Health of the City: Lancaster County Recover Alliance

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health is one of the many partners of Lancaster County Recovery Alliance working to end the stigma of substance use disorder.

Lancaster County Recovery Alliance (LCRA), a grassroots coalition founded in May 2015, is working to end the stigma around addiction to foster a supportive community for people who are striving towards sustainable recovery. To that end, the LCRA partners with many throughout the county, including but not limited to Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health.

LCRA attracts supporters who are passionate about promoting the role that recovery plays in Lancaster County. Treating individuals and families impacted by addiction with the same care and support as those with other illnesses creates communities where everyone can thrive.

“Addiction is so misunderstood, [so] to work alongside people who understand it and respect the individuals and families it impacts—that’s such a relief,” said Scott Theurer, chairperson of the Lancaster County Recovery Alliance. “Recovery is a lifelong, individualized process. A journey, not a destination.”

Despite the hard work involved in recovery, 75 percent of people with substance use disorders do recover, and the team at LCRA has seen firsthand that it’s not only possible, it is probable with adequate treatment and recovery support. That includes a welcoming and caring community who sees this illness as something people can overcome and want to participate in the journey.

“I think it’s important that people understand recovery happens in the community—not just in treatment centers,” Theurer said. “A large portion of a person’s recovery journey will take place in the community over their lifespan.”

He adds: “The attitudes and beliefs the community has about people who use alcohol and drugs and about people who are in the recovery process have a direct impact on someone’s readiness for change. You can’t easily recover in a state of shame.”

That’s why LCRA is encouraging community members to be willing to learn about how supporting addiction recovery fits into a larger public health picture and volunteer on projects that reduce the stigma.

“There are lots of opportunities for education in the community—to learn about this chronic illness, to meet people who are successfully managing the illness, and to see how they positively contribute to improving the overall health and wellbeing of Lancaster County,” he said.

As part of these educational opportunities, the LCRA is currently collaborating on a series of recovery stories with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. You can find the stories in the quarterly issues of LNP’s Balance Magazine.

Want to get involved with LCRA as a volunteer and community member? One opportunity is during National Recovery Month in September. LCRA’s annual celebration of recovery is open to everyone, and attendees can meet people in recovery, volunteer during the event, or even help with planning.

Throughout the year, LCRA also needs volunteers who are in recovery from addiction disorders and willing to share that publicly. Both the community and those in early stages of their own journey need to see people in recovery in all walks of life.

The bottom line for LCRA: Recovery is for everyone.

LCRA invites you to learn more at

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