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What are Recovery Support Services?

Recovery Support Services (RSS) are social vehicles for recovery. These non-clinical services often operate to initiate or support recovery in conjunction with the work of formal treatment or other existing mutual aid groups.  (SAMHSA, 2007)

Types of Recovery Support Service Providers:

Recovery support services are typically provided by volunteers or paid staff familiar with their community’s support for people seeking to live free of alcohol and drugs.  Providers of RSS include:

PEERS - Peer Recovery Support Services (PRSS) are designed and provided by peers who have gained both practical experience in the process of recovery and the wisdom of how to sustain it. PRSS expand the capacity of formal treatment systems by promoting the initiation of recovery, preventing relapse, and intervening early with relapse occurs. PRSS provide four types of recovery support: emotional support; information support; instrumental support; and, affiliational support. (SAMHSA, An RCSP Conference Report, 2006)

FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS - Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) provide services within the context of a religious framework of beliefs and rituals. These services may or may not be peer-driven, and can be used as an adjunct to treatment or as an alternative to treatment. With the adoption of the “Charitable Choice” laws and voucher programs such as Access to Recovery (ATR), faith-based organizations are now able to be enlisted to provide more focused RSS services. 

CLINICAL STAFF - Clinically supervised recovery support services are delivered by personnel who are trained for specific recovery support services positions within treatment agencies or other systems. As part of ROSC, such recovery support staff assists in the implementation of aftercare and assertive continuing care and may also serve as recovery coaches or case managers.

(Unpublished, SAMHSA, 2007)

Resources on Delivery of Recovery Support Services

Examples of Recovery Support Services Include:

  • Transportation to and from treatment, recovery activities, employment, etc.
  • Employment services and job training
  • Housing assistance and services
  • Child care
  • Peer-to-peer services, mentoring, coaching
  • Family and marriage education
  • Spiritual and faith-based support
  • Parent education and child development
  • Self-help and support groups
  • and more………

Recovery Support Services Work!

A study by McKay (2005) found that recovery check-ups and active linkage to recovery supports following treatment are important in maintaining recovery. These services can be low-cost, such as telephone- based support and check-ups, and still be effective. Research by Fiorentine & Hillhouse (2000) found that those who participated in both treatment and recovery support groups had better long-term recovery outcomes then people who had either one alone. (Unpublished, SAMHSA, 2007)

Resources on Recovery Support Services:

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