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National Recovery Month: Promoting Hope and Healing

National Recovery Month: Promoting Hope and Healing

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Recovery is a journey that requires courage, support, and resources. National Recovery Month, observed every September, is a powerful national observance that promotes and supports evidence-based treatment and recovery practices. It celebrates the resilience of individuals in recovery, acknowledges the dedication of service providers, and raises awareness about the importance of mental health and addiction recovery.

The Significance of National Recovery Month

Since its inception in 1989, National Recovery Month has grown into a collective effort to increase public awareness surrounding mental health and addiction recovery. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is pivotal in organizing and supporting this observance.

During Recovery Month, SAMHSA collaborates with private and public entities to celebrate individuals in long-term recovery. The organization times announcements of initiatives and grant funding to coincide with this month, emphasizing its commitment to preventing substance use disorders and supporting those still struggling.

The Message of Recovery Month

This year’s Recovery Month theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: It’s Worth It.” This powerful message underscores individuals’ challenges on their recovery journeys while highlighting the significant benefits of preventing and overcoming mental and substance use disorders. The road to recovery may be difficult, but the rewards are immeasurable for individuals, families, and communities.

Celebrating Recovery Success Stories

Recovery Month provides an opportunity to shed light on the successes of millions of Americans who have transformed their lives through recovery. These triumphs often go unnoticed by the broader population, making celebrating and sharing these accomplishments crucial.

Thousands of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and services nationwide showcase their achievements throughout September. They educate the public about recovery, its potential for anyone, and the effectiveness of prevention and treatment. By sharing these stories, Recovery Month aims to inspire hope and break down the stigma surrounding mental health and addiction.

SAMHSA’s Efforts to Support Recovery

SAMHSA and its partners actively support recovery through various initiatives and resources. The organization has developed a toolkit to help communities utilize the numerous behavioral health resources available during Recovery Month and beyond.

Making Recovery Accessible to All

SAMHSA recognizes the importance of making mental health and substance use disorder care accessible to all Americans. The organization actively works to ensure true parity between mental health and physical health treatment, advocating for equal coverage by health insurers.

Efforts have been made to expand mental health and substance use disorder services through legislative measures. For instance, the American Rescue Plan allocated over $5 billion to enhance these services. Additionally, SAMHSA has collaborated with bipartisan members of Congress to facilitate easier access to effective treatments for opioid use disorder.

The Road Ahead

While progress has been made in improving access to care and building a robust recovery support services infrastructure, more work remains. SAMHSA collaborates with states, private organizations, and nonprofit entities to address mental health and substance use disorder care gaps.

In line with this commitment, SAMHSA has proposed a new rule requiring health insurers to identify gaps in the mental health and substance use disorder care they provide. The aim is to ensure that mental and physical health services are equally accessible to all individuals.

President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget requests a historic $46 billion for prevention, treatment, and recovery services for substance use disorder. These efforts, coupled with a focus on reducing the supply of deadly drugs, demonstrate a united commitment to supporting individuals on their journey to recovery.

Embracing Recovery Together

National Recovery Month is a reminder that no one is alone in their recovery journey. Millions of Americans know and love someone in recovery; supporting and encouraging them is vital. Coming together as a nation can make recovery a reality for more individuals.

As citizens, government agencies, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other groups, we all have a role to play in promoting recovery and improving our nation’s health. Let us join forces to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and provide the necessary resources for individuals to reclaim their lives and thrive in recovery.

Together, we can make a difference and create a society where recovery is possible, celebrated, and supported. Recovery is worth it, and every step forward is a testament to the resilience and strength of the human spirit.

For more information on National Recovery Month, how to get involved, find events in your community, and access additional resources, visit the official SAMHSA website Let us stand together in solidarity and promote hope, healing, and recovery for all.

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Addressing Common Misconceptions About Syringe Exchange Programs

Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting the effectiveness of syringe exchange programs, some misconceptions exist surrounding their implementation. It is important to address these misconceptions to ensure accurate information is disseminated.

Let’s examine and debunk some common myths associated with needle exchange programs:

  • Myth: Syringe Exchange Programs Encourage Drug Use: The evidence shows that syringe service programs do not increase drug use. Studies have shown that individuals who access needle exchange programs are more likely to enter drug treatment and reduce their drug use than those who do not.
  • Myth: Syringe Exchange Programs Increase Crime: Research has consistently shown that needle exchange programs are not associated with increased crime rates. On the contrary, these programs contribute to public safety by reducing the improper disposal of needles and syringes in the community.
  • Myth: Needle Exchange Programs Lead to Needle Litter: Syringe exchange programs prioritize the safe disposal of used needles and syringes. By providing individuals with a designated place to return their used injection equipment, needle exchange programs actively work to prevent syringe litter and promote community cleanliness.


The Role of Drug Counselors in Needle Exchange Programs


As drug counselors, our involvement in needle exchange programs is crucial. Here are some key ways we can contribute to these initiatives:

  1. Education and Awareness: We can educate our clients about the existence and benefits of syringe exchange programs. By providing accurate information, we can dispel misconceptions and help individuals make informed decisions about their health.
  2. Referral and Linkage to Care: Drug counselors are well-positioned to connect individuals to syringe exchange programs and other harm reduction services. By collaborating with local programs and staying current with available resources, we can effectively link our clients to the support they need.
  3. Support and Counseling: Individuals who access syringe exchange programs may have complex needs and face various challenges. As drug counselors, we can provide emotional support, counseling, and resources to help individuals make positive life changes.
  4. Advocacy: Drug counselors can advocate for expanding and improving syringe exchange programs in their communities. Raising awareness about the benefits of harm reduction strategies can help reduce stigma and promote evidence-based approaches to drug use.


Drug Counselor Training and Certification

To effectively support individuals who use drugs and promote harm reduction strategies, drug counselors undergo specialized training and certification. In New York State, the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) oversees the certification process for drug counselors, known as the Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) program.

CASAC certification requires a combination of education, supervised work experience, and successful completion of an examination.

This comprehensive training equips drug counselors with the knowledge and skills to provide effective support and guidance to individuals struggling with addiction.




As drug counselors, our role in promoting harm reduction strategies, such as syringe exchange programs, is crucial. By understanding the principles of harm reduction and staying informed about available resources, we can effectively support individuals who use drugs.

Syringe service programs play a vital role in preventing the transmission of infectious diseases and connecting individuals to necessary healthcare and treatment.

Through education, referral, and advocacy, we can contribute to improving these programs and help create safer and healthier communities.

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Announcement: HRSA BHWET Grant Award Funded

Announcement: HRSA BHWET Grant Award Funded

John Makohen

John Makohen


John is Advanced CASAC in NYS,  CASAC Educator, and Digital Entrepreneur. Besides creating content and improving addiction counseling educational experiences he enjoys learning, running, and relaxing with his spouse.


HRSA BHWET Grant Awarded

September, 2021


We are proud to announce that Educational Enhancement was awarded one of 43 nationwide grants funded through the HRSA Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program for Paraprofessionals.

Press Release from  A.Maria Mendez, CEO of Felmari, Inc d/b/a Educational Enhancement. We are proud to announce that Educational Enhancement was awarded one of 43 national grants funded through the HRSA Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program for Paraprofessionals.  Educational Enhancement will apply the HRSA BHWET grant award to develop and expand community-based experiential training to increase the supply of students preparing to become behavioral health professionals such as a CASAC – Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselors throughout the five boroughs that are New York City over the next four year. Educational Enhancement is an addiction counselor certificate program Educational Enhancement is an OASAS-approved CASAC education and training provider (0415).

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The BHWET grant award aims to increase the supply of behavioral health professionals while also improving the distribution of a quality behavioral health workforce, thereby increasing access to behavioral health services. A. Maria Mendez, CEO said,

We are honored to participate in the BHWET program. The award will allow us to expand and enhance access to high-quality education and training over the next four years.”

The 6-month didactic technology-based program will encourage, educate, and empower specifically trained new professionals to deliver quality counseling services to those at risk for developing a substance use disorder and other behavioral health challenges.

Educational Enhancements Online CASAC section 2 cultural competence and special populations training helps you embrace diversity in your addiction counseling.
ONLINE CASAC home study allows you to study no matter what your circumstances

Eligible students chosen for the BHWET grant program will receive an integrated approach of education and training geared towards obtaining CASAC credentials and addressing behavioral health prevention, treatment, and recovery services, including but not limited to Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and Substance Use Disorder (SUD), for Transitional Age Youth (TAY), 16-24.  Along with tuition, training materials, technical assistance, payment for initial CASAC application, and fee for the CASAC exam, students will receive all the necessary tools needed to actualize the objective of the BHWET Program for Professionals.

Applicants for the BHWET grant program must meet the minimum set of academic standards and commit to serving their 90-day internship in the underserved geographic areas in NYCs five boroughs – Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Queens. Our students will receive weekly supervision and coaching from the project director and the field placement supervisor. 

Get your CASAC online at Educational enhancement and become a certified addictions counselor to help teens struggling with addiction.

Join our email list to learn more about Educational Enhancement and the BHWET program. Those with questions and concerns about participating in the BHWET program should click here.

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