September is National Recovery Awareness Month, which is about increasing awareness of substance abuse disorders and celebrating those in recovery.
Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist Colby Lane said being vocal about his own recovery is about showing addicts there is a way out. Lane said addiction can happen to anyone and should be seen like all diseases.
“It’s important for people to speak out on it so that others know that the negatives that come with substance use disorder or addiction,” Lane said. “Are just a part of the disease and not so much character flaws of the person.”
Lane said he believes those negative consequences of addiction lead to a lack of empathy for people suffering from substance use disorder. Lane said his work in overdose prevention is about keeping people alive long enough to know help is out there.
“We go around and we distribute nalaxone, you know not everybody’s ready to quit,” Lane said. “But I want people to be able to stay alive long enough to know that they can recover.”
Lane said a big challenge in getting people to be proud about recovery because of the history of anonymity in 12 step programs. As well as the belief that being vocal about substance use could cost people their career.
“I’m gonna break my anonymity everyday to let people know that recovery is real,” Lane said. “There’s tons of people out there with substance use disorder and alcoholism.”
There are resources available through the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. As well as the Life Line Peer Project through the state.
“There are people and places through out the state in every region that have lived experience,” Lane said. “That can help people get into detox or treatment facilities, they can help them with housing, point them in the direction of self help meetings.”
Also, Lane said those affected should also reach out to anti-drug coalition at the county level. If someone is looking for the opioid reversal medication, nalaxone, they can search online for regional overdose prevention specialists.