September is National Recovery Month! In 1990, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) established Recovery Month in an effort to educate the public and to let people know that:
1. Prevention works.
2. Treatment is effective.
3. People can fully recover.
In many public arenas, such as law enforcement and criminal justice, addiction is treated as a crime instead of as the disorder or disease that it is. It is important to remember that although addicts’ behavior is often illegal and criminally prosecuted, the disorder itself should not be. It can be classified as an illness, just like diabetes or heart disease. In order to eliminate the criminal behaviors that can accompany addiction, the disorder must be treated as such. Many jurisdictions fail to provide intervention, treatment, or recovery programs of any kind. Just as diabetes can not be cured by incarceration, neither can addiction.
According to the website established for the annual event: “Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.” For more information, and to find out if there are any events taking place in your area, visit the website this week!