Today kicks off National Recovery Month, a 30-day event sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that was established to educate Americans about substance abuse and addiction while empowering individuals and communities to take get involved in prevention efforts in their locales. National Recovery Month is also meant to celebrate the recovery process and all those who have exhibited the courage and strength to overcome drug and alcohol addiction. It gives members of the recovery community and their loved ones a chance to exchange support and solidarity while promoting honest and productive dialogue regarding treatment, enforcement and prevention policy.
This year’s National Recovery Month theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families” and Communities, a motif that endeavors to strengthen and promote community awareness regarding the dangers and increasingly far reach of substance abuse. Over the past five years, due in large part to the deadly opioid epidemic, drug addiction has become the world’s leading public health issue, claiming over 52,000 Americans in 2015 and even more last year. In such an urgent climate, it’s critical that communities and families educate themselves about what substance abuse looks like and how they can prevent it in their everyday lives.
For those who wish to participate, SAMHSA has provided a downloadable tool kit on their site. Involvement can include anything from hosting your event in your community to spreading the work on social media…there’s no effort too small. We should also remember to carry the spirit of National Recovery Month to the entire year. With Americans succumbing to overdose in record numbers and more and more addiction treats hitting our borders, it’s more important than ever to stay educated and informed regarding what we can do to curb substance abuse where we live and among the people we care about.