In 1989, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) declared September National Recovery Month. This national observance is dedicated to promoting and supporting new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices.
Founder and CEO, Shatterproof
“Without quality care, individuals may lack the necessary tools to manage the challenges of recovery, increasing the risk of relapse, overdose, and associated health complications.”
The goal of National Recovery Month is to eliminate the stigma and shame that surrounds substance use disorders (SUDs) by increasing public awareness about addiction and recovery. Quality care is crucial for people with addiction because it is a complex disease that requires comprehensive and tailored treatment methods.
As of 2021, more than 46 million people aged 12 and older met the criteria for a substance use disorder (SUD) diagnosis. The rise in SUDs, encompassing a range of substance misuse — from alcohol to opioids and beyond — is becoming the nation’s most urgent public health issue. Contributing factors to this crisis include increased availability of potent substances, insufficient access to quality addiction treatment, and the complex intersection of genetic, environmental, and social influences. This crisis transcends socioeconomic boundaries, affecting individuals from all walks of life.
The growing health concern continues to take more lives every year. In 2022, overdose deaths reached a record high. Fueled by the increase of synthetic opioids, an estimated 109,680 people died from overdose last year alone.
The increase of synthetic opioids poses a significant threat due to their potency and unpredictability. Synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and its analogs, are designed to mimic the effects of natural opioids like heroin and morphine, but they are often much stronger and more lethal.
It is important to note that not all overdose deaths are caused by opioids alone. In 2021, 108,791 deaths across the country were related to alcohol. That makes drug overdose the leading cause of injury mortality in the United States.
Quality care can be the difference between life and death for an individual with a SUD. Addiction can lead to severe physical, psychological, and social consequences that can escalate rapidly without proper care. Quality care offers personalized treatment plans tailored to individuals’ unique needs, addressing underlying causes of substance use, offering effective therapies, and equipping individuals with coping strategies to navigate triggers and cravings.
Without quality care, individuals may lack the necessary tools to manage the challenges of recovery, increasing the risk of relapse, overdose, and associated health complications. By contrast, quality care offers the expertise, resources, and compassionate guidance that can mean the difference between succumbing to addiction’s devastating effects, and forging a path toward lasting recovery and a renewed lease on life.
Shatterproof, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the U.S. addiction crisis, has an established National Principles of Care that assist people in finding quality care. By working with the nation’s leading experts in addiction treatment, the eight National Principles of Care offer science-based practices that improve outcomes for individuals with SUDs.
Another helpful resource is a guide from the Research Recovery Institute (RRI) that outlines the 11 Indicators of Quality Addiction Treatment. Within this guide, the RRI shares the elements that quality substance use treatment facilities should possess, such as an integrated treatment approach, a respectful environment, qualified staff, and evidence-based practices. Additionally, because recovery isn’t linear, a major component to identifying a quality care facility is the continuation of care.
Ongoing care is crucial for quality treatment because recovery is a journey that requires sustained support, guidance, and reinforcement, all of which help individuals navigate the complexities of post-treatment life. While initial treatment addresses overcoming the acute phase of addiction, the challenges of maintaining recovery, managing triggers, and preventing relapse persist over time.
Ongoing care recognizes that recovery is a long-term commitment and provides the resources and community necessary to foster resilience, prevent relapse, and ultimately achieve enduring recovery and well-being.
This Recovery Month, it’s important to remember that with the right care and supports, recovery is possible for people to lead full, happy lives, and be productive members of society.