Recovery Community Organizations on the Rise: Meet RAD!

Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs) like Minnesota Recovery Connection are independent, non-profit organizations led and governed by representatives of local communities of recovery. RCOs honor all pathways to recovery and are not treatment providers. Rather, we exist to fill gaps in and around treatment, which is typically a short-term, clinical intervention. RCO’s offer the “primary care” essential to managing and preventing the chronic disease of substance use disorder.  We do this through peer-to-peer support services, public education and advocacy.

The number of RCOs in Minnesota is growing! On August 1, Recovery Alliance Duluth (RAD) was recognized as an RCO by the Association of Recovery Community Organizations, becoming the 7th RCO in Minnesota. We caught up with RAD’s Executive Director, Beth Elstad, and asked her to tell us more about the organization. You can also find out more about RAD in this great feature in the Duluth Tribune. 

Recovery Alliance Duluth is RAD!

By Beth Elstad

Recovery Alliance Duluth was formed when a small group of community members came together, joining their collective experience and knowledge, to address the need for peer-based recovery support throughout the continuum of care for individuals and families experiencing substance use disorder. For years, our community has heard the resounding need for peer-based recovery support services.

Peer recovery support services are appealing because they are adaptable and available at various stages of the recovery process. The services are provided by a peer having a shared experience and may precede, accompany, or follow treatment. Anyone can benefit from peer recovery support services, including individuals facing barriers or those who may not wish to participate in treatment.

Recovery Alliance Duluth (RAD) Executive Director, Beth Elstad.

In 2017, the MN legislature passed a Substance Use Disorder Reform plan making peer support reimbursable to both provide a needed service and to help address the need for the additional workforce. The passage of this legislation brought greater community awareness of the need to provide education, training, and peer-based recovery support services. To that end, Recovery Alliance Duluth was created, rooted in the authentic desire to inspire hope, create connection and support individuals through peer to peer interaction.

We are excited to announce that Recovery Alliance Duluth (RAD) is here and has opened our office in downtown Duluth, located in the Wells Fargo Building, across the skywalk from the new Duluth Transit Center.  We are easily accessible and available! The development of RAD is made possible through support from The Victory Fund, a private foundation established in 2012 to help communities in Northeastern Minnesota identify, address and resolve chronic health issues. 

RAD is built to help individuals seeking recovery, family members that need support, and the community-at-large reduce the shame and stigma around substance use disorder. We accomplish this through peer-to-peer recovery support, community education, and advocacy.

RAD is excited to be networking with Minnesota Recovery Connection to develop our programming and training opportunities and our local community organizations to develop opportunities for peer recovery support, education and awareness and training.  Some of our current collaborations include working with:

  • MN Workforce Development- to provide training and recovery support opportunities for individuals who have lost their job due to their Opioid Use Disorder.
  • Life House (an organization working with homeless and street engaged youth)- to develop a virtual recovery outreach program.
  • The Sixth Judicial District DWI Court-to provide peer recovery support.
  • The University of MN Duluth School of Pharmacy-to develop and deliver a needs assessment across the northeast region.
  • The City of Duluth-to create a city wide recovery campaign, and to implement the opportunity for recovery support in our regional emergency departments.  

In observance of National Recovery Month, Recovery Alliance Duluth will host our Annual Walk for Recovery at Leif Erikson Park located in Duluth, Minnesota, from 2-5 p.m.  Speakers will include Kris Kelly, Colin Cash, and October Allen. We are excited to gather to create awareness, inspire hope and celebrate recovery. For more information about Recovery Alliance Duluth, please visit us at

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