Prevention, Treatment, Recovery
Over the din of ever-rising media reports about increased opioid addiction and the attendant rise in disease and death, we at RecoveryNC desire to distill our knowledge into a succinct set of requests and directives to aid our state in growing an efficient Recovery Oriented System of Care. Our vision is to remove the barriers between citizens suffering from substance use disorders and their ability to initiate and sustain recovery. For those on the life-threatening end of the spectrum of the disease of substance use disorder, that means availability to access services and a multitude of recovery supports available for up to five years after treatment.
Our vision and experiential knowledge guides us to track and integrate all available resources already in place in the state so that we are frugal with our resources while maximizing outcomes. For some citizens, recovery support requires long-term treatment as the next step. Then, the question is, are there enough beds available? It is possible that as long as the ADACT’s missions are honored, this state is not in short supply of beds but instead only lacks funds to pay for those indigent enough to need help getting into a bed.
At this stage, transportation can be critical. After treatment is completed, housing and employment assistance becomes crucial. Those supports can be developed through our parallel recovery supports system, the alternative to traditional drug treatment: Recovery Community Organizations leading Recovery Community Centers and Access to Recovery vouchers.
A strong network across the state of Recovery Community Centers, supported by volunteer-based Recovery Community Organizations, gives us the tools to grow the necessary concentric circles of widening Recovery Supports that aid in building sustained recovery, including after discharge from detox/treatment. There are many examples of community-based recovery supports, often inexpensive to employ, that can be shared amongst the network, growing the web of support that keeps citizens safe. This network will be the bulwark leading the charge into communities, against stigma while spreading the truth that recovery is a real thing. Efforts to change stigma are as crucial as the nuts-and-bolts treatment facilities. A way the state could assist us in breaking stigma is outlined below.
Our list begins here, with a concise bullet-point version below it.
- A comprehensive, user-friendly website of all drug treatment resources, particularly for the indigent, in the state of North Carolina. Thorough but simple are watchwords for this website. From there we have a comprehensive snapshot of the state which gives us the ability to assess accurately any “holes” in the system of care while championing all the resources we do have. This becomes an opening salvo in our efforts to bring visibility to recovery, smashing stigma along the way.
- If needed, the addition of on-demand, social-model detoxes (Recovery Engagement Centers) in appropriate locations.
- A keep-it-simple (possibly voucher-based) system for transporting clients to detox/treatment-often needed in outlying & rural locations. It is imperative we honor the whole state.
- Expanded funding and supports for the growth of Recovery Community Organizations across the state, with well-chosen locations for more Recovery Community Centers. State supports to help grow this state network into a strong, self-reliant, fairly self-supporting entity, with the vision of a possible state-wide yearly conference, brainstorming the many ways recovery supports can be added to communities. At this point, the ability to pay for Peer Supports/Recovery Coaches is an essential component that keeps people from slipping through the cracks.
- Making sure core supports, within the RCC’s, are fully-funded, for housing and employment. An example of this is initial rent grants employed within the state’s Oxford House system, a great example of a state-wide resource that provides multiple solutions at low cost. Win-win.
- Same thing for Collegiate Recovery Programs across the state university system. These efforts don’t cost money, they make money. It’s been proven by other states with similar approaches. The philosopher Goethe reminded us that the key to success in any endeavor is deep, full, heart-centered commitment and it is time to take a stand and show that commitment toward a fully-grown Collegiate Recovery Network.
- Whether through expanded Medicaid or a state-created money stream, the ability for treatment/recovery programs/houses to be reimbursed for beds needs to be grown and streamlined, making provider paperwork simpler.
As with all things, our desire is to keep it simple. Foundational actions that can ripple out and affect the most, starting with a resource website, are the best ones for this vision. It is with that in mind, that we suggest the state approach the UNC-based PBS Television network and purchase/negotiate the time for a showing of the documentary “The Anonymous People”, across the whole state PBS system at the same time, with a live, on-air panel hosting discussion afterward, including questions taken in phone calls from the public. This would be aided by a full-court press aimed at all media (newspapers, radio, blogs, etc.) to promote the showing and then highlight efforts in the state already under way.
This is motivated by a concept that can be hard to grasp; seriously increased visibility will create half the solution.
And now, for the concise 10 Point Bullet List: $ For: Hand-up not hand-outs
- State resource website
- Recovery Engagement Centers (Social Model Detox)
- Transportation Vouchers
- Beds for heads
- Recovery Community Organizations/Centers RCO/RCC
- Peer Support/Recovery Coaches/Case management/Navigators
- Housing/Rent subsidies -to get people up and on their feet-first 2-3 months’ min.
- Employment Supports-working with employers to connect people with jobs
- UNC School System Collegiate Recovery Programs (CRP)
b) Expansion to include North Carolina Community College System
c) Leading to the momentum that will create educational recovery supports that include Recovery High Schools
- PBS showing of The Anonymous People, with live on-air panel
I want to acknowledge that there are sub-groupings left out of this list. Some people might feel slighted their own areas of study, influences and leanings are not included. For example, there are no references to growing medication-assisted recovery availability here. My response, considering current political and economic practicalities, is this is but the minimal beginning reverberation to our current dilemmas and more will be added to outgoing concentric circles as we grow successes.