Create Recovery-Ready Communities

From SAFE Solutions
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Introductory Paragraph

Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) continue to be a leading cause of death, a leading correlate in violent crime, and a leading cause of lost productivity in the workplace. 

Recovery happens in communities, and community-based resources have been shown to positively affect SUD impact and SUD recovery. By educating communities and creating continuity among support services, community-based services, and new innovations, such as recovery community organizations and other recovery support services, recovery efforts and improved sustained recovery has improved for individuals that live within the community.[1]

Recovery is not just a matter of individual treatment or individual approaches combined with peer group support. The whole community plays a role in supporting successful recovery. A community response to SUDs can provide social and economic support and have a health impact at a community level.  

Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC) provide coordinated community-based services that are person-centered and build strength and resilience of individuals, families, and communities. 

Community Recovery is a voluntary process through which a community uses the assertive resolution of alcohol and other drug-related problems as a vehicle for collective healing, community renewal, and enhanced intergenerational resilience.

Key Information

Recovery-ready communities include internal and external resources that support and sustain recovery from SUD.  Recovery capital is becoming a term identified and linked to recovery-ready communities. Faces & Voices of Recovery [3] provides a breakdown of recovery capital and the roles of sustaining recovery.  

1. Personal recovery capital. This includes an individual’s physical and human capital. Physical capital is the available resources to fulfill a person’s basic needs, like their health, healthcare, financial resources, clothing, food, safe and habitable shelter, and transportation. Human capital relates to a person’s abilities, skills, and knowledge, like problem-solving, education and credentials, self-esteem, the ability to navigate challenging situations and achieve goals, interpersonal skills, and a sense of meaning and purpose in life. 

2. Family/social recovery capital. These resources relate to intimate relationships with friends and family, relationships with people in recovery, and supportive partners. It also includes the availability of recovery-related social events

3. Community recovery capital. This includes attitudes, policies, and resources specifically related to helping individuals resolve substance use disorders. Community resources are vast.

They can include:

  • Recovery activism and advocacy aimed at reducing stigma
  • A full range of addiction treatment resources
  • Peer-led support, such as mutual-aid meetings, which seek to meet the diverse needs of the community
  • Recovery Community Organizations
  • Recovery support institutions, educational-based recovery support such as recovery high schools, colleges, recovery housing, and recovery ministries and churches
  • Visible and diverse local recovery role models
  • Resources to sustain recovery and early intervention programs, like employee assistance programs, and drug courts
  • Cultural capital. These resources resonate with individuals cultural and faith-based beliefs

Recovery-ready communities also encompass individual, community, institutional and policy level Involvement and collaboration.  A community that is recovery ready provides a continuum of care and support to those in recovery or seeking recovery support. 

Key components of a recovery-ready community are adequate detox and treatment facilities, the ability to address all pathways to recovery, harm reduction, youth recovery, recovery housing, prevention, recovery community organizations, and family support. Criminal justice involvement (police, court systems) and special interest populations (faith-based, LGBTQ). 

 Examples of Recovery Support Services:

Alternative Peer Groups: is a comprehensive adolescent recovery support model that integrates recovering peers and prosocial activities into evidence-based clinical practice.  These are community-based peer support programs that act as a liaison between residential treatment programs and mental health professionals. The purpose is positive peer support to maintain sobriety. [4]

Collegiate Recovery Support:  Provides a supportive environment on campus to reduce the addiction cycle. Includes educational resources and recovery support. [5]

Jail & Prison-based Recovery Support: Support programs and resources to assist incarcerated individuals or those involved in the criminal justice system. 

Peer Recovery Coaching: Non-clinical peer recovery coaches who appropriately bring their own experience to the table while helping others on their recovery journey.

Medication-Assisted Recovery: Recovery Support Programs that include medication-assisted treatment (MAT). 

Recovery Community Centers: A recovery-oriented hub in the community. Offers recovery and family support services. Peer operated and may include coaching, education, peer-support, medication-assisted treatment, employment resources, etc. 

Recovery High Schools: Focus on academics and recovery. Positive peer pressure. [6]

Recovery Housing: Substance-free living environments that support individuals in recovery from addiction. 

Community Task Force

Addiction is an ongoing epidemic, and recovery-ready communities and community collaboration are key to providing community-based solutions. 

CORE Task Force missions: prevention, early intervention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services.[7]   


SAMHSA provides 10 concrete steps leaders can take for recovery-ready communities. [8]

  1. Bring people in recovery to the table early and often to create a shared vision of recovery.
  2. Identify leaders in the recovery community
  3. Identify recovery champions to support the effort and to be ambassadors for the cause.
  4. Launch community visioning. 
  5. Assess community strengths. Where is recovery thriving?
  6. Conduct a community recovery capital assessment to identify areas where recovery support and recovery-friendly policies are most prevalent. 
  7. Get creative and innovative.
  8. Encourage friends, family, and colleagues to share their personal stories. 
  9. Create recovery community centers that make recovery visible on Main Street. 
  10. Celebrate recovery from addiction!

Relevant Research

SAFE Solutions is an ever-growing platform.  Currently no information is readily available for this section.  SAFE Project is dedicated to providing communities with the most relevant and innovative materials.  We will continue to regularly monitor and make updates accordingly with community input and subject matter expert collaboration.  Please check back soon.

Impactful Federal, State, and Local Policies

A 2010 report prepared for the Partners for Recovery initiative provides information regarding the funding sources that support Recovery Support Services throughout the continuum of care. The report includes Federal, state, and private funding overview and highlights practices for obtaining funding.  Funding sources continue to be limited.[9]


Available Tools and Resources

Recovery Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC)

One approach advocated by SAMHSA and others is the Recovery Oriented Systems of Care.

  According to Ijeoma Achara, CEO of Achara Consulting, a ROSC is NOT:

⦁ A Model

⦁ Primarily focused on the integration of recovery support services

⦁ Dependent on new dollars for development

⦁ A new initiative

⦁ A group of providers that increase their collaboration to improve coordination

⦁ An infusion of evidence-based practices

⦁ An organizational entity, group of people, or committee

⦁ A closed network of services and supports


Dr. Achara continues to explain that a ROSC is:

⦁ Value-driven APPRROACH to structuring behavioral health systems and a network of clinical and non-clinical services and supports

⦁ Framework to guide systems transformation


SAMHSA produced a guidebook on Recovery Oriented Systems of Care [10] in 2010, but there have been improvements to that general approach in recent years.

A ROSC is a coordinated network of community-based services and supports that is person-centered and builds on the strengths and resiliencies of individuals, families, and communities to achieve abstinence and improved health, wellness, and quality of life for those with or at risk of alcohol and drug problems. Visit Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC) to learn more.

Café Model

The Recovery Cafe Model allows those in recovery to have a safe place that "meets people where they are on the recovery continuum, engages them for a lifetime of managing their disease, focuses holistically on a person’s needs, and empowers them to build a life that realizes their full potential." [11]  The organization is committed to successfully replicating the model in additional communities. Click here to bring a Recovery Cafe to your community.

SAFE Project Community Playbook-The Community Playbook serves as a blueprint framework for rural, suburban, and urban communities navigating an effective, collaborative response using a six-step approach.

Community Listening Forum Toolkit- Provides guidance to taking action with building a recovery-ready community.  [12]

Recovery-Ready communities- A guide to recovery support services. [13]

Promising Practices

No single program or innovation makes a community the ideal place to support recovery, but communities can add things and then integrate them with treatment and recovery services to create a community that provides more support and better options for people in recovery.  

Men's Sheds
This concept originated in Australia in the late 1990s, and there are now more than 1,000 Men's Sheds in Australia with thriving movements in a growing number of other countries. Available buildings (such as vacant warehouses, foreclosed houses that have been possessed by the city or county, or vacant space in a retail center) can be donated, rented, or purchased to create a space for men to gather (it would not need to be limited to men, but that has been the roots). The space is then filled with tools, workbenches, and materials that can be used for the men to tinker, build, fix, and putter--all while building new social relationships. More information on Men's Sheds
Community Gardening
Integrating participation with a community gardening program can bring many benefits to people in recovery. It provides positive social interaction, skill building, improved access to healthy foods, and more. Ideally, involvement with community gardening could be integrated with peer-to-peer recovery groups, recovery coaches, tools like rTribe or Triggr, or a comprehensive success plan managed in a community care coordination platform like XCare Community.  See more information on how gardening helps with recovery
Fitness & Recreation-based Recovery Programs
Programs like Phoenix Multisport in Colorado (and other places) have demonstrated the power of having a recovery community that emphasizes active living and recreation.

Eugene Oregon- a case study on Recovery-ready ecosystems. [14]

Operation New Hope-
Operation New Hope is a model program that provides support, and life and job skills training for citizens returning to the community after incarceration in the state of Florida.[15]