Tom Coderre’s Time with SAMHSA


This week, it was an honor for us to sit down with Tom Coderre, where we discussed his time as the recent Chief of Staff at Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Tom passionately shares his story of recovery with us and gives us a little insight on what the next phase of his journey looks like.

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“We feature stories of recovery, advocacy, and invite anyone who is passionate about making a difference in their community. People are even using this as a resource for those who are struggling and for those who want to learn how to actively get involved”

Key Topics of Discussion:

  1. Can you tell our audience a little background of who you are & how you started to dedicate your time in the addiction recovery community?
  2. In 2017, what role do you think community awareness plays? Advocacy?
  3. Why is it so important?
  4. Last week you finished your term in the Obama Administration, most recently serving as Chief of Staff, how do you feel about your time at SAMHSA and do you know what you’ll be doing next?
  5. How can people get involved?


Tom’s Story:

Well known in the addiction recovery community, Tom Coderre was Chief of Staff to the Rhode Island Senate President prior to joining SAMHSA as a Senior Advisor to the Administrator at the end of August 2014. He served as the Board Chair for Rhode Island Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts (RICARES), and he is the former National Field Director of Faces & Voices of Recovery. Mr. Coderre has an extensive background in government and served in the Rhode Island Senate from 1995-2003. He is a graduate of Rhode Island College where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Some may recognize him from a recent documentary about the recovery movement, The Anonymous People.

Mr. Coderre worked on a variety of issues for SAMHSA and the Administrator, including but not limited to prevention, treatment and recovery programs and policy. He has coordinated collaboration on these issues and representing SAMHSA with other HHS offices and operating divisions, and with the White House. Due to the recent retirement of Dr. Westley Clark, Mr. Coderre will also advise the Acting Director of CSAT during the search and transition of a new director.

Mr. Coderre is the recipient of many awards and honors for his service including the 2007 Path to Recovery Award from A New Path, the 2009 National Advocate of the Year award from RICARES, the 2011 Community Awareness Award from the Foundation for Recovery, the 2012 James H. Ottmar Award from the RI Council on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependence and the 2013 Vernon Johnson Award from Faces & Voices of Recovery. He is a passionate advocate and committed public servant who will no doubt be remembered as a tremendous asset to SAMHSA as they continue the important work of crafting effective public policy to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

Episode Notes:

  • Discussion on SAMHSA – The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
  • Discussion on Tom’s previous role with Faces & Voices of Recovery – As the nation’s leading grassroots recovery advocacy organization, Faces & Voices has become a model for numerous international recovery advocacy movements.
  • Discussion about the Rhode Island Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts (RICARES)

Check out Tom Coderre on ManyFaces1Voice


Tom encourages people to get involved now. In order to make long lasting change, people need to start dedicating their time and resources to the cause’s they most care about.

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