Public Policy Newsletter – November 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…

Legislation

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!

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