Substance use disorder happens everywhere in every community and the impact is devastating for so many families. But there are also stories of recovery made possible through the dedication of families, professionals and organizations dedicated to helping individuals regain their health and wellness.  

September marks National Recovery Month. Honoring the hard-fought battles to survive addiction, Recovery Month celebrates the fact that people do recover. Recovery Month began in 1989, founded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The observance recognizes and supports evidence-based treatment, the recovery community and the service providers who help to make recovery happen. It takes all of us, being proactive in our communities to ensure that all people have access to treatment when they are ready to work toward their recovery.

Recovery is never a straight line. The process is arduous at best. It is hard, both physically and mentally. And it challenges everyone to step up their game. It is not just about the addict. Moms, brothers, children, friends… everyone has a role to play in supporting their loved one in their battle to survive addiction. It does not happen overnight and may well take a long winding road to achieve. But we must not be deterred.

With fentanyl flooding the illicit drug market and now being produced in rainbow colors to entice younger users (see the Drug Enforcement Agency Alert) we must be ever-vigilant in understanding what symptoms of overdose look like.

Communities can work toward making sure Narcan is available to all. Know where to get Narcan and how to use it, and what follow-up treatment is needed after it is deployed. If you think for one minute that fentanyl isn’t in your community, please call your local police department and ask the question. We must stand up and find ways to provide safety for the people of our nation. If you only do one thing during Recovery Month, find the Narcan kits in your community, have a meeting about it at work, or host a gathering with family and friends to share information and kits.

National Recovery Day is September 22. Wear purple, the official color of National Recovery Day. Stand up and stand out! Celebrate those who have made it through and work hard to help others know that there is hope. That a future can be bright. Help families reach out without stigma. Together we can help change the face of addiction. Together is the only way we can.

If you or someone you care about need help finding support and treatment visit the SAMHSA website.