For the past 27 years, America has been using September to celebrate ‘National Recovery Month’. This is a time when members in communities all across our nation come together for extra efforts in spreading awareness about substance abuse recovery and prevention.
Currently, about 23 million people in active recovery from addiction.
According to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration) director Dr. Kimberly Johnson, this year’s ‘Recovery Month’ has had great success. There have been over 1,500 awareness events who have been attended by upwards of 530,000 citizens.
It’s important that people realize September isn’t the only time we should spend out energy and focus trying to combat this drug crisis, every day matters.
Creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has discussed with the recovery community of Dayton, Ohio. They have focused on removing deceitful recovery ads on Google who support ‘patient brokering’.
The startling truth is that there are about 21 million people in our country who are dealing with addiction problems, and only 10% of them are receiving help for it.
As a result from this drug epidemic, there are more than 140 people who die per day from drug overdoses.
“According to national leaders, startup founders and recovery advocates, the following are identified as priorities across both the public and private sectors to spur another year of action within the recovery movement:”
1. Utilizing Social Media and the Power of Technology
Using Social Media to spread awareness about recovery is a HUGE tool we have been blessed with at this time. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are a global stage for sending any message you want. Recovery activist Ryan Hampton has done just this. He is able to influence and inspire recovering individuals across the nation and the world each day through their journeys. “We need to take lawmakers to task. We’re not invisible, we vote, we pay taxes, and we deserve to be heard,” Hampton says.
He has also used his influence to call on our President as he works on official declaring this a national emergency on drugs.
2. Ensure Our Government Is Properly Funding This Cause
In 2016, the ‘CARA’ (Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act) act has been passed, which supports the funding for addiction and recovery services. However, the funding has yet to be seen from organizations in need. Patty McCarthy Metcalf is the executive director of ‘Faces & Voices of Recovery’ an organization that focuses on all aspects of addiction, from prevention, to treatment, to recovery services, and beyond. Her organization has been encouraging lawmakers to allow funding for this cause, especially after the Mental Health Parity & Addiction Equity Act was established in 2008. This act was set in place to make sure all addicts in need will receive the treatment they need regardless of their insurance or financial status.
3. Constant Evolution In The Treatment Services Industry
While funding is also a major component to helping our nation’s recovery facilities, that’s not the only factor that will deem them successful. It is also vital that these centers are constantly evolving their methods in treating recovering addicts. New services such as MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) have been developing to help improve the recovery process. Further research will lead to even more effective treatment methods in the future. The executive director of the National Outreach and Business Development, Bob Poznanovich says “We believe partnership is key. We need to get patients in the door at the right place for the right service at the right time in a way that’s individualized. We need to keep things simple, engaging and attractive so people can access the treatment they need.”
4. Private Treatment Centers Teaming Together With Public Organizations
A strong point has been brought to our attention by the CEO of WEconnect, Daniela Luzi Tudor. She feels that in order for the recovery treatment services to truly evolve, private treatment centers with innovating ideas must collaborate with larger public organizations who have the technology and funding to set those practices into motion. “It’s evident that most organizations, whether public or private, experience similar challenges and have similar goals,” she said. “We both want to make an impact, yet the way we operate is drastically different. The public sector has tremendous reach, whereas as the private sector has the most innovative and effective evidence-based technology solutions.”
5. Make Corporate Companies Become Involved With The Recovery Movement
As treatment centers across America struggle to keep up with the growing number of addicts in need, there is a need for larger corporate companies to focus on what they can do to help the situation. It is essentially an ‘untapped market’ of more than 23 million people.
“I’m in recovery – but I’m also a consumer,” Hampton shares. “I see the comments, shares and pictures on social media – and some posts reach more than 200,000 people. We need major brands to dip their toe into the recovery movement because we’re an untapped market.”
Aside from that, addiction is the cause of about 70% of yearly productivity loss in corporate companies. This adds up to $500 billion.
Lisa McLaughlin is the co-CEO of Workit Health, she said “Substance wellness isn’t something that’s talked about in the workplace. For people who are struggling with addiction or in recovery, like me and Robin [Workit Health Co-CEO], most workplaces are filled with triggers and stressors that push people over the edge, and topics like addiction are shoved under the rug.”
6. ‘Philanthropic Partnership’
Large companies currently use extra funds to support things like heart disease and cancer, however they are often hesitant in associating themselves with addiction recovery.
“Many corporations will say they don’t know if it’s right for their brand to associate with addiction recovery in a big way. And that’s just stigma rearing its head again, because the recovery movement is simply about saving lives,” said Jim Hood, CEO of Facing Addiction.
7. Battle Against Stigma
In order for the recovery movement to take full effect, the elimination of Stigma is crucial. “If we’re really going to turn the tide against addiction, we have to overcome the stigma,” shares Hood.
Facing Addiction has partnered with AD Council and Viacom to develop a campaign.
“We need to continue communicating that addiction happens to people just like you and your loved ones. We need to prevent it or treat it and make sure people are able to get better – there’s no room along the way for shame, stigma or discrimination,” he said.
This year’s recovery month was a large success. There are many organizations across the nation who have taken time to develop action plans to continue fighting this epidemic.