Opiate Crisis—Help and Hope in Communities

 

Nova, on PBS, featured a program on addiction pointing out through the study of the science of the brain, addiction is found to be a treatable mental health issue including substance use disorders.  It presented stories of crisis, stories of recovery, and potential medical solutions. The opiate crisis is a fact for all Colorado communities. Congress has taken action in the passage of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act includes policies and resources that support people in recovery from addiction across the lifespan. The bill is over 600 pages long, but pay attention to the titles of some sections. Sec. 7151. Building communities of recovery. This provision reauthorizes and modifies the Building Communities of Recovery program to include peer support networks. This program provides funding for community organizations providing long-term recovery support services related to substance use disorder. During recovery month there were three notable events that were good news about resources available in Colorado and in many states across the country.

Advocates for Recovery—Colorado: This year Denver Colorado was the city that held Faces and Voices of Recovery’s national hub event. It was also the 15th annual Rally hosted by Advocates for Recovery-Colorado (AFR-C). In our present crisis, presentations featured words from those who understand the science of addiction and the value of medically assisted recovery (MAR) to save lives. It brings understanding and focus on Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) and use disorders. A remembrance wall and tree gave recognition to those who died from opiate overdose in the U.S. and Colorado. Visit website advocatesforrecovery.org —drop in at 6981 Federal Blvd, Denver. 

The Phoenix: A gala was held at the Colorado History Museum with hundreds in attendance, The Phoenix offers a free sober active community to individuals who have suffered from a substance use disorder and to those who choose a sober life. They state: “Using a peer support model, we help members heal and together we Rise & Recover & Live. To celebrate the triumphs of those in recovery and inspire the millions still suffering from substance use disorder, we’re sharing our stories to help shatter the stigmas around addiction and sobriety.” Are you ready to join The Phoenix community? Visit the Denver/Boulder facility at 2233 Champa St, Denver, CO 80205 and at 2204 Hagerman St. Colorado Springs, CO, 80904. Visit: thephoenix.org

Face it TOGETHER: FIT held a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration at its new facility at 636 South Broadway in Denver. Denver’s Mayor Hancock attended and spoke. FIT is a nonprofit organization that provides effective, science-based peer coaching for people living with addiction, including loved ones of those with the disease.  Face It TOGETHER is headquartered in Denver and they state: “we believe people impacted by addiction, including their loved ones, deserve the same dignity and respect as anyone else affected by a serious illness. And it’s also why we focus on proven strategies, backed by science, and track our clients’ progress along the way. We do purposeful, mission-driven work as a business in the social sector. We see ourselves as change agents, using innovations in customer experience, technology and data science, to deliver personalized health coaching that transforms the lives of people impacted by addiction.”  Investigate their Workforce Initiative, denver@wefaceittogether.org

We long recognized that recovery Infrastructure must include effective recovery support programs. Critical is the use of recovery coaches, and reinforcing the value of services like peer-to-peer programs, skills training, and supportive housing. As stated above, congress is the prime mover in implementing and adequately funding these recommendations. Besides the organizations mentioned above there is also the Peer Coach Academy offering peer recovery coaching, and a multitude of agencies. Health and Human services provides funding support. Growing increasingly important is the science of medically assisted recovery—MARS. Certainly Young People in Recovery and the Betty Ford Children’s program serve the young and very young, and their families, Young adults are particularly vulnerable due to their still developing brains. The messages of prevention are very important and need special attention before any introduction to drug experimentation and use leading to addiction and even overdose. The informed and active communities have a critical role to play in overcoming the crisis. It may begin with knowing your neighbor.

Merlyn Karst

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