September marks the arrival of National Recovery Month, an ongoing event that celebrates the addiction recovery process and all who have found the courage to seek help for their drug and alcohol dependency. Established and sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Recovery Month is meant to increase education, understanding and awareness of addiction and its possible impact on communities, families and individuals.
This year’s theme is Join the Voices: Strengthen Families and Communities. It was chosen in order to highlight the value of family and community support throughout recovery and invites individuals in recovery and their family members to share their personal stories and successes in order to encourage others.
Food for Thought
According to the CDC, drug overdose is the leading cause of death in the United States
In January 2016, one in five people experiencing homelessness had a serious mental illness
Approximately half of all American inmates meet the criteria for addiction under the DSM IV
In 2016, a record 52,404 Americans died from drug overdose. (National Center for Health Statistics)
Approximately 60% of individuals arrested for most types of crimes test positive for illegal drugs at arrest.
More than half of all dual-diagnosis sufferers are men. (SAMHSA)
Over One Million Americans over the age of 65 currently suffer with a substance use disorder. (SAMHSA)
Opioid overdose deaths have risen over 700 percent over the past 15 years (CDC).
One in seven Americans are now expected to develop SUD with only 10 percent likely to get treatment. (Surgeon General’s Office)
Over 7 Million Americans are Currently Battling a Drug Use Disorder (SAMHSA)
About one out of every eight people who suffer from drug use disorder also struggle with alcohol use disorder. (SAMHSA)
Almost 80 percent of individuals suffering from a substance use disorder in 2014 struggled with an alcohol use disorder. (SAMHSA)
Needed Now More than Ever
In addition to the staggering rates of overdose that are claiming more and more Americans each year, addiction and substance abuse have considerably eroded family and community-life all over the United States, from the inner cities to the rural heartland. The rise of drugs like fentanyl and other synthetic opioids combined with lingering threats of meth, cocaine and an increasingly permissive attitude toward marijuana have made education, treatment and prevention more important than ever. Addiction is the nation’s primary public health issue and will be successfully combatted only through a thorough understanding of its complex origins and sustaining factors. All are encouraged to join the fight in whatever capacity they can.
What Can I Do?
SAMHSA has provided an electronic toolkit available for download on their site along with marketing material like banners, fliers and posters. Those who wish to take a more active role in National Recovery Month can organize a recovery within their community and post the location, date and time to the national database. Outside of the parameters and resources offered by SAMHSA, participants are also urged to take to social media and public spaces in their communities to spread the word of recovery. Whether you’ve suffered from addiction yourself, have lost someone to drugs or alcohol or just want to lend a hand, your voice matters, and is very much appreciated.