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The United States entered the new decade with a global pandemic affecting people, economies, and education at levelnot seen since the great World WarsThe COVID-19 pandemic has captured society’s full attention, as we have seen the worldwide death toll mount to over 210,000 in less than year. And, while our collective focus remains on the coronavirus, the sad realities of other afflictions in the United Statesincluding opioid misuse and substance use disorder, remain. In 2019, nearly 70,000 Americandied of opioid misusea death count of magnitude that has held consistent for almost a decade. 

In 2020Fors Marsh Group (FMG) began one of its most important and enterprising efforts with its Social Engagement through Research-Centered Volunteerism (SERV) program: a company-wide initiative to improve the resourcing and support of recovery programs for people who are in early recovery and overcoming substance use disorder, in partnership with the Global Recovery Initiatives Foundation (GRI). 

“The lack of government funding for addiction recovery is a significant gap in the fight to end opioid addiction. Although many family and community foundations are eager to contribute to recovery funding, there is no coordinated effort to provide recovery resources that unite these organizations,” said Ben Garthwaite, FMG CEO. “With our research and communication services, FMG and GRI are leading the way in an effort to coordinate recovery services and resources available nationwide that reduce stigma associated with substance use disorder.” 

One of the initial efforts FMG undertook this summer was holding the Recovery Research Summit with GRI. The summit brought together a diverse group of 213 participants, including recovery researchers, academic institutions, and senior government officials from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)ONDCP Director James Carroll opened the summit and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and Dr. Wesley Clark provided closing remarks. 

In September, National Recovery Month, there were several professional and advocacy-related programs around the country to increase awareness and support for recovery and to share best practices from the local to the national level. To explore the value that recovery organizations bring to communities across the country, FMG and GRI held a series of webinars to help family members and their loved ones develop powerful strategies to combat the impact of shame and stigma around substance use disorder.   

In 2021, FMG will continue to conduct research and advocate for the increased recognition and resourcing of recovery programs across the United States. We will encourage a greater research focus in the area of recovery, propose greater involvement in funding recovery research and programs from private sector funding, provide platforms to request greater federal funding, and address racial and ethnic disparities in recovery. 

If you’d like to join us on this mission, contact us. 

About the author

Andy Blenkle

Andy Blenkle

Andy Blenkle is a marketing executive with extensive advertising experience supporting non-profits and federal organizations. At FMG, Andy serves as Vice President, focused on supporting client marketing campaigns and business development and partnership efforts. In his executive-level experience, Andy has served as President of iostudio, a Nashville-based digital marketing firm, and ...

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