More and more states are coming up with inventive ways to support addiction recovery efforts. The latest is recovery license plates. And they may soon be available at a DMV near you.
Recovery License Plates in Virginia
Virginia Delegate Kaye Kory is sponsoring a bill that will allow individuals to support recovery through their license plates. The recovery license plates, which feature a Recovery Matters banner, are designed to raise awareness of the addiction crisis, as well as funding to combat the problem. In fact, proceeds from the recovery license plates sales will go into a fund specially designated to support recovery throughout Virginia.
The initiative is being spearheaded by the SpiritWorks Foundation Center for the Soul, who've joined forces with the McShin Foundation and True Recovery to establish a dedicated funding source for recovery in the Commonwealth.
Spiritworks Foundation primarily provides peer-to-peer programs and services for children, youth, and adults living in recovery from the disease of addiction. They've been helping people sustain recovery since 2005. The McShin Foundation is a Recovery Community Organization that implements peer-to-peer delivered Recovery Support Services. McShin has been in the recovery business since 2004.
Both foundations say they need to pre-sell 450 license plates in order for the statewide initiative to be fully implemented. Interested Virginia residents can order their recovery license plates at this link.
Recovery License Plates in New Jersey
Virginia isn't the first state to seek new addiction treatment funding through recovery license plates. In fact, New Jersey lawmakers introduced a similar bill back in 2018. And it's a mere funding vote away from implementation.
The bipartisan legislation is being sponsored by New Jersey District 30 lawmakers Senator Robert Singer and Assemblyman Sean Kean. Entitled the “P.I.C.K. Awareness Act,” the bill seeks to authorize the issuance of “Support Recovery” license plates throughout the state. And it was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee back in March 2018.
The name of the bill springs from Parents in Connection for Kids Inc. (P.I.C.K.) Awareness. And it's being backed by the New Jersey franchised automotive retailers (NJ Car). The NJ lawmakers introduced the legislation after the New Jersey nonprofit expressed the need to provide awareness and resources to parents of children with substance abuse. P.I.C.K. Awareness founder Donna DeStephano created the nonprofit after coping with her daughter’s substance use disorder.
"I’m thrilled that ‘N.J. Support Recovery License Plates’ have bipartisan support in both the Assembly and the Senate," DeStephano said. "It shows that New Jersey is on the forefront of this epidemic, mission-oriented on addiction issues and that they welcome new strategies, solutions, and results."
"This bill will bring a sorely needed sustainable funding model that will reduce homelessness as a barrier to recovery," she added. "It will provide sober living to indigent clients in an emergent or crisis situation suffering from substance use disorders and help this population with its recovery efforts. These Recovery License Plates will also raise awareness and reduce the ongoing stigma associated with this disease."
Recovery License Plates for the Nation
Nationwide, specialty plates have brought millions in revenue for causes such as cancer research, organ donation, veterans’ programs, and other charitable causes. In Arizona alone, more than $66 million has been raised by the state’s specialty plate program. So it stands to good reason that similar strides can be made by adding recovery license plates to each state's specialty plate program. Add that widespread awareness that will come from recovery license plates, as well as the inherent pride shown by those who sport the specialty plates, and you've got a win-win for everyone.
Recovery Boot Camp applauds the efforts in Virginia and New Jersey. And we commend those drivers who've stepped up in support of recovery. Furthermore, we hope to soon be applauding and commending similar efforts around the entire country.