The Investments Supporting Partnerships In Recovery Ecosystems (INSPIRE) Initiative addresses the substance use disorder (SUD) crisis across Appalachia by creating or expanding a recovery ecosystem that will lead to workforce entry or re-entry. Successful projects will support the post-treatment to employment continuum, which could include investments in healthcare networks that support SUD recovery professionals, recovery-focused job training programs, as well as initiatives designed to coordinate, or link, recovery services and training that support the recovery to work ecosystem, among others.
In September 2023, ARC awarded $14 million to 43 projects across the region. These INSPIRE awardees will support the SUD recovery-to-employment continuum in 11 Appalachian states by training and certifying recovery specialists, establishing cross-sector partnerships, expanding peer support networks, launching recovery-to-work programs with a full spectrum of coordinated support services, and more.
The recovery ecosystem is a complex linkage of multiple sectors, including but not limited to recovery communities, peer support, health, human services, faith communities, criminal justice, public safety, housing, transportation, education, and employers. The goal of the recovery ecosystem is to help individuals in recovery access the support services and training they need to maintain recovery and successfully obtain sustainable employment.
INSPIRE’s Impact in Appalachia
Since April 2021, ARC has invested $42.6 million in 127 projects that address Appalachia’s substance use disorder crisis in 349 counties — which is 83% of the region. Together, these projects are projected to improve more than 2,178 businesses and provide opportunities for nearly 9,772 students and workers in creating or expanding recovery ecosystems leading to workforce entry or re-entry throughout the region.
Investments in Action
INSPIRE Success Stories
Report of Recommendations
ARC’s Substance Use Disorder Advisory Council considered the three steps within the recovery ecosystem and unanimously approved the final set of 14 recommendations.
Appalachian Diseases of Despair
This study analyzes the impact of diseases of despair on mortality within the Appalachian Region, focusing on overdose; suicide; and alcoholic liver disease.
According to CDC data in the report, overdose-related mortality rates for the region’s 25–54-year-old age group—those in their prime working years—were 72 percent higher in 2021 than for the same age group in non-Appalachian areas.