Guest Editorial: September is National Recovery Month

Guest Editorial: September is National Recovery Month

The month of September is National Recovery Month. The month provides a platform for services and professionals to educate the public about substance misuse treatments and mental health services. 

September provides not only an opportunity to help eliminate the stigma but to demonstrate the human face behind the disease. The stigma, or negative attitudes or discrimination against someone or identifiable groups of people has gotten somewhat better, but is still very much an issue for people with substance use disorders and mental health disorders. 

This is one of the reasons some people are afraid to seek treatment. The stereotypes, negative language, character defects and discrimination can make it almost impossible for someone in a delicate state to even admit they may be having disorders which need treatment.   

National recovery month was established in 1989 but was first called “Treatment Works,” which was mostly to honor the hard work of treatment professionals. It was then thought that the main focus should go toward the professionals and what they can offer. 

Treatment is incredibly important to stop the increasing number of drug overdoses. Nearly 841,000 people have died of an overdose since 1999 in the U.S. In 2019, 70,630 overdoses occurred in the U.S. Numbers are at an all time high for the loss to overdose. Overdose has tripled since 1990 with more than 100 people dying every day. There have been no states in the U.S. with decreasing numbers of overdoes in 2018-2019. Most of the drug overdoses are contributed to synthetic opioids, such as Fentanyl, with a staggering percentage of 72.9%.

So, what can we do? The month of September has been designated as a celebration of the steps taken to improve access, information, and treatment. Through seminars, documentaries, public service announcements and awareness walks, communities will bring hope. 

These messages will include access to referrals, phone numbers and tools, and provide the sober support that is needed so desperately. Every year, new resources, data and treatments become available. Improving awareness and access, along with preventative education improves outcomes. 

If everyone works hard to help support those with substance use disorders and mental health disorders we could remove the stigma and help those people gain access to the help they need. 

If you or anyone you know is in need of support, treatment, referrals, information, education, or anything to help with substance use or mental health, please do not hesitate to reach out. Together we can help anyone in need of an opportunity to have a healthy and happy life. 

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