Walter Ginter, a longtime advocate of recovery support services for individuals receiving medication-assisted treatment, has been honored with the Bob Savage Recovery Advocate of the Year Award from the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR). The stigma that Ginter himself experienced as a methadone maintenance patient prompted him to initiate efforts such as launching a certified methadone advocate training program, as well as locating a peer support group at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
Ginter, who serves as project director of Medication-Assisted Recovery Services (MARS) in the Bronx, received the award at CCAR's annual meeting last month. Connecticut is Ginter's home state.
A Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant established the original MARS community, and in 2012 a training institute was founded to replicate the model across the country. The programs offer individuals receiving medication-assisted treatment some information about their illness and their medication, advocacy for navigating the human-service system, and access to social events, among other services.
CCAR's award is named after the organization's founder, and “honors his courage to speak frequently, energetically and effectively on behalf of people in recovery, their family members, friends and allies,” according to a news release from the organization.
Ginter received an America Honors Recovery—Vernon Johnson Award in 2012 and participated as a panelist last December at the Office of National Drug Control Policy's (ONDCP's) White House conference on drug policy.