Recovery Month 2023: Deputy Director Message
Ruby Qazilbash, Deputy Director of the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, offers closing remarks on a successful Recovery Month 2023.
RUBY QAZILBASH: Hello, my name is Ruby Qazilbash. I'm the Deputy Director of Policy at the Bureau of Justice Assistance here at the Department of Justice.
Four weeks ago, BJA Director Karhlton Moore spoke about the momentum we felt at the beginning of Recovery Month, and the hope inspired by the National Forum of the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Use Program-also known as COSSUP. More than 1100 COSSUP grantees, leading treatment experts, and national leaders attended the Forum, where they shared the resources and lessons learned that are equipping communities across the country with tools to prevent and reduce substance misuse and overdose and assist people on the road to recovery. It was a moving event.
Because inspiration is the fuel of momentum, each weekday of Recovery Month we shared a new story from a Champion of Recovery. These brave and dedicated individuals are either people who have started down the road of recovery, or the dedicated professionals who have supported them along the way.
Viewed together, these Champions -from rural and urban areas, tribal communities, and cities across the country - motivate us to continue the work of supporting recovery. Their stories are living proof that prevention works, that treatment is effective, and that people can, and do, recover.
But inspiration alone isn't enough to make recovery work.
Successful, sustainable recovery depends as much on reaching people along the many points of the justice continuum - what we call intercepts - as it does on the hard work and determination of the person in recovery.
The Recovery Month resources that are up on the COSSUP website are the practical tools that justice practitioners and service providers can use to reach people at each one of those intercepts-connecting them to the services and the supports they need for sustained recovery.
We shared landmark new guidelines for managing substance withdrawal in jails; a course for first responders to deflect people away from arrest and toward treatment; webinars about using overdose data to effectively prevent future overdoses, and other resources on reducing the stigma of substance use disorders.
We also shared publications about the harm reduction efforts and recovery supports that make recovery not only possible but sustainable.
Information on the widespread distribution of naloxone, use of peer specialists to connect people to treatment, and how to access medications to treat opioid use disorder.
And we shared Justice Today podcasts with two leading county prosecutors - one in Navajo County, Arizona and one in Charlottesville, Virginia - who are pioneers in demonstrating new and effective ways that prosecutors can reduce the number of people incarcerated in jails, increase access to treatment and save taxpayer dollars.
Taken together, these 50-plus resources represent some of the most innovative ways the justice system, in collaboration with public health and behavioral health, can support people in recovery.
They are an inspiring source of hope that show communities everywhere what's possible when local partners work together, when they use data to drive their decision-making, and leverage support from programs like COSSUP to fill gaps.
We hope that you have been as inspired as we have by all the Champions of Recovery. We urge you to access the newly updated COSSUP Resource Center website to find additional resources and to request assistance.
We look forward to another year of continuing to work with communities like yours to support those on their recovery journey. Thank you.
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