Local organization celebrates National Recovery Month
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- If you or someone you know may have had issues with substance abuse in the past or even right now, don't feel like you are alone. A local group took over IX Art Park on Thursday to celebrate National Recovery Month.
"As a person in recovery myself, I just find it so useful to have resources, all of us come together," said Cat Tressler, a peer recovery specialist with On Our Own.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, drug overdose rates have increased across the country, in part due to the stress and isolation of people living with substance use disorders.
"Everybody would have somebody in their life who has been impacted by substance use," said Rebecca Kendall, the director of the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States sees more than 100,000 overdose deaths a year.
"Substance use really affects all of us," said Kendall.
Virginia alone saw a 42 percent increase between 2019 and 2020, with an average of four people dying from overdose daily, according to Region 10.
Leaders say opioids and other drugs aren't the only problems as alcohol consumption has also increased.
On Thursday night, the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition hosted a fair and documentary film screening at IX Art Park to celebrate September as National Recovery Month.
"National Recovery Month is a time to celebrate the millions of Americans who make changes in their lives to help address the harmful effects of substance use in their lives," said Kendall.
Organizations and outlets that provide free resources and peer support were on hand.
"So, we are basically taking care of each other," said Nina Burke with On Our Own.
"It’s just about using your own story to help others who are going through it at the time," said Tressler.
To help those struggling, several local organizations offered free resources like Narcan and help with recovery.