We envision a future in which all citizens suffering from addiction are embraced with dignity and compassion, and have immediate access to treatment and recovery resources. Our community is one of the healthiest in America because addiction is broadly understood and accepted to be a chronic health care condition that is treatable.

Who participates at SAARA-CVA?

Many of us are people in recovery from all walks of life, their families, friends, and loved ones. We also have many professionals from the substance use treatment field, as well as many others! For more information contact Laura Minnick at


Laura Minnick

Vice President

Susan Tellier


Jim May



Mission Statement

The Substance Abuse & Addiction Recovery Alliance of Central Virginia (SAARA-CVA) builds healthier communities through advocacy, education, and the celebration of recovery.

Living the Mission by: 

1. Educating the public about the nature of addiction as a serious public health crisis, including the powerful, underlying biology of addiction and its cost plus the undeniable benefits of prevention, intervention, and treatment

2. Removing barriers to effective prevention, intervention, and treatment for those with Substance Use Disorders

3. Ending discrimination against those in or seeking recovery.

4. Promoting cooperation and collaboration among the diverse elements of the community in support of recovery

5. Formulating specific strategies and advocating in all available forums to advance our mission.

6. Sponsoring and coordinating community activities that promote healthy lifestyle choices and foster drug and alcohol-free environments.

For more information or to connect with SAARA of Central Virginia, email      

Advocacy Pillars

At SAARA-CVA, we advocate for the well-being and care of those in recovery from substance use disorders (SUD) and seek to foster environments where those in recovery can flourish. To this end, we emphasize several areas in our advocating:


Together, the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, and the Affordable Care Act have improved insurance access and coverage for SUDs and mental health disorders. We advocate for community education on parity, developing partnerships with payers, and promoting parity within insurance companies.


Access to Care:

People with SUDs face many barriers to care including stigma, financial & institutional barriers, lack of access to primary care, and lack of social and family support. We advocate for:

* Improved & increased medical training—notably medication-assisted treatment (MAT);

* Medicaid expansion,

* Decreased MAT regulation;

* MAT accessibility in the jail system

* Wrap-around supports;

* Better access to free clinics.


Stigma Reduction:

Stigma keeps many people with SUDs from seeking help, but also inhibits providers in being able to give the best possible care. We seek to improve education about SUDs—what they are, whom they affect, how they can be treated, and how to prevent relapse to reduce patient and provider stigma.


Education and Prevention:

A better understanding of what SUDs are helps not only those in recovery but helps prevent those at risk of SUDs in the future. SAARA-CVA advocates for all youth aged 12 and older to receive education on the basics of SUDs and what behaviors—physical, mental, and emotional—are commonly is seen in them.


Housing Access:

For many people in recovery, finding housing is a major hurdle. Access to housing which is recovery supportive and available to those in recovery—particularly women with children and convicted felons—greatly improves a person’s chances at sustained recovery. We seek to improve access to recovery supportive housing for men and women in recovery.​