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Access to Recovery Grants Available

New Program Promotes Choice in Treatment


Updated October 20, 2012

Thousands of Americans with substance use disorders will have the opportunity to choose their treatment options for recovery under Access to Recovery, a new $100 million discretionary grant program for states, announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The competitive grant program will give recipient states, territories, the District of Columbia and tribal organizations broad discretion to design and implement federally supported voucher programs to pay for a range of effective, community-based, substance abuse clinical treatment and recovery support services. By providing vouchers to people in need of treatment, the grant program promotes individual choice for substance abuse treatment and recovery services. It also expands access to care, including access to faith- and community-based programs, and increases substance abuse treatment capacity.

SAMHSA's Access to Recovery grant program is a centerpiece of the initiative announced by President Bush in 2003 to help people who want to get off drugs secure the best treatment options available to meet their specific needs.

"Giving people the power to choose a treatment program that reflects their values and needs can help them triumph over addiction and achieve recovery," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "Access to Recovery will help Americans who are seeking treatment but unable to obtain care. This program is designed to help people reach recovery in body, mind, and heart."

Charles G. Curie, SAMHSA Administrator said: "Access to Recovery is based on the knowledge that there are many pathways to recovery from addiction. The promise of this initiative – founded on a belief in individual choice – is that it ensures the availability of a full range of treatment options, including the transforming power of faith. Making these choices available to people who want and need them will provide opportunities for meaningful, contributing lives in their communities."

John Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy said, "We are making progress in making the drug problem smaller. Over the past two years, drug use among young people declined by 11 percent. If we are to build on that progress, we must engage all segments of our society - including faith communities - to help heal drug users. We know that drug treatment works, and Access to Recovery is an important step in expanding the number of Americans who receive drug treatment."

Access to Recovery also emphasizes both accountability and demonstrated effectiveness, requiring states to create an incentive system for positive outcomes and to take active steps to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse. Both provider payment and program success will be measured by seven specific outcomes: abstinence from drugs and alcohol, no involvement with the criminal justice system, attainment of employment or enrollment in school, social supports, access to care, retention in care, and stable housing.

By assessing the scope and outcomes of the program, grantees will discover what works best and adjust their programs accordingly. SAMHSA will evaluate overall program effectiveness and utility nationwide.

The key to implementing the grant program is the states' ability to ensure genuine, free, and independent choice of eligible providers. States are encouraged to support any mixture of clinical treatment and recovery support services that can be expected to achieve the program's goal of cost-effective, successful outcomes for the largest number of people.

This first funding cycle of Access to Recovery has the capacity to halve the number of people who want but do not get care and to expand the array of services available including medical detoxification, inpatient and outpatient treatment modalities, residential services, peer support, relapse prevention, case management, and other recovery-promoting services. The grant program anticipates making awards of up to $15 million per year for each of three years, to states and tribal organizations that compete successfully through a rigorous grant review process. The administration's commitment to expand drug treatment and recovery support services to reach those in need extends beyond the immediate fiscal year, with its FY 2005 request to double the program's appropriation.

States, territories, the District of Columbia and federally recognized Indian tribes have until June 4, 2004, to submit their grant applications. Copies of the application are available from SAMHSA's clearinghouse at 1-800-729-6686.

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