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What is Recovery-Based Care for Addictions?

Definition of Recovery-based Care:

  • Recovery-based care refers to a philosophy of how systems should operate to provide support to individuals with substance use problems and disorders.
  • Recovery-oriented services and systems (e.g., treatment/recovery, family, medical, housing/homeless, child welfare, criminal justice, educational) are integrated, comprehensive, flexible, and outcomes-driven. The integration of the systems offers a fully coordinated menu of services and supports to maximize choice.
  • In recovery-oriented systems, the individual and their family is the focus of the care.
  • Recovery-oriented systems are a holistic, public health approach, focusing on the physical, mental, spiritual and social wellness of the individual.

(Partners for Recovery, 2007)

Goals of Recovery-oriented Services and Systems:

  • To intervene earlier with individuals with substance use problems;
  • To improve treatment outcomes; and
  • To support long-term recovery for those with substance use disorders.

(SAMHSA, 2006)

FACT SHEET: Life Beyond Treatment: Focusing on Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care

The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment’s (CSAT’s) Partners for Recovery Initiative (PFR) conducted five regional recovery meetings between April 2007 and January 2008, to build on the work on recovery-oriented systems initiated at CSAT’s National Summit on Recovery. Read the Summary the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment’s (CSAT’s) Regional Recovery Meetings.

Elements of Recovery-oriented Systems:

As determined during the 2005 National Summit on Recovery, recovery-oriented services and systems should be:

  • Person-centered
  • Family and other ally involvement
  • Individualized and comprehensive services across the lifespan
  • Systems anchored in the community
  • Continuity of care
  • Partnership-consultant relationships
  • Strength-based
  • Culturally responsive
  • Responsiveness to personal belief systems
  • Commitment to peer recovery support services
  • Inclusion of the voices and experiences of recovering individuals and their families
  • Integrated services
  • System-wide education and training
  • Ongoing monitoring and outreach
  • Outcomes driven
  • Research based
  • Adequately and flexibly financed

(SAMHSA, 2006)

Many of the elements have been operationalized in the field for years...So, what’s new?

  • Language;
  • Broadening of thinking and approaches to include clinical and non-clinical supports;
  • Emphasis on recovery support services (specifically peer and faith-based recovery support services) provided throughout the continuum of care;
  • Chronic care approaches, such as recovery management;
  • Greater sensitivity to strength-based and person-centered approaches;
  • Shift from providing program models to offering individualized menu of services;
  • New technologies related to evidence-based practices; and
  • Greater emphasis on developing community supports

Audioconference Series Exploring Recovery-Based Care for AddictionGirl on computer
This series of three web-assisted audioconferences will discuss recovery-based care for addiction.  These sessions are part of a project to educate state legislators and legislative staff about recovery-based care for addiction. Topics include:

Recovery-Based Care for Addiction: City of Philadelphi
Recovery-Based Care for Addiction: Policy Changes and Cost Data
Recovery-Based Care for Addiction: Federal and State Financing

Listen to recordings of past audio-conferences.

View additional resources on the shift to
recovery-based care for addictions


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