September is National Recovery Month, which aims to educate the community about recovery from substance use disorder and celebrate friends, family, and community members living in recovery. National Recovery Month also comes immediately after International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31. This annual event provides an opportunity to honor the memories of those who have died due to overdose, increase awareness of life-saving treatment options, and reduce stigma toward individuals who struggle with substance use disorder (SUD). WSHA members across the state participated in International Overdose Awareness Day by sharing campaign materials, educating their communities, and engaging in conversations to reduce stigma related to treatment for substance use disorder.
Klickitat Valley Health held a townhall for their community where they shared information for parents regarding teen drug use and provided an overview of the available SUD services in the area. They also offered a training for community members on how to administer naloxone if they encounter someone experiencing an overdose and provided a naloxone kit to each participant.
Harbor Regional Health utilized a variety of strategies to acknowledge International Overdose Awareness Day. This included placing campaign materials (such as posters and banners) around their campus, providing purple awareness items (such as shirts, masks, and bracelets) and providing materials to hospital visitors (including naloxone kits and pamphlets with instructions for use). They also lit 41 luminaries to remember the 41 lives lost due to overdose in the last year.
Recovery from substance use disorder is possible and sharing stories of recovery is an important part of addressing the stigma present in health care. We hope you will join us in celebrating National Recovery Month by utilizing resources, such as the Recovery Month Toolkit, or attending events through Recovery Month: Every Person. Every Family. Every Community. You can also join the Washington Recovery Alliance on Monday, September 26, for the Voices of Recovery Summit or on Sunday, October 9 for a screening of Tipping the Pain Scale.
WSHA Assistant Director, Behavioral Health