September marks the Pennsylvania national recovery month held by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to support those struggling or in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. We live in a society where millions of people are dependent on drugs and because of the negative perceptions and stigmatization from the general public commonly associated with substance abuse (which is a major cause of discrimination and exclusion) has caused only a very small percentage of addicts to seek and receive the specialized treatment they need.
According to a published study of Pennsylvania Medicaid records, 60 percent of patients who overdose on prescription opioids do not get the relevant opioid addiction medication and treatment they need, instead what they get is more prescriptions for opiates. Substance abuse is widespread, and you might think that perhaps most addicts who are delivered to death’s door due to a drug overdose may scare them into giving up drugs all together, but this is not the case owing to the fact that opioids are dispensed to up to 91% of patients who have a 3-times higher risk of opioid overdose.
Generally, people who have Medicaid in Pennsylvania have access to immediate help, and are now eligible for treatment services, including psychotherapy, counseling, and a drug abuse treatment programs that provide valuable help and extends into the criminal justice system, particularly the millions who are struggling with substance abuse of any kind, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The main aim of The Pennsylvania National Recovery Month is to see individuals’ successfully complete treatment and live in recovery. This year’s theme is ‘Join the Voices for Recovery,’ which in essence recognizes the active role that family members and the community play in an addicts recovery journey. There will be various recovery events and programs that will be held throughout the month of September with the sole purpose of:
- To speak out against the devastating impact of substance use disorder
- Raising awareness of substance abuse, prevention, treatment, and recovery support services
- To educate and advocate against stigmatization and discrimination against those struggling with drug addiction
- And to celebrate thousands of those in long-term sobriety
Without the proper support, recovery can often seem impossible. The state of Pennsylvania is determined to prove that recovery from substance abuse is not only possible with a continuum of care and in the right kind of setting, but it is expected. PA also hopes to address the surrounding stigma and the lack of training by various providers despite the prevalence of substance use disorders – both aspects that make it challenging for addicts to seek help for their related addictions.
There are also numerous grief support groups in Pennsylvania for families who have experienced the devastating effect of drug dependency first hand and have lost a loved one through various substance use and overdoses. Hopefully, this can dramatically decrease the number of drug users in PA.