Promoting pro-recovery policy is central to our mission. We believe that people with lived experience of behavioral health challenges and triumphs should be heard at every table where decisions are being made. Recovery is possible, and even probable, if we build a system that centers the needs of people with behavioral health issues.

We advance public policy that supports recovery in several ways:

The Re-Imagine Recovery Summit

Our annual Re-imagine Recovery Summit convenes individuals, families, and treatment providers within the recovery community to discuss the most pressing needs in behavioral health. The summit is an opportunity to create community connections and energize stakeholders for the year ahead.

Click here to learn more or get involved.

Recovery Advocacy Day (RAD)

Recovery Advocacy Day (RAD) is the WRA’s annual citizen action event, where we bring together hundreds of people in the recovery community from across the state to engage their lawmakers in conversations about legislative changes that would improve our behavioral health system.

Click here to learn more or get involved.

Legislative Advocacy & Education

Our Public Policy Committee helps translate feedback from our community into a set of legislative priorities for the WRA and our community advocates to champion in Olympia. We do this throughout the year at Recovery Advocacy Day, The Re-Imagine Recovery Summit, and other engagements.

Legislative Priorities 2023

*Our finalized 2023 priorities document will be available and updated here the week of January 23, 2023*

The two legislative priority areas that the WRA will focus on in the 2023 session are:

The WRA will advocate for each of the 18 policy recommendations listed in the Substance Use and Recovery Services Advisory Committee (SURSAC) plan. Please see the link here for more information on these policy recommendations.

The WRA will advocate for funding recovery support services through opioid settlement funds.

We’re always looking at what comes next, but we know it’s important to celebrate our accomplishments, too. We are proud of our advocates for helping drive these policy advocacy wins:

2016: Lead architect of and advocacy org behind Ricky’s Law to create a crisis treatment system for youth and adults with life-threatening addiction, one of the largest single investments in addiction treatment in state history.

2017: Successfully advocated for $26 million in state funding to extend inpatient substance use disorder treatment stays beyond 15 days for clients receiving Medicaid.

2018: Helped pass HB 1524, to allow Criminal Justice Treatment Account funds to be used to fund recovery support services, including housing.

2019: Lead architects of and advocacy org behind two major pieces of legislation, HB 1528 and HB 1907. HB 1528 massively expands the quality and quantity of recovery housing in WA. This is critical for people discharging from treatment and correctional settings, who are frequently released to homelessness. The WRA also secured $1 million of operating budget funds for recovery housing vouchers and $1 million in capital budget funds for recovery housing facility improvements. HB 1907 tears down two major barriers to people in recovery entering the behavioral health workforce as certified peer counselors–(1) it removes employment prohibitions for crimes common among people with a history of addiction and (2) it disallows mandatory enrollment in a punitive and discriminatory addiction monitoring program for people who are already in long-term recovery.

2020: Lead architects and advocacy org behind HB 2642. The WRA took on the insurance lobby and was able to secure unanimous passage of this legislation to allow same day access to detox and inpatient addiction treatment. The bill prohibits both commercial and Medicaid health carriers from requiring burdensome pre-authorization requirements for inpatient care, which delay treatment by weeks or months. The bill recognizes that if we fail to provide people treatment when they’re ready for help, we may never have a second chance and that when we do provide people with access to quality care in their window of willingness, people recover.

2021: The WRA helped pass SB 5195 which makes strides to address the epidemic of opioid overdoses here in Washington by increasing immediate access to naloxone, a life-saving overdose reversal drug, to decrease the risk of long-term health effects of overdose and overdose fatalities. Additionally, the WRA re-imagined a behavioral health system that better responds to crisis and were successful when HB 1477 passed; it was the response system using 988 as a mechanism for mobile crisis responders. It includes funding crisis response adequately through a telecom fee similar to how we fund our current 911 services. A response system that centers the needs of people in crisis is a system that will save lives.

2022: The WRA helped pass a Medicaid reimbursement rate increase that allows community behavioral health agencies to retain and recruit more experienced providers by increasing their pay. Additionally, the WRA contributed to HB 1905, which reduced homelessness for youth discharging from publicly funded care, and HB 1860, which prevented homelessness for people discharging from inpatient behavioral health settings.