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July 17, 2020

Trone Leads Bipartisan Effort to Maintain Federal Support for National Recovery Month Programming

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hannah Muldavin, Hannah.Muldavin@mail.house.gov 

 

Trone Leads Bipartisan Effort to Maintain Federal Support for National Recovery Month Programming

WASHINGTON — Today, Congressman David Trone and a bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress urged the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to maintain its support for National Recovery Month, which occurs in September. 

During this month, government agencies, community and advocacy groups, health care providers, treatment and recovery centers, first responders, and others partner with individuals in recovery and their families to celebrate progress, educate the public, and combat stigma. SAMHSA has played an important role in sponsoring and promoting Recovery Month in years past by developing targeted outreach materials, suggestions for event planning, and other resources. The Recovery Month toolkit and website have been critical for community organizations, and groups expect to receive these resources each year. 

However, recent reports indicate SAMHSA will not be sponsoring Recovery Month this year or providing resources for groups’ use, and agency officials have yet to confirm the agency’s participation. 

The co-signers of Trone’s letter include Cindy Axne (D-IA-03), Lucy McBath (D-GA-06), Max Rose (D-NY-11), Lori Trahan (D-MA-03), Greg Stanton (D-AZ-09), Madeleine Dean (D-PA-04), Chris Pappas (D-NH-01), and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND-AL).

“Now is exactly the wrong time to take our foot off the gas in supporting Americans in recovery and those struggling with substance use disorder,” said Congressman Trone. “Just this week, we learned that more Americans died from an overdose in 2019 than any other year. We also know that the COVID-19 pandemic is making matters worse every single day. With September rapidly approaching, SAMHSA must commit to supporting Recovery Month and providing resources as soon as possible to help groups adapt in-person outreach and events into safer alternatives.”

A copy of the letter can be found here:

The Honorable Elinore McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

5600 Fishers Lane

Rockville, MD 20857

Dear Assistant Secretary McCance-Katz,

National Recovery Month is an important annual observance to celebrate individuals who are in recovery from a substance use disorder or mental illness. During this month, government agencies, community and advocacy groups, health care providers, treatment and recovery centers, first responders, and others partner with individuals in recovery and their families to celebrate progress, educate the public, and combat stigma. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has played an important role in sponsoring and promoting Recovery Month. In years past, SAMHSA has developed targeted outreach materials, suggestions for event planning, and other resources. The Recovery Month toolkit and website are critical for community organizations, and groups expect to receive these resources each year. 

In a nation where over 67,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2018 and over 47,000 people died from suicide in 2017, Recovery Month is a vital event to educate, celebrate, and provide hope. The occurrence is particularly important this year, as we are in the throes of a pandemic that has increased stress, anxiety, and loneliness for many Americans and has led some to increase their substance use. COVID-19 has also disrupted prevention, treatment, and recovery activities, including by limiting individuals’ ability to receive in-person health care and preventing peer support groups from meeting physically for many months. The pandemic will also likely prevent many traditional Recovery Month activities from occurring in-person, requiring the creation of new virtual events. 

We have heard from multiple organizations that SAMHSA will not be sponsoring Recovery Month this year or providing resources for groups’ use. This is extremely disappointing. We have reached out to SAMHSA for more information on this decision, but have not received clarification regarding their participation. Given the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic, it is imperative that SAMHSA continue to robustly support Recovery Month and provide resources as soon as possible to help groups adapt in-person outreach and events into safer alternatives. As members of the Freshmen Working Group on Addiction and Bipartisan Opioid Task Force in Congress, we request that you reconsider SAMHSA’s decision to withdraw support from Recovery Month and quickly resume sponsorship of this meaningful observance. 

We appreciate your personal attention to this matter. Given that National Recovery Month is slated for observance in September, we look forward to your prompt reply in addressing this.

Sincerely,

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Education and Labor, Foreign Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees, where he is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the opioid epidemic, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.

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