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Optimizing Recovery Funding, Volumes 1 & 2

In late 2021 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provided the Peer Recovery Center of Excellence (PR CoE) with supplemental funding for a special project to identify and recommend best practices and strategies to optimize funding for high-quality and effective recovery support services. The PR CoE's two-pronged approach for this project involved an assessment of the opportunities and barriers experienced by organizations in the ecosystem of recovery in accessing government funding as well as a deep-dive analysis of how states are administering funds to support recovery services. Both parts of the project were conducted in collaboration with a panel of subject matter experts, which included former government officials, policymakers, recovery community leaders, and many individuals with lived experience in recovery. Download the full report here.

Volume 1 of this report reviews the methods, findings, and recommendations from a national assessment of the challenges and successes experienced by organizations in the ecosystem of recovery in securing sustainable funding. The main findings from this report may not be surprising to people in the recovery field:

To address these barriers, the report recommends that SAMHSA reduce the complexity of the grant process and provide customized support. It also recommends that funding agencies should provide greater flexibility in the allowable use of funds, develop inclusive funding opportunities that consider the unique needs of historically underserved communities, and reduce administrative burden of grants management.


This brief video will give you an overview of the Optimizing Recovery Funding Volume 1: Barriers to Acquiring Funding for Organizations in the Ecosystem of Recovery.

Upon viewing the video you'll learn about the most comprehensive, broad, needs assessment to-date among organizations in the ecosystem of recovery as well as identifying barriers that the recovery community has experienced in acquiring funding from SAMHSA, states, and other sources.

Optimize Recovery Funding: Volume 1 on Vimeo.


Volume 2 of this report reviews the methods, findings, and recommendations from the analysis of how states allocate funding to organizations for recovery support services (RSS). An estimated $775 million was spent nationally in 2022 on RSS, with an average RSS spending of $20.78 for each person with a substance use disorder. Discretionary funding made up about one-third of the total spending on RSS. States identified recovery community organizations (RCOs) as the primary provider of RSS; however, treatment providers received more funding than RCOs. The report emphasizes the need for clear reporting requirements and standardization of definitions of RSS in order to track spending more efficiently. It also emphasizes the need for additional efforts to reach and support peer-led community-based organizations, especially among historically underserved and minoritized populations. The report recommends that states report RSS spending from block grants and other discretionary grants to SAMHSA, that funding agencies develop approaches to expand and diversify the applicant field, that states increase opportunities for training and technical assistance on RSS funding opportunities, and that SAMHSA’s Office of Recovery should clarify and communicate the vision for RSS.

The major recommendations from both volumes of this report are:

  1. Funding agencies should develop approaches to ensure that the unique needs of historically underserved communities are considered.
  2. RCOs, especially peer-led, community-based organizations, should be given the support they need to acquire the funding they both need and deserve as the primary providers of recovery support services.
  3. Because the process of applying for funding and the restrictions in the use of funds are too burdensome for the organizations that need this funding the most, funding agencies need to provide less complexity and more flexibility in the application process and the allowable use of funds.











































Shannon Roberts, Senior Program Manager, | Cindy Christy, Project Manager, | Marissa Fillyaw,