Advocacy Alert: Initial Findings: Improving Substance Use Treatment Outcomes During COVID-19

January 28, 2021


via Faces & Voices of Recovery

Peers Speak Out!

We are excited to share these initial findings and recommendations from a project to improve outcomes from substance use treatment and recovery services. Faces & Voices of Recovery has been partnering with Community Catalysts and the American Society of Addiction Medicine to identify the results of treatment and recovery services most important to individuals with substance use challenges or in recovery, and learn whether those priorities change during COVID-19.

We encourage you to share these initial findings with your networks and incorporate into your advocacy these recommendations for advances in research and treatment to help achieve the outcomes identified.

Click here for complete findings.

What have we learned so far?

  • Based on 800+ responses to a national online survey, the top 3 outcomes people want for themselves in “typical” (non-COVID-19) times are: stay alive, have improved quality of life, stop all drug/alcohol use. There are some differences in top three results by gender and race.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, improving mental health replaced stopping all drug/alcohol use as a top priority.
  • Focus group participants identified different desired outcomes: top results for “typical times” included, among others, connection to culturally appropriate treatment and recovery supports/specialists, and reducing substance use through harm reduction and individual recovery pathways. Participants maintained these top priorities during COVID-19 and emphasized continued care, access to emergency services, and access to technology.

Faces & Voices of Recovery will share more detailed findings in March 2021.

Why this work matters:

People with lived experiences of substance use disorders are often left out of important policy decisions that affect their lives, including how treatment and recovery programs are designed and what outcomes those programs seek to achieve. This means that services aren’t always responsive to people’s needs and don’t always achieve the best outcomes. We aim to change this by identifying what outcomes of treatment and services matter most to people and ensuring their voices guide future research and treatment.

Questions? Concerns?

As always, we want your input.

A reminder that BHAP members get regular access to our advocate in Washington, DC. If you have any questions about BHAP’s advocacy efforts, please contact us.

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