“Emphasize prevention,” your well-informed Dec. 19 editorial on opioid abuse, highlights some key factors that could make a meaningful and enduring difference in the battle against addiction.
One important area of focus that was not mentioned, and continues to be underfunded, is recovery support services. These peer-based services include emotional, informational and affiliational aspects. They include one-to-one and group support sessions and connection to resources for child care, transportation, health care, housing and vocational and social services.
Recovery support services have proved valuable in minimizing relapse and strengthening recovery. Connecting people not only to treatment but to recovery support, especially those returning from the criminal justice system, may prove to turn the tide.
Kudos to the leadership at the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services for getting it and steadily increasing the investment in recovery services. The governor and State Legislature have been responsive as well. We need this commitment to continue.
The federal government has underfunded recovery support services. However, nationwide, great strides have been made in addressing addiction as a public health crisis and not a criminal justice issue.
Richard Buckman, Dix Hills
Editor’s note: The writer is president of the Long Island Recovery Association, an advocacy organization.