September's National Recovery Month serves as a way to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can make a major impact on people's quality of life. Now in its 29th year, the annual observance is organized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to increase awareness and understanding of mental illness and addictions, as well as celebrate people in recovery from these conditions.
This year, National Recovery Month coincides with some positive news in SAMHSA's annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The survey's findings show that, in 2017, many more people sought treatment for their substance use disorder than in 2016. Illicit drug use disorder saw an increase of almost four percent - 9.2 percent in 2016 compared to 13 percent in 2017. The increase in treatment for heroin-related opioid use disorders was even greater: people who sought treatment increased from about 38 percent in 2016 to 55 percent in 2017.
As LegitScript seeks to improve the addiction treatment space with our Addiction Treatment Certification, we're encouraged by the increasing trend of those seeking treatment. In partnering with Google and Facebook, the goal of our program is to help weed out bad actors from the online advertising space in order to curb opportunistic addiction treatment providers that have been cashing in on patients' recovery efforts and insurance billing opportunities. That way, those suffering from addiction who seek support may be more likely to find the help they need.
We recognize that our efforts are only one small part of the solution. Our partners - including Facing Addiction with NCADD, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP), and Center on Addiction - play a critical role in providing resources and support for those seeking help with addiction.
One such resource is the Addiction Resource Hub, a joint project of Facing Addiction with NCADD and Transforming Youth Recovery. Powered by an innovative mapping tool from Capacitype, the Addiction Resource Hub offers resources relevant to every step of the addiction recovery process, including advocacy and education, drug court and criminal justice support, housing resources, school-based recovery support, and more. The hub is an acknowledgement that complete, comprehensive recovery support extends beyond treatment opportunities.
Other resources are helping in the fight against addiction as well. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids offers one-on-one help to parents whose children are dealing with substance abuse, with trained specialists available via phone, email, or text. NAATP has the Addiction Industry Directory (AID), which serves as a comprehensive source of addiction service providers and supporters. And Center on Addiction has an interactive library comprising more than 20 years of research and reports on addiction and substance abuse in all sectors of society.
Even though National Recovery Month is nearing its end, there are still dozens of recovery-related events available in communities nationwide. SAMHSA's Recovery Month highlights how the combined efforts of government agencies, advocacy groups, private industry, and community organizers can make a meaningful difference in combating the opioid crisis and other substance use disorders.