2018 Recovery Month PSAs, Toolkit Now Available

(Chicago) – The 2018 National Recovery Month toolkit is now available online, offering resources to help increase awareness and understanding of recovery from substance use and mental health disorders and celebrate people living in recovery.

Observed each September and sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Recovery Month––of which TASC is a national Planning Partner––highlights achievements of individuals who have reclaimed their lives in long-term recovery, and also recognizes the treatment and recovery service providers who offer pathways to recovery.

The 2018 National Recovery Month theme is Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community.

SAMHSA annually creates a Recovery Month toolkit, which provides outreach templates, tips for event planning and community outreach, information and data on behavioral health conditions, and resources for prevention, treatment, and recovery support services. The toolkit and PSAs can be used to organize events, issue proclamations, and increase public awareness.

The online toolkit also offers dozens of video and audio public service announcements (PSAs), including new PSAs in 2018 entitled r is for Recovery and Voices for Recovery. The PSAs are available in both English and Spanish, and are offered in both 20-second and 30-second versions.

To help celebrate recovery and elevate awareness of its prevalence across the country, organizations and advocates are encouraged to post and promote Recovery Month events on the National Recovery Month website.




TASC, National Judicial College Offer Self-Study Courses on Addiction for Criminal Justice Practitioners

(Chicago) – In the face of a national opioid crisis, and recognizing that most people entering the justice system have recently used illicit drugs and/or have a substance use disorder, the Center for Health and Justice at TASC and the National Judicial College (NJC) have co-developed three new self-study courses to support justice leaders in implementing evidence-based responses to help stop cycles of drug use and crime.

These free, online courses provide timely information and practical solutions offered by top national researchers in addiction and criminal justice. They were created as a result of TASC’s and NJC’s collaborative work in leading the Justice Leaders Systems Change Initiative (JLSCI), which supports jurisdictions across the country in leveraging local resources to create and implement collaborative responses to substance use disorders.

The courses present several key topics requested by jurisdictions, including research on how the brain is affected by addiction, implications for evidence-based sentencing options, and information on medication-assisted treatment.

Available by clicking on the titles below and registering through the NJC website, these free courses include:

The Neuroscience of Addiction. This self-study course offers an introduction to the opiate epidemic, why individuals use drugs, and the long-term effects of addictive drugs on the brain. Designed for judges, probation staff, and other criminal justice system stakeholders, the course takes approximately two hours to complete, and is presented by NJC distinguished faculty member Timothy P. Condon, PhD, a preeminent expert in the neuroscience of addiction and its application to policy and practice.

Evidence-Based Sentencing for Drug Offenders. This self-study course addresses several aspects of sentencing and supervision of people with substance use disorders, including matching treatment and supervision to the individuals’ clinical needs and risks of reoffending. Providing tools, resources, and evidence-based approaches for judges, the course takes approximately two to four hours to complete, and is presented by NJC distinguished faculty member Roger Peters, PhD, a prolific author, researcher, and professor in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy at the University of South Florida (USF).

Medication-Assisted Treatment. This self-study course addresses how medication-assisted therapies can be used to treat substance abuse disorders, including discussions on the opiate epidemic; the impact of addiction on the brain; relapse, overdose, and mortality rates; and how medication-assisted treatment can work. Designed for leaders and practitioners in criminal justice, the course takes approximately two to four hours to complete, and is presented by NJC distinguished faculty member Joshua D. Lee, MD, director of the NYU ABAM Fellowship in Addiction Medicine, and a clinician researcher focused on addiction pharmacotherapies.

Created by the Center for Health and Justice at TASC and the National Judicial College, the Justice Leaders Systems Change Initiative (JLSCI) helps local jurisdictions create and implement practical, collaborative responses to substance abuse and addiction among offenders and is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (SAMHSA/CSAT), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).

Congratulations to 2016 Integrated Behavioral Health Interns

(Chicago) – Post-graduate interns with the Integrated Community Behavioral Health Training Consortium (ICBHTC) completed their capstone projects on May 3, having gained skills and knowledge in the treatment of substance use disorders, mental health, and TASC’s interface with the justice system.

ICBHTC is an innovative, multidisciplinary post-graduate internship program designed to develop health care leaders equipped to address the pressing primary and behavioral health needs and disparities of vulnerable, at-risk individuals and groups.

Now graduating its second class of interns, the program was initiated in 2013 through a collaboration of Chicago-area graduate programs, including Governors State University, the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health, the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, the Illinois Area Health Education Centers, and TASC. The effort has been guided and supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Region 5, led by Captain Jeff Coady.

The program places student interns in criminal justice and community-based settings, and facilitates weekly multidisciplinary seminars. Student interns gain clinical, public health, and policy knowledge that offers an integrated experience reflective of the need for person-centered health care inclusive of substance use and mental health treatment and evolving health care delivery systems.

2016 ICBHTC Intern Class (left to right): Amanda Auerbach, Jessica Garner, Cassandra Simmons, Jennifer Chmura, Delilah Portalatin, Anthony Barlog. Not pictured: Rebecca Gonzalez.

2016 ICBHTC Intern Class (left to right): Amanda Auerbach, Jessica Garner, Cassandra Simmons, Jennifer Chmura, Delilah Portalatin, Anthony Barlog. Not pictured: Rebecca Gonzalez.

U.S. Senate Passes Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), Bipartisan Bill Moves to House of Representatives

On March 10, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The legislation embodies a comprehensive response to addiction and the opioid crisis, earning the support of over 130 organizations—including TASC—in the fields of prevention, treatment, recovery, law enforcement, and state and local governments.

CARA garnered strong, bipartisan support in the Senate, passing on a vote of 94-1. Among the bill’s strong leaders and supporters were Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), as well as both Illinois Senators, Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL).

More people died in 2014 from drug overdoses than in any previous year on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vast majority of people who need addiction treatment do not receive it. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that only 2.6 million of the 22.5 million people across the country who needed help with a substance use disorder got it in 2014. The treatment gap also exists for people in prisons and jails, where an estimated 85 percent have been found to be substance-involved, but only 11 percent received any kind of treatment.

CARA’s key provisions include:

  • Expanding the availability of naloxone—an overdose antidote—to law enforcement and first responders to help save lives.
  • Expanding resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals with addiction disorders promptly by collaborating with criminal justice stakeholders and by providing evidence­based treatment.
  • Launching an evidence-­based opioid and heroin treatment and intervention program to expand best practices throughout the country.
  • Launching a medication-assisted treatment and intervention demonstration program.

Appropriations to implement the bill were not included in the legislation.

For more information about CARA, visit here, and to ask your U.S. Representative to support the bill, click here.


Using Technology to Improve Rural Health Access

(Edwardsville, Illinois) — In rural areas, long drives to addiction treatment facilities are common. For individuals who lack transportation or may temporarily have lost the right to drive, the inability to get to a treatment program can be a substantial barrier to recovery. In 2011, funding from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helped launch the Illinois Technology Enhancements for Coordinated Health (TECH) Care pilot program in Illinois’ Fourth Judicial Circuit.

The Illinois TECH Care program used technology to engage justice-involved adults in Clinton, Fayette, and Marion counties, resulting in a streamlined care coordination system and increased client access to services. As an infrastructure development program, it piloted the use of video conferencing, automated wellness calls, and electronically shared data to respond to significant health and communication gaps for women and men with substance use and/or co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders involved in the criminal justice system.

To launch the program, TASC collaborated with Community Resource Center as a rural treatment provider, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as an external program evaluator, and court and probation system partners, with TASC responsible for overall program implementation, as well as technology integration, training, and case management.

“The program allowed us to schedule assessments via video, versus trying to schedule in person with long distances,” said Craig Cooper, who directs operations for TASC in 101 Illinois counties, and who oversaw clinical service delivery for the pilot. “The quicker you can respond to a client in need and get that level of engagement, the better.”

In addition to supporting improved behavioral health outcomes, telehealth can lower treatment costs by saving the costs of driving and staff time. Treatment, justice, and community service partners also benefit from the new technological infrastructure, which allows the sharing of health information among their sites and builds a sustainable, data-informed system of care for populations that are historically difficult to engage.

“Being able to provide services through videoconferencing or telehealth links individuals to services they might not receive otherwise in a rural area,” said Georgianne Broughton, executive director of Community Resource Center, which provides behavioral healthcare treatment, prevention and educational services. “Using technology positively to affect change in how we deliver services has been a benefit to our communities in rural Illinois.”

Along with its reputation for advocacy and facilitating access to and retention in treatment, perhaps less well-known is TASC’s history of technology innovation, as in the Illinois TECH Care program.

“TASC has always promoted the effective use of technology for social services,” said Marina Uk, director of Management Information Services at TASC, who served as the project director and led all technical aspects and implementation of Illinois TECH Care. The integration of technology across numerous TASC programs over many years has allowed for more efficient data collection, which in turn supports program analysis and ongoing service improvement.

As part of SAMHSA’s first cohort of Targeted Capacity Expansion – Technology Assisted Care (TCE-TAC) grantees to build a telehealth program to support the delivery of behavioral health services, TASC and Illinois serve as an example of how the innovative use of technology, along with coordinated implementation, can improve community health and enhance client engagement in care coordination activities. As elements of the pilot program are rolled out across Illinois, learning and knowledge will help counties plan for and integrate similar health information technologies successfully.

TASC and Communities Across Illinois Celebrate National Recovery Month

(Chicago) – Governor Pat Quinn has issued a proclamation announcing September as Recovery Month in Illinois. National Recovery Month features events and celebrations that recognize the societal value and personal successes of recovery from mental and substance use disorders.

This year’s theme is Join the Voices for Recovery, Together on Pathways to Wellness. In partnership with community partners across Illinois, TASC is proud to participate in several events this September. All are encouraged to attend:

Sat. 9/14 at Governors State University: Walk for RecoveryHosted by the Governors State University Alumni Association and the Addictions Studies Alumni Club, GSU’s 2nd Annual Walk for Recovery is free and open to the public. Registration will run from 8 to 9 AM, followed by a program at 9 AM, and concluding with a two-mile walk at 10 AM. Featured speakers will include Peter Palanca, executive vice president and chief operating officer for TASC; Benny Lee, community liaison and reentry specialist for TASC; and comedian Tommy Connolly. The event will offer resource information, door prizes, refreshments, music, and entertainment. Sponsors include: IlliniCare Health Plan, TASC, the Illinois Certification Board, and the South Suburban Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

Sat. 9/14 in Rockford:  Recovery Rally on the RockRockford’s 5th annual recovery rally will take place from 11 AM to 3 PM on the banks of the Rock River at the Madison Street Trolley Station near the Riverview Ice House. Co-sponsored by TASC through the leadership of Bridget Kiely and Kate Craig, the event celebrates recovery from alcohol and drug addiction while raising awareness of local resources to prevent and treat substance use and mental health conditions. It is a free, family-friendly event that will include music and inspiring words from local community members. A wide range of community resources will be offered.

Sat. 9/14 in Chicago: Outside the Walls.  Sponsored by the Winners’ Circle and coordinated by the Reverend Tommie Johnson, this annual event is a celebration of hope and healing in the spirit of recovery. Outside the Walls honors the lives of men and women who have paid their debts to society and today celebrate the reconnection of families once broken due to incarceration. The event will feature local gospel artists, food, and full day of family-oriented fun and activities, offering a spiritual atmosphere emphasizing the value of faith-based consciousness in community reentry. Outside the Walls will take place from 11 AM to 4 PM at Douglas Park in Chicago, at the northwest corner of Ogden and California Avenue.

Mon. 9/30 in Chicago:  Healthy Families, Healthy Communities – It’s All About Recovery!  Sponsored by Great Lakes ATTC, this full-day training (8:30 AM – 5 PM) will feature renowned experts discussing the importance of recovery and its impact on all family members. The concept of Recovery Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC) will be the frame used to discuss how to shore up and sustain healthy families. Topics will include: Global Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care & Recovery; Healthcare Reform; and issues specific to men & families, to youth, and to women. Presenters include: Cherie A. Hunter, consultant/trainer/ facilitator, Hunter Communications; Kenneth L. Osborne, author/speaker/ consultant; Peter Palanca, executive vice president and chief operating officer, TASC; Mark Sanders, author/speaker/consultant, On The Mark Consulting; Jeffrey Coady, regional administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); and Lonnetta Albright, executive director, Great Lakes ATTC. Registration is $50 and includes breakfast and lunch.

In addition to the above, there are many other events taking place across the state and the country. Find events in Illinois and across the U.S., or post your event here.

Also, Recovery Month 2013 features special learning opportunities such as a September 11 webinar for clergy and other congregational leaders. Understanding Addiction and Supporting Recovery is free and sponsored by the National Association for Children of Alcoholics.

This month marks the 24th annual observance of National Recovery Month. It is estimated that more than 20 million Americans are in recovery today.

TASC Executive Vice President Peter Palanca will be a featured speaker at two Recovery Month events in September.

TASC Executive Vice President Peter Palanca will be featured speaker at two Recovery Month events in September.

Twitter @TASC_CHJ

September is Recovery Month: Join the Voices for Recovery

September is National Recovery Month, a time to collectively promote and support recovery from mental and substance use disorders, to celebrate people and families in recovery, and to laud the contributions of treatment and service providers.

TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities) invites you to join us at one of the following Recovery Month events, or find other events near you in communities across the country.

Saturday, Sept. 8, 11AM- 4PM:  Outside the Walls: A Day of Family Unity and Community Reconciliation

  • Sponsored by the Winners’ Circle, this is a day of family unity and community reconciliation featuring Gospel Music (Hope House Men’s Choir, Serenity Drum Corps, First Holy Choir, New Mt. Moriah Choir, and many more); inspirational and motivational speeches by religious and civic leaders; gift bags with CDs, books, tapes, faith-based inspiration and more; school supplies for children; commemorative t-shirts; HIV/AIDS screenings and testing, and more.

Wed-Thu, Sept. 12-13:  Illinois Specialty Courts Conference

  • The Illinois Association of Drug Court Professionals (IADCP) and Mental Health Court Association of Illinois (MHCAI) have traditionally held two separate annual conferences. These associations are merging their annual conferences for 2012.

Saturday, Sept. 15, 11AM- 3PM:  Recovery Rally on the Rock

  • The 4th Annual Recovery on the Rock event will highlight and celebrate recovery efforts taking place throughout the Rockford area. The event will feature speakers, informational resources, and community festivities for an informative and fun afternoon.

Saturday, Sept. 22, 8AM- 1PM:  Governors State University Addiction Studies Alumni Club Walk for Recovery

  • Governor State University’s Walk for Recovery will honor individuals recovering and seeking recovery, and will also celebrate the treatment and support providers committed to helping people and families affected by addiction.

Click here to see all September Recovery Month events in Illinois.  If you or someone you know needs help finding or sustaining recovery, please click here for information and links to resources.

National Recovery Month is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).