Veterans, the Veterans Administration, families and friends of Veterans

We are all aware of the increasing use of pharmaceuticals – many legitimately and legally prescribed and some that may well be falling outside the bounds of reasonable treatment. For a veteran, dependency issues are often compounded by a host of other factors – PTSD, legitimate pain management, difficulties in re-adjusting to civilian life, and more. It is not always advisable to treat these issues with yet more pharmaceuticals. Spirals of dependent behaviors are a difficult challenge to break with short-term, one-size-fits-all counseling and recovery results have not been promising thus far.

New protocols have been examined and much value has been found in several programs that are now reaching national awareness.

Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery: 

The Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) and the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, (OASAS,) have recently approved 30-hour training course that is required for NYS Certification as a Recovery Coach or NY State Certified Addiction Peer Advocate.

Other states have followed suit in the development of these effective programs and now New York State has come on board.

The NY Certification Board (NYCB) Definition of a Certified Addiction Recovery Coach (CARC): The NYCB defines a Certified Addiction Recovery Coach as anyone committed to promoting recovery from addiction by connecting recoverees with recovery support services designed to build recovery capital, generating individualized recovery options and assisting recoverees to remove their personal barriers to recovery.

The CARC role is intended to be non-clinical since it does not involve counseling or treatment interventions, diagnosis and assessment, or other medical, psychiatric or psychological services. The CARC role focuses on the tasks, skills and knowledge required to provide helpful and effective recovery coaching and emphasizes linking recoverees with individualized recovery support services to enhance this recovery.

Peer-based recovery support services (P-BRSS) are being designed to extend the current acute-care model of addiction treatment toward the singular goal of elevating long-term recovery outcomes. The strategies to achieve this goal broadly include pre-treatment, in-treatment, and post-treatment P-BRSS.

Infrastructure support for these efforts include peer program standards development, peer training and certification initiatives, and regulatory changes that allow reimbursement of P-BRSS through Medicaid and Medicare and private managed behavioral health care entities. These activities are a product of the broader interest in the use of “community guides” to lead marginalized individuals and families back into full participation in community life.