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.

Together We Are Stronger

September 17, 2020
September is designated as Recovery Month. Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders.  It celebrates the millions of people as they live in the joy and reality of recovery. I have participated in rallies and events primarily in Denver, Colorado since 2002.  In 2018, Advocates for Recovery-Colorado, was the host to the national hub event. Country-wide, these events provide the opportunity to announce the birth and carry the message of Faces & Voices of Recovery. Making history year by year, recovery from addiction is now a growing national and international recovery advocacy movement.   I now live in Orange County, California, I recently participated in an event named Recovery Happens originating in California’s capitol. Three well-known names were among sponsors. Faces & Voices of Recovery, Young People in Recovery, and The Phoenix. It is usually held on the Capitol steps, but as is today’s normal, it was virtual instead. I’m a fan of the virtual technology. Unfortunately, it does not have the value of human togetherness and fellowship. We are involved in a Zoom Room Boom. It does allow an important factor. To achieve and maintain connections. I am currently participating in a Peer Coach Training with Peer Coach Academy in Colorado. SAMSHA’s theme banner says: Join the Voices of Recovery: Celebrate Connections. We are virtually connected in so many ways—apart but together. We are getting good at it. The definition of virtuosity is to have a skill and expertise as we see in virtual activities. I think it leads one to a new word —virtualocity.   I find worthy of repeating what I wrote in a recent blog.  In the real and virtual world, I make my bed, shower, and dress presentably for viewing and being viewed. No travel involved. Bed and board are at hand.  Check the “set”, settle in my comfortable chair, and put my best face forward. The virtual world has merit through selective learning and social sensibility. If you are not earning, you can be learning. It will be of benefit to the establishment of health and well-being and even might allow being better than well.   Recovery Community Organizations are being formed at a growing rate with knowledge that the pandemic will put new burdens on the community from increased mental health and substance use disorders. Communities need resources, information, and leadership. I recently read this, “By repairing past and current harms in our communities, we bring new possibility to the future.” We have a role to play.   In a recent Bill White and Bill Stauffer paper, Nothing About Us Without Us, I noted the following: People with personal knowledge of the recovery process and the historical challenges faced by people seeking and in recovery free of conflicted interests are the best suited for recovery advocacy leadership. Guidelines: 1) Members of recovery communities are provided a voice in the selection of persons who represent their experience and needs. 2) Those representing the recovery experience at public and policy levels possess rich experiential knowledge of personal and/or family recovery from addiction. 3) Persons representing the experiences and needs of people seeking and/in recovery are free from ideology, political, or financial conflicts of interest that could unduly influence their advocacy efforts. This paper is an important.  Read this and another, Recovery Advocacy For a Country is Crisis.   We recently formed the first RCO in Orange County, The Purpose of Recovery. Our primary purpose is to promote and perpetuate connections, resources, and a collective purpose for providers of recovery support services in Orange County. It was established with support and guidance with connection to other RCOs in northern California, Texas, Georgia, and Colorado. All members of Faces & Voices of Recovery’s ARCO, the Association of Recovery Community Organizations.  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 support the development of new groups and strengthening existing ones. The 2020 National Recovery Month theme is Celebrating Connections. A great purpose to be served during Recovery Month. Together We Are Stronger.

Public Policy newsletter – September 2020

September 17, 2020

September 2020
Policy Update
It was a fairly quiet August due to the political conventions and Congressional Recess.

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

On the Hill…

Relief Packages

Faces & Voices continues to put effort into the next COVID relief packages in hopes that there will be a significant amount of funding for substance use disorder services and recovery. As the legislation currently stands, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) stands to gain $4.5 billion, with $1.5 billion going to the SAPT block grant. Faces & Voices continues to be hopeful that there will be a provision dedicated solely to recovery funding. However, the Senate has been unable to advance the legislation, and there is little hope currently that there will be a new COVID relief package before the election in November.

In need of allies

Unfortunately, allies of substance use disorder treatment and recovery will no longer have a reliable voice in Congress. In Massachusetts, Representative Joe Kennedy sought to unseat Senator Ed Markey in the Democratic primary but was unsuccessful. As a result, he will not be able to run for his Congressional seat. Both men are true champions of our cause, but now we are left with one instead of two, which is not ideal for advocates who struggle to find strong voices on Capitol Hill.

In Action…

National Recovery Month

Faces & Voices has made progress on one piece of legislation, with Representative Trone of Maryland, we are working to establish dedicated funding for National Recovery Month. Now that Faces & Voices is presiding over National Recovery Month, we are seeking to establish authorization for funds for the express purpose of organizing and executing events around the country. We also received help promoting this year’s Recovery Month from Senator Portman of Ohio, who has always been one of our most vocal supporters.


Recently, Faces & Voices of Recovery’s CEO, Patty McCarthy, was invited to speak at the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) Board of Directors meeting, in order to present to them on the priorities of Faces & Voices and the Association of Recovery Community Organizations (ARCO) and how to best collaborate on policy. Also on the call was Danielle Tarino, CEO of Young People in Recovery. Both Patty and Danielle were well received, with many Single State Agency directors citing that they were aware of, and appreciated, our respective chapters in their states. The goal was to lay the groundwork for future policy initiatives that will highlight the role of recovery, and to utilize NASADAD and their network as a partner in these efforts moving forward.

Recovery at Work Roundtable

On September 3, 2020, Patty McCarthy and Keegan Wicks were invited to the White House in honor of Recovery Month, where they attended a roundtable with the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director, Jim Carroll; U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams; Economic Council chair, Larry Kudlow; and First Lady, Melania Trump. Director Carroll singled out Patty and Faces & Voices as a leading voice in the community, and Patty gave comments about all F&V is accomplishing, especially in regard to our efforts to sustain Recovery Month.

View the Full Stream Here

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 – September 2020

September 8, 2020

September 2020
Digital Newsletter

Submit a Ticket!

Forgot your password?
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New User Activation?
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Lost your dog?

Okay we can’t help with that but 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!
Bookmark this!

New App, Who Dis?

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

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.

CAPRSS newsletter – September 2020

September 1, 2020

September 2020
Digital Newsletter

Virtual Learning Community

Join us on September 9th at 12:00pm EDT for a webinar on Ourtreach to Underserved Populations.

Features presenters from CAPRSS Accredited Oklahoma Citizen Advocates for Recovery and Transformation Association (OCARTA), Brandi Vore & Timothy Smith.

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

Register Here!

Brandi Vore

Brandi Vore, Site Manager – Brandi Vore is 35 year old who identifies as a woman in long-term recovery, working towards her bachelor’s degree in Project Management. She has two children and is married to her best friend and love of her life, David. She has worked in the substance use and mental health field for over seven years and has held several positions throughout that time. She is a Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist with specialized tracks in Supervision, Youth, Veterans, and Elderly Assistance. She is also a Case Manager working towards CMII. Finally, she is a Certified Strengthening Families Facilitator and Trainer as well as the lead trainer of OCARTA’s peer support specialist.  Some of her hobbies include gardening, raising chickens and ducks, and going on road trips.  She has a passion for people and helping them realize their dreams and help create the goals they need to reach them.

Timothy Smith

Timothy Smith, C-PRSS, Programs Manager, Recovery Coach  – Timothy is 29 years old and is originally from Ventura, California. He is in Recovery from a substance abuse disorder as well as mental health issues such as Bipolar depression and Generalized Anxiety. He is a certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist, specializing in youth services. He is also a licensed Peer Zone facilitator. He has been in active Recovery for 3 years and has worked at OCARTA as the Youth Projects Coordinator for a year and is now the Programs Manager.

Upcoming Webinars

Accreditation 101 – September 4, 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

NRI Newsletter – August 2020

August 26, 2020

August 2020
Digital Newsletter

Don’t forget about our Mentor Program!

A mentor is an experienced Recovery Community Organization (RCO) leader who can provide guidance for the mentee’s organizational path. He/she is also available to the mentee to provide support with four professional coaching sessions per month. Mentors may also assist mentees with other networking opportunities relevant to their professional career.
The mentor may provide technical assistance in many general ways, but the following is a focused list of technical assistance topics on which the mentor/mentee relationship may provide insight:

  • Mission & Vision Statements
  • Strategic Planning
  • Governance
  • Grassroots Advocacy and Community Organizing
  • Public Education and Awareness
  • Recovery Support Services
  • Recovery Values and Principles
  • Participatory Process
Contact us for more information!

Learn more with NRI!

We have been busy getting our training material submitted for Continuing Education credits through NAADAC.  You can earn Continuing Education credit with many of our face-to-face trainings as well as online.
Check them out here!

August 2020 – Public Policy Blast

August 19, 2020

August 2020
Policy Update
Currently the lawmakers have all returned home without reaching an accord on the following bill.

We encourage you to reach out to your representatives during the recess.

On the Hill…

Phase 4

The Senate has finally introduced it’s “Phase 4” COVID-19 response legislation, entitled the HEALS Act. While it is flawed (in the sense that there is no current consensus for its passage), there is a moderate degree of optimism for progress in the struggle against substance use disorders and overdoses.


While the House, in the HEALS act, decided on $3 billion for SAMHSA, the Senate proposed the even higher amount of $4.5 billion. However, both the House and Senate proposed the amount of $1.5 billion for the SAPT block grant. The difference comes in two areas: The Senate proposes an extra $1 billion for the Mental Health Services Block Grant ($2 billion total), and an additional $600 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers.

What that means

While this $1.5 billion for the SAPT block grant could conceivably boost funding for recovery, Faces & Voices is not content to rely on the judgement of 56 different state and territory governments.

This is why we have engaged in a joint effort with Young People in Recovery, and the Partnership to End Addiction, to ask Congress for funding dedicated to recovery support services.

Our request centered around $50 million in discretionary grants for recovery support organizations, and additional $5 million dedicated to support services for families with a member in recovery. The latter request is based on legislation introduced in February by Senator Gillibrand and Rep. Trone, which would establish a new grant program at SAMHSA specifically for family recovery support. So long as no deal is reached in the Senate on this COVID package and negotiations continue, we will continue to advocate for the inclusion of funds specific to recovery.

Virtual Community Support Act

Congressman Joe Kennedy III and Congressman Tony Cárdenas introduced the Virtual Community Support Act to strengthen community based and peer support services virtually both during and after the pandemic. It would create a new program at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide training and development to increase the workforce, enable providers and peers to move their services virtually, and help identify and coordinate care for those who need access to multiple services. After discussions with Mr. Kennedy’s staff, we are confident that the legislation is beneficial to recovery community organizations, and they will be eligible to apply for grants under the legislation if it becomes law. Faces & Voices is listed as an organization that endorses the legislation on Mr. Kennedy’s website.

Medicaid Reentry Act

The Medicaid Reentry Act, which was included in the House-approved HEROES Act, would allow Medicaid to finance health care (including physical, mental health, and substance use disorder care) in the last 30 days of incarceration, improving continuity of care and health outcomes for people returning to the community from jails and prison.

Click below to see the full letter to Congress signed by Faces & Voices and over 120 national, state, and local organizations.

Full Letter Here

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,, 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!