The Family Support Services for Addiction Act of 2020 (HR 5572) would create a grant program for nonprofit organizations to provide support services to families of people living with addiction. The grants created under this bill would be provided by the Department of Health and Human Services.
These grants can be used to create or support evidence-based family services and connect families to other types of services (e.g., primary care providers and therapists). Grants can also be used for education and outreach purposes in order to raise awareness and reduce stigma relating to the families of individuals with addiction. Grant recipients are required to submit a yearly report on the activities supported by the grant and the impact of those activities.
Family members of people with addictions often face their own mental health difficulties as a result of caring for their loved ones. One study found that one in five adults in the US have been harmed by someone else’s drinking; another study found that eight million children live with at least one parent with a substance use disorder. Family members struggle with communicating with their loved ones, finding the right treatment programs, navigating financial elements of addiction, and experiencing feelings of shame.
Additionally, several studies have shown that addiction treatment programs are more successful with strong family support. Family support is linked to an increased chance of entering stable sobriety and decreased chance of relapse. Family members can also assist by recognizing addiction, directing addicts to treatment, and maintaining an environment conducive to sobriety (e.g., removing all substances of abuse from the home).
The Bill is supported by the Center on Addiction and the Partnership for Drug Free Kids. An identical bill (S 3179) was introduced to the Senate by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).