SAMHSA’s working definition of recovery defines recovery as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. Recovery signals a dramatic shift in the expectation for positive outcomes for individuals who experience mental and substance use conditions or the co-occurring of the two.

Guiding Principles

Hope, the belief that these challenges and conditions can be overcome, is the foundation of recovery. A person’s recovery is built on his or her strengths, talents, coping abilities, resources, and inherent values. It is holistic, addresses the whole person and their community, and is supported by peers, friends, and family members.

The process of recovery is highly personal and occurs via many pathways. It may include clinical treatment, medications, faith-based approaches, peer support, family support, self-care, and other approaches. Recovery is characterized by continual growth and improvement in one’s health and wellness and managing setbacks. Because setbacks are a natural part of life, resilience becomes a key component of recovery.

The Four Major Dimensions of Recovery

The Four Major Dimensions of Recovery
  1. Health – Overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms – for example, abstaining from use of alcohol, illicit drugs, and non-prescribed medication if one has an addiction problem- and for everyone in recovery making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being
  2. Home – Having a stable and safe place to live
  3. Purpose – Conducting meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income, and resources to participate in society
  4. Community – Having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope


Nevada Recovery Friendly Workplace

In an effort to improve Nevada’s workplaces, the State of Nevada has developed a Recovery-Friendly Workplace Program to reduce the stigma of substance use and encourage workplaces to support treatment and recovery. Through education, and policy and procedure development to support recovery in all aspects, the program provides free resources to become a designated recovery-friendly workplace.

Faces & Voices of Recovery

Through collective efforts in recovery advocacy, community support, and education, Faces & Voices of Recovery promotes the right of every individual and family to recover from substance use disorder, while demonstrating the value and impact of long-term recovery.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery supports people in the United States, Canada, and all over the world to manage addictive and problematic behaviors. SMART Recovery is the leading, evidence-informed approach to overcoming addictive behaviors and leading a balanced life.

Tools & Resources

The SAMHSA Program to Advance Recovery Knowledge (SPARK) supports transformational, recovery-oriented change for every state, tribal, and territorial behavioral health system and promotes equitable access to recovery supports in the United States. This resource center includes current information focused on equitable recovery supports including recovery-oriented care, recovery supports and services, and recovery-oriented systems for people with mental health/substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders. If you have questions about these resources or suggestions for recovery resources to be added, please email the SPARK team

In this toolkit, the The Peer Recovery CoE introduces substance use disorder, its impact in the workplace, and how to develop and support a Recovery Friendly Workplace.

This document updates a prior Recovery Housing Guideline and outlines best practices for the implementation and operation of recovery housing. The best practices are intended to serve as a tool for states, governing bodies, providers, recovery house operators, and other interested stakeholders to improve the health of their citizens, reduce incidence of overdose, and promote long-term recovery from substance use and co-occurring disorders.

National Recovery Month (Recovery Month), which started in 1989, is a national observance held every September to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the nation’s strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and communities who make recovery in all its forms possible.

This toolkit is a resource for Peer Recovery Specialists (PRSs) to feel equipped to discuss MOUD with providers, people seeking recovery, and others with questions about this treatment option.


NIDA. 2023, September 25. Treatment and Recovery. Retrieved from on 2024, April 24

This publication by the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) provides information about recovery.

This handbook provides guidance on using the web-based, multimedia tool Decisions in Recovery: Medications for Opioid Addiction. This handbook and the web-based tool offers information about medication-assisted treatment. Both resources help people living with opioid use disorder compare treatment options and discuss their preferences with a provider.

This publication by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides comprehensive information on recovery-oriented systems of care for individuals with substance use disorders, including opioid use disorder. It includes resources for individuals seeking recovery support services.

A compilation of essays by individuals supported by Medication-Assisted Treatment in long-term recovery.

Posters & Infographics

Recovery is Real& Holistic SAMHSA defines recovery as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. The process of recovery is highly personal and holistic, and it occurs via many pathways. 7 IN 10 ADULTS who ever had a substance use problem considered themselves to be recovering or in recovery. 2 IN 3 ADULTS who ever had a mental health problem considered themselves to be recovering or in recovery. Those in substance use and/or mental health recovery are more likely to: Have Ever Been Married View Religious Beliefs as Important Additionally, those in substance use recovery are more likely to: Receive Government Assistance Have Lower Income Have Lower Education Have Received Substance Use Disorder Treatment in the Past Year While those in mental health recovery are more likely to: Be Older in Age Have Health Insurance Coverage Have Never Received Government Assistance Have Higher Income Identify as Heterosexual Have Higher Education Have Never Been Arrested/Booked for Breaking the Law Have Received Mental Health Treatment in the Past Year Those in substance use and/or mental health recovery exhibited higher resiliency throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. People in recovery were likely to report that COVID-19 had LITTLE OR NO NEGATIVE IMPACT on their mental health. People in recovery who used ALCOHOL in the past year were more likely to report that COVID-19 DID NOT INCREASE their alcohol use. People in recovery who used ILLICIT DRUGS in the past year were more likely to report that COVID-19 DID NOT INCREASE their drug use. For the full recovery report, please visit Policy recommendations to support those in recovery: HEALTH • Expand access to primary health care and mental health and substance use treatment. • Build resiliency. PURPOSE • Implement supportive employment programs. • Expand collegiate recovery. • Offer financial counseling and education. HOME • Create affordable, safe, and stable housing options. COMMUNITY • Establish community outreach and support networks. • Promote antidiscrimination and stigma-reduction efforts. • Engage with faith communities. • Ensure equity access. • Implement criminal justice diversion programs. • Provide family support services. No matter who you are or where you are…there is HOPE. Source: SAMHSA. (2022). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP22-07-01-005, NSDUH Series H-57). Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis: Call or text 988 or chat Get help at The SAMHSA Office of Recovery promotes a recovery-oriented system of care, working in partnership with recovery community leaders, tracking progress over time, and identifying to resolve barriers to system transformation. Visit the SAMHSA Office of Recovery webpage to learn more and get resources. Scan the QR code to access SAMHSA recovery resources #RecoveryEquity Follow SAMHSA

Infographic: Recovery is Real and Holistic

Download the PDF infographic
SAMHSA’s WORKING DEFINITION OF RECOVERY Strengths / Responsibility Hope Person- Driven Many Pathways Holistic Peer Support Culture Relational Addresses Trauma Respect 10 GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF RECOVERY

SAMHSA’s Working Definition of Recovery

View the Infographic
What You Need to Know About Treatment and Recovery There is hope. Recovery is possible. Addiction Is A Disease Opioids are highly addictive, and they change how the brain works. Anyone can become addicted, even when opioids are prescribed by a doctor and taken as directed. In fact, millions of people in the United States suffer from opioid addiction. Signs of Opioid Addiction A major warning sign of addiction is if a person keeps using opioids even though taking them has caused problems—like trouble keeping a job, relationship turmoil, or run-ins with law enforcement. Other signs can include:1 Opioid Use Disorder Sometimes referred to as “opioid addiction,” opioid use disorder is a chronic and relapsing disease that affects the body and brain. It can cause difficulties with tasks at work, school, or home, and can affect someone’s ability to maintain healthy relationships. It can even lead to overdose and death. Trying to stop or cut down on drug use, but not being able to. Taking one drug to get over the effects of another. Using drugs because of being angry or upset with other people. Being scared at the thought of running out of drugs. Stealing drugs or money to pay for drugs. Overdosing on drugs. To learn more about opioid misuse, go to 1 /understanding-addiction/addiction-can-affect-anyone Recovery Is Possible Recovery does not happen overnight. Asking for help from family, friends, co-workers, and others can make a big difference. Tell them your reasons for quitting and ask them to check in with you about how things are going. If you know or suspect someone is struggling, ask if you can help. Treatment Can Help Treatment can help people get their lives back before it is too late. No single treatment method is right for everyone, but research shows that combining behavioral therapy with medication is the most effective approach for overcoming opioid addiction. Addiction is a disease that for many involves long-term follow-up and repeated care to be effective and prevent relapse. When people make a recovery plan that includes medication for opioid use disorder, their chances of success increase. Medications can help normalize brain chemistry, relieve cravings, and in some cases prevent withdrawal symptoms. Medication-Assisted Treatment Options Talk with your doctor to find out what types of medication are available in your area and what options are best for you. Be sure to ask about the risk of relapse and overdose. Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator: Opioid Treatment Program Directory by State: directory.aspx Health Center Locator: Mental Health and Addiction Insurance Help: mental-health-parity/mentalhealth-and-addiction-insurancehelp/index.html Find Treatment Services Use these resources to find services that fit your needs: Methadone • Available as daily liquid • Can only be used in a certified opioid treatment program setting Buprenorphine • Available as dissolving tablet, cheek film, or 6-month implant under the skin • Can be prescribed by a doctor for use outside of a clinic Naltrexone • Can be prescribed by any healthcare provider who can legally prescribe medication • Only used for people who have not used opioids for at least 7–10 days Additional resources to access help: • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) • Decisions in Recovery: Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder • Facing Addiction in America | The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Fact Sheet

This fact sheet contains important information about treatment and recovery of opioid use disorder for patients, families and friends.
Download the fact sheet

Webinars & Online Learning

Learn how to implement recovery-oriented principles and practices in a variety of real-world practice settings and with diverse groups of people diagnosed with behavioral health conditions in this webinar series from SAMHSA. 

The Peer Recovery Center of Excellence is a peer-led national center that provides training and technical assistance related to substance use disorder recovery.

This recorded webinar from the PS ROTA-R provides an overview on the impact of stimulant use on non-metropolitan rural communities.

This recorded webinar from the PS ROTA-R provides an overview on the impact of stimulant use on non-metropolitan rural communities.

Current News & Research

The Mobile Emergency Recovery Intervention Trial (MERIT)

The Mobile Emergency Recovery Intervention Trial (MERIT) is a grant-funded research study that is evaluating the effectiveness and long-term outcomes of an ER-based intervention for opioid overdose patients treated in Nevada’s Emergency Departments (EDs). The research is currently ongoing.

Published Papers:
  1. Wagner, K.D., Oman, R.F., Smith, K.P., Harding, R., Dawkins, A.D., Lu, M., §Woodard, S., Berry, M.N., Roget, N.A. (2019). “Another tool for the tool box? I’ll take it!”: Feasibility and acceptability of mobile recovery outreach teams (MROT) for opioid overdose patients in the emergency room. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. 108:95-103
  2. McGuire, A., Ray, B., Watson, D., Carter, J., Wagner, K., Powell, K., Smith, K., Robinson, L., Cooperman, N., Treitler, P. (2019) Emergency department-based peer support for opioid use disorders: Emergent functions and forms. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. 108:82-87
  3. Wagner, K.D., *Mittal, M.L., Harding, R.W., Smith, K.P., Dawkins, A., Wei, X., §Woodard, S., Roget, N.A., Oman, R.F. (2020) “It’s gonna be a lifeline”: Findings from focus group research to investigate what people who use opioids want from peer-based post-overdose interventions in the emergency department. Annals of Emergency Medicine. 76(6): 717-727
  4. Smith, K.P., Oman, R.F., Lu, M., Dawkins, A.D., Harding, R.W., Hepworth, K., Wagner, K.D. (2021). The Mobile Emergency Recovery Intervention Trial (MERIT): Protocol for a 3-Year Mixed Methods Observational Study of Mobile Recovery Outreach Teams in Nevada’s Emergency Departments. Plos ONE. 16(10): e0258795.
  5. *Kirk, M.R., Dawkins, A.D., Wei, X., *Ajumobi, O., §Lee, L.C., Oman, R., §Woodard, S., Wagner, K.D. (2023) What makes a peer? Characteristics of certified peer recovery support specialists in an emergency department-based intervention. PlosOne (Accepted July 31, 2023, e-pub December 7, 2023).