The Journey of 20 Million: Celebrating Resilience in Recovery
Every September, the United States marks National Recovery Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the resilience of over 20 million Americans who have bravely sought help for substance use disorder. This month serves as a testament to the human spirit, demonstrating to countless others that recovery is not just a distant dream but a tangible reality.
Substance use disorder is not an isolated issue; it casts a shadow over families nationwide. The alarming statistic of over 100,000 American lives lost to drug overdoses in the previous year underscores the urgency of addressing this crisis. The current administration, under the leadership of President Joseph R. Biden Jr., has prioritized this issue as a cornerstone of its Unity Agenda, emphasizing the collective responsibility we bear as a nation.
A significant step towards addressing this challenge is ensuring that mental health and substance use disorder treatments are accessible to all and are regarded with the same importance as any other health condition. It’s not just about physical well-being; it’s about dignity, the ability to lead fulfilling lives, and the chance to contribute positively to society.
National Initiatives: Bridging the Gap in Substance Use Treatment
The American Rescue Plan has already channeled over $5 billion into expanding mental health and substance use disorder services. In collaboration with bipartisan members of Congress, the administration has facilitated the prescription of treatments for opioid use disorder. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration has greenlit two Naloxone products for over-the-counter availability, a move that could potentially save countless lives from fatal overdoses. Establishing 140 new Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and the nationwide Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (9-8-8) further bolsters the nation’s commitment to providing frontline care.
However, the journey is far from over. Recent proposals from the administration aim to mandate health insurers to ensure parity in providing mental health, substance use disorder care, and other health services. The Fiscal Year 2024 Budget has earmarked a historic $46 billion for prevention, treatment, and recovery services related to substance use disorder and initiatives to curb the supply of lethal drugs.
Hope on the Horizon: The Collective Strength of a United Nation
As we observe National Recovery Month, we must remember that many of us know someone in recovery. Their journey is a testament to the indomitable human spirit, and their stories serve as a beacon of hope for many. As a united nation, we have the power and responsibility to make recovery a reality for countless more Americans.
In his proclamation, President Biden has called upon all citizens, government agencies, businesses, nonprofits, and other groups to promote recovery and work towards a healthier nation actively. Let this month remind us of our collective strength, resilience, and commitment to a brighter future as we move forward.
National Recovery Month Resources
- SAMHSA. “National Recovery Month 2023.” SAMHSA, 2023, https://www.samhsa.gov/recovery-month.
- CDC. “National Recovery Month Partner Toolkit | Observances | Drug Overdose.” CDC, 2023, https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/awareness/recovery-month.html.
- NAADAC. “National Recovery Month.” NAADAC, 2023, https://www.naadac.org/national-recovery-month.
- Faces & Voices of Recovery. “Recovery Month: Home.” Faces & Voices of Recovery, 2023, https://rm.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org/.
- National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments. “Recovery Month Toolkit.” National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments, 2023, https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/resources/recovery-month-toolkit.