Each September we observe National Recovery Month as a way to celebrate the accomplishments made by those working towards recovery and as a way to promote recovery services and awareness. All around the country, tens of thousands of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and facilities celebrate Recovery Month. This year, with COVID-19 precautions, most of these celebrations have gone virtual, including Salt Lake City’s celebration.
But the Tooele Rural Opioid Healthcare Consortium and community partners have decided to move forward with a socially distanced drive-through event to celebrate recovery, because recovery is just too important to put on the back burner. One reason to host the event is to share gains and success stories as well as stories of loss by those in recovery with neighbors, friends, and colleagues. In sharing these stories, awareness is increased and a greater understanding about the diseases of mental and substance use disorders is attained. Tooele’s drive-through event will have a Remembering Wall and Wall of Hope — where anyone in the community can share names, photo’s and stories of those who have been impacted by addiction to be remembered.
Substance use and mental health disorders have affected people we know and care for in every part of our community. Current state-level data suggests that opioid-related overdoses are on the rise in the Wasatch Front. Some experts have called it a pandemic within a pandemic, suggesting that it’s no coincidence that the rise began to occur just weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic precautions led to more self-isolation. Recovery Month is about connecting as a community to help prevent overdoses and show those still in need that we support their efforts. With COVID-19 restrictions limiting our access to social support, we need to reach out to our neighbors in recovery now more than ever. Recovery is not an easy journey and every effort toward recovery should be celebrated, especially in a time of social isolation.
You can take part by joining the voices for recovery and empowering those people wanting to take the first steps by attending our free recovery day celebration in Tooele County. On Sept. 26, from 7 to 9 p.m., Stansbury Park Clubhouse Drive will be lined with luminaries to celebrate recovery. There will be music, free access to naloxone overdose kits, gun locks for firearm safety, and a gift bag full of community resources. Those who register (or until the food runs out) will receive free food truck dinners sponsored by generous community partners too numerous to list, who recognize the value of celebrating recovery. You may register for this free event at: www.eventbrite.com, and search for “A Light to Remember.”
And if you want to get more involved in community prevention and recovery activities, there are coalitions in Tooele City, Stansbury Park, Grantsville, and Wendover that meet regularly to plan a community-wide response. Hope matters. Recovery Matters. Prevention Matters. For more information for any of these events or groups, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maren Wright Voss, ScD, is a professional practice extension assistant professor of health and wellness at the USU Extension – Tooele County Office, which is located inside the Tooele County Health Department Building, 151 N. Main, Tooele. She can be reached at 435-277-2409 and at email@example.com.