reminding us that behavioral health is an essential component to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can, and do, recover.

Now in its 31st year, Recovery Month looks a little different. Previously, Recovery Month was sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In June, SAMHSA announced its decision to retire its annual convening of Recovery Month stakeholders as well as the development of future themes and assets, and the management of the events calendar.

As members of the National Recovery Community, Faces & Voices will participate by launching a new website for Recovery Month. This website, NationalRecoveryMonth.org, will serve as the central location for recovery events and assets that make our celebrations possible during the month of September.

Faces & Voices of Recovery is pleased to host the new site for Recovery Month. Please post all upcoming events to the new website.

The SAMSHA site will no longer be updated with current events.

We are grateful for SAMHSA’s 30-year sponsorship of Recovery Month and are excited to unveil this new chapter that we will achieve as the Recovery Community. Though SAMHSA will no longer sponsor this celebration, their support of Recovery Month continues as they embrace the community’s efforts to speak about the gains made by those in recovery and share our stories with neighbors, friends, and colleagues.

Post upcoming events to the NEW Recovery Month website and download this year’s theme, Celebrating Connections. Whether our faces and voices are shared through digital platforms or safe, social-distanced gatherings we celebrate the millions of people who have found, are finding, and have yet to find this path to hope, health, and personal growth.

Check out the new site here!
The 2020 Recovery Month theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Celebrating Connections,” embraces the challenges experienced in 2020. When we celebrate our connections to the diversity of people from all walks of life striving for recovery, we find support and courage to speak up for inclusion, respect, and opportunity.

CAPRSS Newsletter – August 2020

August 4, 2020

August 2020
Digital Newsletter

Virtual Learning Community

Join us on August 12 at 12:00pm EDT for a webinar on the Participatory Process.

This FREE webinar will feature special guests – Efrain Baez & Ginny Mercure.

Please join us for a discussion on this evolving and important subject.

Register Here!

Ginny Mercure

I have over thirty years of experience as a senior manager at Gandara Center, the Latin American Health Institute, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), among other state and private non-profit organizations. My commitment to providing guidance, support and assistance to new and operational peer recovery support centers spans over a decade, commencing in 2009, when we submitted a successful proposal to the Massachusetts DPH and opened the Stairway To Recovery Support Center. I participated in the CAPRSS accreditation pilot when STR was one of five centers from across the country asked to participate in this pilot by Faces and Voices of People in Recovery, helped to complete the Performance Improvement Plan and have been part of the reaccreditation process. This experience was vitally important in establishing solid structure, operations and governance required to successfully meet the initial challenges of opening new centers, the ability to continue to remain focused on recovery principles as the centers matured and to ensure that the agency, staff and members had authentic shared ownership of each center’s outcomes. By the middle of 2019 when I retired, I supervised 5 centers and assisted them with creating peer-centered policies and procedures as well as using peer decision making in a transparent manner to direct spending, planning and governance.

Efrain Baez

Hello, my name is Efrain Baez, a person living in long term recovery. I have three priorities in my life: my family, my recovery and my job. I have worked in the Substance Use Disorder field for over twenty years. I worked at Casa Esperanza, Latin American Health Institute and Gandara Center. In 2008 I started working at Stairway to Recovery as a Program Director and I remain the Director almost 13 years later. In 2012, I was invited by Tom Hill from faces and Voices of Recovery to participate in a pilot program to be part of the accreditation process for Recovery Centers done by CAPRSS. We were accredited in 2014 for five years’ accreditation, and in 2019 we went through the re-accreditation process. Besides the accreditation, I have been involved in many projects that involve Stairway to Recovery members using the participatory process. To mention a few, we brought Training to Work, where we trained peers to become Recovery Coaches, we brought a SAMHSA grant Offender Reentry Program, working with peers who are ready to be released from jail to the Brockton area, and also we brought the Family Nurturing Program, working with families who are struggling with S/U disorders and Ambassador Project for men of color in recovery from SUDs with compulsive gambling issues. I was awarded in 2012 by the Department of Public Health Bureau of Substance Addiction Services at annual No Wrong Door Conference the Excellence in Program Development award, and I also received the Compañerismo Award. My motivation is in giving back and showing that Recovery is possible, and there is nothing  that motivates me more than seeing our peers live a better life in recovery.

Upcoming Webinars

Accreditation 101 – August 7, 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 – September 18, 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

This is Our Lane

July 31, 2020

When I was thinking about what to write for this blog, I went through a list of the usual suspects – the state of peer recovery, the role of Faces & Voices in the recovery community, the scourge of stigma, and a host of worthy topics.

You know, …… “staying in my lane.”

I suspect there are many who could do a better job covering those topics, so instead, I’d rather talk about the journey I’ve experienced as a relative newcomer (less than 20 years of experience) to the peer and recovery world. More specifically, I’d like to highlight some recent changes in tone and tenor of discussion about what it means to be a “Recovery Advocate.”

When I washed up on the shores of recovery island, I was informed about the importance of keeping a relatively narrow focus on the types of policy issues we support, funding we pursued, etc. Coming from the private sector, this made a certain type of sense to me, as mission and scope creep can be deadly in a for-profit environment. My recovery DNA also reminded me to “Keep It Simple Sweetheart,” so the approach dovetailed nicely with that ethos. To borrow a phrase, “All went well for a time,” but I began to notice some things about the national recovery movement. My life experience as a black man (albeit with the benefit of parents who achieved advanced degrees and the financial benefit that accompanies that) has been one of professional isolation from people who look like me. In the tech/marketing sector where I came from, I was frequently the only black senior management type in the room. This is in no way an exclusive experience for black men, but a common observation.

I heard robust dialogue about health parity and discrimination against people with substance use disorder, and while these terms were valid, they rubbed against something in the back of my head. This culminated one day in me seeing a document that demanded reparations from pharmaceutical companies for harms from the opioid overdose crisis. To be clear, these items are relevant. They speak to what advocacy and a demand for justice are all about. Unfortunately, this advocacy and demand for justice seemed to go silent when other issues of social injustice came up. As I examined even some of the internal processes of Faces & Voices, it became clear that there had been an egregious oversight regarding matters of culture. Many of our processes made no mention of culture, diversity or anything of the sort. We weren’t alone. As we looked around, we saw many organizations, doing great work, but with no explicit attention to this issue. Confounding matters, there was also a contingent of those who insisted that cultural issues were somehow, outside the scope of what recovery advocates do. All of this against the backdrop of the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks.

To steal another phrase from literature I love… “How dark it is before the dawn.” I can only describe what I experienced in that period as a crisis of faith in the recovery movement, humanity, and general rules of fair play. Suddenly, some things came into view. I had known them for a while, but this experience gave them voice in a way that nothing else had previously. I cannot separate my blackness from my recovery anymore that I can separate my gender identity from my sexuality from my ability from my body size from my socioeconomic position. I’m not 6 people, I’m one person. The business of being able to focus only on recovery is a matter of privilege. At no time in my journey have I or any other person of color been able to exist outside of that intersectionality.

Shortly after all that epiphany, that same recovery DNA I mentioned earlier also began to reframe the discussion around what to do, rather than what to think. I won’t bore you with all the details of what I did individually, or what we did as an organization. Some of that is on our website/Facebook/Twitter.

So here’s the point (if you’re still reading). I don’t get to pick recovery justice outside of the frame of social justice because recovery justice is social justice. This doesn’t mean I need to be an expert on all social justice issues, but I don’t get to stay on the sidelines. Infringement of civil rights regarding recovery is no different than the infringement of civil rights based on race, religion, gender identity, sexuality, or ability. To act like we stand for one but not the other is at a minimum disingenuous, and worst-case scenario, supportive of systemic oppression.

While this might seem to some like a course change, I would argue that we’ve always been social justice warriors. The passion and energy I have seen regarding recovery issues is truly something to behold. We’re just widening the road a bit.

This is our lane!

July Policy Update

July 22, 2020

July 2020
Policy Update

Happy Birthday CARA!

July 22!

Today marks the four-year anniversary of the day the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 was signed into law. The bill was introduced by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (WI) as the first major federal addiction act in 40 years. CARA authorized over $181 million to respond to the opioid epidemic and was intended to greatly increase both prevention programs and the availability of treatment programs. In May 2017, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced grants totaling $2.6 million for recovery community organizations to build addiction recovery networks and engage in public education as authorized under CARA. Today, through the advocacy efforts of Faces & Voices of Recovery and the Association of Recovery Community Organizations (ARCO), the Building Communities of Recovery (BCOR) grants have grown to $8 million, and with your help, we are aiming for an increase in the 2020 appropriations bill.

COVID-19

Our Strategy

Through June, we continued our “two-track” advocacy strategy, which includes our pursuit of funding for Recovery Community Organizations (RCO’s) and peer recovery support services in general, and how we can do this through the lens of COIVD 19.

Behavioral Health Legislation

In an effort to address the overwhelming increase in opioid-related overdoses and overall behavioral health needs during the pandemic, the House and Senate have both introduced bills that would provide funding for organizations and entities that are intentional in serving populations where COVID-19 has had the most impact and areas with the highest cases of the virus.

  • On June 29th, Representative Max Rose (NY) and Senator Tina Smith (MN) introduced companion bills on June 29th in the Senate and House to make sure public organizations and nonprofits can more effectively and efficiently provide mental health and substance use disorder services during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and future emergencies. Through the Emergency Support for Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services Act, organizations that provide peer recovery support services would be eligible for assistance. We are pleased to report that in the text of the legislation, wherever treatment and prevention services qualify for eligibility, so do recovery support services.
  • On April 24th, Representative Ann McLane Kuster (NH), along with Representative John Katko (NY), introduced HR 6620, which would authorize grants to address substance use during COVID–19. The legislation, which primarily focuses on harm reduction,  establishes a grant program for states and community-based organizations, and recovery support services and efforts to reduce stigma are an allowable use of the funds.

Appropriations for Recovery

On the more “regular” advocacy agenda, we engaged in a discussion with the House Appropriations Committee to advocate for increases to SAMHSA programs that benefit recovery support services and RCOs. While these conversations normally take place in March, the appropriations process has been severely delayed by the pandemic. We have reinforced our requests this month, citing the inequitable funding for recovery support services (as compared to treatment and prevention.)

We also received welcome news from the House Appropriations Committee. While there is still quite a bit of work to do before it becomes a reality, we have cleared one hurdle on the road to more funding for RCOs. Due in large part to our advocacy, the Building Communities of Recovery (BCOR) program at SAMHSA was given a $2 million increase. Just as important, the committee mentioned BCOR in their accompanying report, stating: “The Committee includes an increase of $2,000,000 for enhanced long-term recovery support principally governed by people in recovery from substance use disorders. Such support reflects the community being served and encourages the role of recovery coaches.” Only a select few government programs receive mention in the committee report, so we view this as significant progress.

On a final note, we continue to advocate for the passage of the Family Support Services Act of 2020, introduced by Senator Gillibrand of NY in January, which if passed would provide $5 million per year for five years to fund community based organizations to expand and enhance evidence informed family support services. Stay tuned for action alerts to contact your legislators to educate them on the need for support for individuals and families, as well as impacted children, especially for communities and populations hardest hit by the epidemic.

RDP Newsletter – July 2020

July 14, 2020

July 2020
Digital Newsletter

It’s Finally Here!

Our participant mobile application, MyRecoveryJourney, has launched on both iOS and Android devices! Register for the next RDP Mobile App Orientation tomorrow, July 15th!
Register Here!
If you are unable to attend, but would like to deploy the app at your organization, please complete the form here and we’ll reach out!

Referral UPGRADE on its way!

Based on your feedback the RDP team has taken your suggestions and made them reality! Streamlining reporting and tracking of referrals for our users was a priority. Therefore, Referral Entry has been made consistent from Interactions to both the TRS and RC Logs. Users can now simply select as many Referrals from a single multi-select list to create records! Needed more detail, like who they referred to? Now this information can be added to any of these record types by access the referral itself. Using this new referral process will make it easier to pull a report of Referrals made without having to pull Interactions or TRS logs separately for this detail.
Expect this release July 27th and be sure to reach out if you have any questions using the RDP Ticket System!

Contact Us Reminder!

Happy belated 4th of July! We know sometimes passwords are forgotten after a long holiday weekend!

If you are unable to access RDP for any reason, please bookmark the following link to ensure you can still get ahold of us easily!

Bookmark me!
Remember that our ticket system routes your request to available staff to ensure the quickest reply possible! Also, this is a great way to ask us questions or to simply provide your feedback! Thank you for continuing supporting us by using this effective communication tool!

CAPRSS Newsletter – July 2020

July 2, 2020

July 2020
Digital Newsletter

Virtual Learning Community

Join us on July 8, 2020 at 12:00pm EDT for a webinar on Management Systems – The Importance of Collecting Data.

This FREE webinar will feature special guest – Denise Holden from the RASE Project.

Please join us for a discussion on this evolving and important subject.

Register Here!

Denise Holden & the RASE Project

Denise Holden is the founder and CEO of The RASE Project, a Recovery Community Organization serving Central Pennsylvania and Central Florida. The RASE Project is a 501 (c) 3, non-profit, charitable organization. RASE is a Recovery Community Organization, which means that it is comprised entirely of staff and volunteers from the Recovery Community and it exists to serve the Recovery Community.

The RASE Project serves Central Pennsylvania and Central Florida by providing advocacy services for individuals in or seeking recovery from SUD; safe and secure therapeutic recovery housing for men and women in early recovery; peer to peer recovery services like Medication Assisted Recovery, Recovery Specialist Services, Life Skills classes, Recovery 101 groups, Recovery Planning Warm Hand off for Overdose Survivors and Vocational Assistance; positive social events like dances, workshops, and breakfasts; consciousness raising activities, public policy forums to disseminate the most recent legislation affecting the Recovery Community. We facilitate grassroots organizing in the Recovery Community to draw vital and enthusiastic volunteers. Ultimately, we strive to enhance the recovery process through positive interaction and empowering assistance.

July 14, 2020 – 6:30pm EDT

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Community Forum

We are asking for your participation and encourage your input.
We’re here to listen.Join us in an open conversation on diversity, equity and inclusion.

This event is free and open to everyone.

Join the Conversation Here

Upcoming Webinars

Accreditation 201 – July 17, 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

Faces & Voices Update – June 2020

June 30, 2020
 

June 2020

Second Quarter
Digital Newsletter

Recovery Leadership Summit!

On June 15th and 16th Faces & Voices hosted the annual Recovery Leadership Summit. And while it may have looked a bit different this year, due to the event going virtual, it was an amazing success because of all of you!

Featuring 5 separate learning tracks with 30 sessions, 6 keynotes, and countless activities, the summit was attended by nearly 356 individuals from around the globe.

Thanks for all who attended and hope to see everyone next year!

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

Although the travel for trainings has been taking us to our home offices instead of onsite, NRI has still managed to provide technical assistance to folks in Indiana, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Florida! Can we add your state to our list?!

To learn more about our available trainings contact us at NRI@facesandvoicesofrecovery.org

More about NRI 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).

We are excited to announce that there are seven new Candidates for CAPRSS accreditation this quarter.  Although the national pandemic has directly effected CAPRSS site visits, our team has been working to build out a plan to move forward and protect the health and safety of the site reviewers and accreditation candidates.

Any questions on how to get your organization accredited? Please contact info@caprss.org

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).

Faces & Voices has recently welcomed 16 new ARCO members, and 14 ARCO members have been renewed.

We stand in solidarity with all of our ARCO members, advocating for securing and expanding funding for vital community-based recovery support services. View our 2020 legislative priorities and stay tuned – we are in discussion for planning a fall 2020 hill day for you.

Any questions on how to access your portal or get the maximum return on your benefits contact arco@facesandvoicesofrecovery.org

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.

In Q2, our team deployed the RDP mobile app companion, and has revamped the tools for documenting and tracking referrals!

Ready to schedule a demo? Sign up here

More about RDP Here!

Featured Blog of the Month

In the upcoming months, Faces & Voices will be posting blogs on many issues and topics; from dimensions of wellness to stories of recovery and resilience from staff as well as other members of the Recovery Community.

Check out the most recent post from Faces & Voices Chief Executive Officer Patty McCarthy on “The Transformative Effect of Belonging and Empowerment.”

Read it here!

When a Matter Matters Most

June 30, 2020

Today, matter has a new meaning. By definition, a matter is important and significant.  For many, their recovery matters most, as does mine.  In years past, I have had the opportunity to go to Washington, DC and attend a conference and meet and mingle with friends and associates in recovery—with hugs and handshakes. I arrived with expectation and motivation to gain wisdom and fellowship. I was never disappointed. This year, Washington D.C came to me. The Faces & Voices of Recovery virtual Recovery Leadership Summit was filled with expectation, anticipation, and curiosity. I was prepared to Zoom into the virtual world of conferencing in a new and expansive way.  I made my bed, showered, and dressed presentably for viewing and being viewed. The only travel required was to the frig and the necessary room. Bed and board were at hand. I settled in my comfortable chair and put my best face forward. I launched into what turned out to be a most wonder—full experience. All was handled expertly by presenters, technicians, and participants. It took only a short time to go with the magical flow. I became quite pleased with myself as a process navigator. Meeting and greeting were easy. I broke in to break-outs like a burglar. I saw familiar faces and was glad to be one. It was an A+ experience. 

 

Words have meaning and power. I listened to the presenters, picking out the pearls of power in words. As we were being educated, I captured these words. “We have to show we care before they care about what we know, “A movement changes hearts and minds” and “It takes time and experience to adapt, heal, and change.” It was a factor in the discussion about Virtual Recovery Support Services (VRSS) a way of the future. It is about maintaining hope, purpose, authenticity, and connection. For me, PC is not about the wasteful use of political correctness, but promoting, preserving, and prolonging connection with those being served for a period of years. In the process, developing recovery community authenticity for the community.   

 

The keynoters were great. I particularly appreciated Leslie Crutchfield sharing her knowledge of the manner and means by which movements succeed. She has many examples. I noted the movement to reduce the use of tobacco. She outlined message, messenger, and motivation. Holy hairballs! Who knew cats were affected by second-hand smoke? They made a mighty meow. There were other examples with evident success such as MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The science of addiction tells us why people continued to drink and drive regardless of the consequences. Mother’s are not to be messed with, so repetition, recognition, persistence, and patience in the matter of the message made substantial safety and economic impact.  

 

Of course, there is a message for us in advancing the recovery movement.  The impact of the Pandemic, mitigation and economic free-fall has created a major set-back for the country. Incidentally, at a different pace and time.  I heard the word set-back used in place of relapse. I like it much better. Within the scope of it all, is the data about the increased use and misuse of alcohol and other drugs. Understandable and very unfortunate. It is said that crisis provides opportunity. Incidentally, it also provides opportunists, good ones and bad ones. There was never a more important requirement for the presence and provision of recoveryready communities. The Association of Recovery Community Organizations (ARCO) can be a primary benefactor through its blend of services including peer support, providing economical but impactful outcomes.  We can build a constituency of consequence and a collective of consequence. Obvious from our Leadership Summit, our wealth is in our knowledge and experience.  What we see in the ARCO membership is noble, servant leadership: “A noble leader answers not to the trumpet calls of self-promotion, but to the hushed whispers of necessity.” — Mollie Marti.  Servant leadership is a model of leadership that focuses on the growth and well-being of the communities that are served.  I’m filled with gratitude at being a participant and receiver of so much knowledge in the Recovery Leadership Summit. Congratulations to Faces & Voices of Recovery and all who contributed to this wonder-full event. 

The Transformative Effect of Belonging and Empowerment

June 29, 2020

Belonging and empowerment have been some of the most powerful factors in both my personal recovery and professional work for the past 30 years. The sense of belonging within a peer group, a family, a community, or a movement, contributes to my sense of purpose and meaning in life.  This is certainly not unique to recovery; it’s what helps us thrive and survive as human beings.  Without it many of us will experience feeling lost, disconnected and hopeless. In the recovery movement, while many are outspoken and visible, not everyone wants to be visible or vocal in advocacy and activism.  We not only need to acknowledge that, but we need to be better at providing meaningful ways for all people to engage at the level they are comfortable with, if and when they choose to engage. However, most importantly, we need to ensure that everyone feels that they belong and that the recovery movement is for everyone. 

 

Recently, author and social change expert, Leslie Crutchfield was one of the keynote speakers at the 2020 Recovery Leadership Summit hosted by Faces & Voices of Recovery.  Leslie’s book, How Change Happens; Why Some Social Movements Succeed While Others Don’t, is a must read for movement leaders.  It’s basically a framework based on the winning organizing strategies of movements like marriage equality, anti-tobacco, anti-drunk driving and gun rights.  In the recovery advocacy movement, we know that almost everyone is impacted by substance use disorders in some way and know someone who is in recovery. We’ve come a long way towards putting a face and a voice on recovery over the past twenty years.  However, as Leslie explains in her book, the transformative effect of creating a sense of belonging and empowerment is one of the most critical factors of movements that successfully impact social policy. There is so much more to be done to ensure that the movement is reflective of those who are most impacted and empowering new leadership whether in local communities, states or nationally.  As a woman in a leadership role who values a servant leadership philosophy, my commitment is to remain open to new ideas and the positive contributions of the incredibly diverse and passionate people of the recovery community.  I encourage everyone to reach out to myself and our team at Faces & Voices of Recovery to share your interests and enthusiasm for change in the recovery advocacy movement.