FFRF lauds major first step toward secular recovery funding in Congress

A congressional development this week is the vital first step to help remedy a major problem: most mutual support recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotic Anonymous are religious in nature.

Thanks to advocacy by the Freedom From Religion Foundation on this issue on Capitol Hill, a recently released federal budget includes a request that federal tax dollars can be awarded to secular, evidence-based recovery programs. The agency responsible for these grants, called the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), manages billions of federal tax dollars.

FFRF and its governmental affairs director, Mark Dann, based in D.C., have been working alongside a secular coalition to ensure that government funding aimed at combating substance abuse and mental health issues can go to secular, evidence-based programs, such as SMART Recovery and LifeRing. Many areas do not have adequate access to secular recovery programs, in large part due to a lack of funding and awareness.

If this measure passes, secular recovery organizations will be available to millions of people, thanks to the billions of federal dollars that are being dedicated to fighting the addiction crisis. This would be a monumental boon to these underfunded programs. Access to these programs will provide reliable recovery resources to those in need and provide more options than religious-based services.

Although this is a major victory, the request has not yet been passed. The measure must still be passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president. FFRF will continue to fight for this crucial funding provision until it crosses the finish line, and will continue to vigorously support secular evidence-based recovery options in the future.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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FFRF is a member of the Secular Coalition for America

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