Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

First step for secular recovery funding

Vol. 36 No. 09 November 2019

A vital first step has been made to help remedy a major problem: Most mutual support recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotic Anonymous are religious in nature.

Thanks to advocacy by FFRF on this issue, a recently released federal budget includes a request that federal tax dollars can be awarded to secular, evidence-based recovery programs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which manages billions of federal tax dollars, is responsible for these grants.

FFRF and its governmental affairs director, Mark Dann, based in D.C., have been working alongside a secular coalition to ensure that government funding aimed at combating substance abuse and mental health issues can go to secular, evidence-based programs, such as SMART Recovery and LifeRing. Many areas do not have adequate access to secular recovery programs, in large part due to a lack of funding and awareness.

If this measure passes, secular recovery organizations will be available to millions of people, thanks to the billions of federal dollars that are being dedicated to fighting the addiction crisis. This would be a monumental boon to these underfunded programs. Access to these programs will provide reliable recovery resources to those in need and provide more options than religious-based services.

Although this is a major victory, the request has not yet been passed. The measure must still be passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president.