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Certification could mean more funds for substance use recovery support by community organizations

Charmin Gabbard sitting behind a table and speaking into a microphone in a Senate committee room.
Screenshot of IGA.in.gov
Charmin Gabbard is the executive director of the Fayette County Connection Cafe, an organization centered on recovery and harm reduction. She said organizations like hers help people avoid incarceration, find careers, and be “a productive member of society.”

Some Hoosiers in substance use recovery don’t have enough support or resources — and some grassroots organizations want to step in to fill those gaps.

A Senate committee passed a bill to establish standards for recovery community organizations, which gives these groups access to more funding opportunities.

The RCO model is used nationally by independent, non-profit groups. These organizations often provide peer-based recovery support services, harm reduction programs, and community outreach and education programs. HB 1205 would require RCOs to be certified through the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction.

Heather Rodriguez, director of the Indiana Recovery Network, said state certification will ensure RCOs meet the national model criteria and provide quality assurance “in a safe supporting recovery community.”

“Building strong RCOs is one way to break feelings of isolation and shame, build strong relationships, and advocate for community based solutions that work,” Rodriguez said.

READ MORE: How do I follow Indiana’s legislative session? Here’s your guide to demystify the process

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Charmin Gabbard is the executive director of the Fayette County Connection Cafe, an organization centered on recovery and harm reduction. She said organizations like hers help people avoid incarceration, find careers and be “a productive member of society.”

“What we know is that we are helping Hoosiers,” Gabbard said. “We're saving lives through these organizations, and we're truly meeting people right where they're at.”

The bill also creates additional reporting requirements for Community Mental Health Centers. These requirements include among other things, the total number of visits and the most common substance use issues, and mental health diagnoses for both adults and children.

The bill passed through the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Abigail is our health reporter. Contact them at aruhman@wboi.org.

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Abigail Ruhman covers statewide health issues. Previously, they were a reporter for KBIA, the public radio station in Columbia, Missouri. Ruhman graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.