The National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA) released the following press release this week and it is our pleasure at FOR-NY to share this wonderful news with you as part of the great work being done in the state of New York in the Recovery Community.

The eleventh Annual Ramstad/Kennedy Award for outstanding leadership recognizes Arlene González-Sánchez, M.S., L.M.S.W, Commissioner, New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services who is being honored for her leadership in recovery support programs across her state and nationally. The award was established in honor of Congressmen Jim Ramstad and Patrick Kennedy. The two Congressmen have been vocal advocates of recovery support services in all forms and championed localized efforts to support prevention, treatment, and recovery.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognizes that long-term recovery is not only possible but is the goal of addiction treatment and support programs. The 2018 honoree has worked to spread this positive message and the message that prevention can be effective in helping to break the cycle of addiction in families.

Commissioner González-Sánchez designed the program to support families dealing with addiction and those whose loved ones are in recovery. She is recognized for her leadership and untiring spirit for the field, the state and most importantly for those whose lives have been touched by substance use disorders. “She has worked to engage state agencies and create change, statewide, that will provide enduring resources for residents and encourage recovery for the future benefit of New York families and communities,” said Sis Wenger, National Association of Children of Addiction (NACoA), a Recovery Month partner.

“Together in partnership with the dedicated organizations who comprise the Recovery Month Planning Partners, recovery success stories have become commonplace in New York, in part because of Arlene’s on-going and exceptional commitment,” Wenger continued.

“The recipient of the Ramstad/Kennedy award embodies the innovation of a leader dedicated to supporting prevention, treatment, and recovery in their community. On behalf of over 200 collaborating organizations in the Recovery Month Planning Partners, we congratulate Darlene on her vision and commitment” said Recovery Month partner Marie Gallo Dyak, President of the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc.

Both Retired Minnesota 3rd district representative Jim Ramstad and Retired Rhode Island 1st district representative Patrick J. Kennedy also championed a mental health and addiction parity law in 2008 requiring easily accessible health insurance coverage for mental illness and addiction treatment. Together the Congressmen have sponsored Recovery Month and other programs to further therapy, treatment and recovery services for these illnesses across the country. The award in their names honors a recipient who has shown utmost commitment to expanding the prospects for recovery of addicted persons and their families.