In the recovery community, September is National Recovery Month, a time to celebrate the efforts made by those seeking a sober lifestyle through substance abuse treatment and drug addiction recovery. Recovery Month seeks to recognize all of those involved in the recovery journey, from those seeking treatment to substance abuse counselors, to friends and family members offering recovery support. The goal of recovery awareness month is to erase the shame and stigma often associated with drug addiction and to encourage ongoing connection during the recovery process. Through determination, substance abuse treatment resources, and recovery connections, Recovery Month highlights that recovery is possible and always an option. Substance Abuse in South Florida South Florida’s geography lends itself to numerous entry points for illicit drug activity in the state. Because of this, South Floridians have not only been subject to the prescription opioid crisis of the 2000s, but also to the circulation of cocaine, methamphetamines, and illicit opioids that are not always seen in other parts of the country. Recent Florida overdose deaths indicate that a leading cause of drug overdoses is still due to opioid use, with a significant increase in fentanyl deaths reported. Further, preliminary CDC data for 2019 indicates that drug overdose rates are expected to climb 14% between 2018 and 2019. These widespread substance abuse rates in South Florida demonstrate the need for a strong recovery community. Recovery Month is one way to recognize this community. Faces & Voices of Recovery Celebrates National Recovery Month National Recovery Month was created in1989 and was sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for the next three decades. This year, Recovery Month 2020 will be supported by Faces and Voices of Recovery, an organization dedicated to promoting mental health awareness and recovery from addiction. The theme of Recovery Month 2020 is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Celebrating Connections,” which offers a reminder of the significance of connections during recovery, especially in unexpectedly difficult times. The Faces and Voices of Recovery organization is hosting the new Recovery Month website and online calendar of events, and encourages recovery supporters to add their own events to the Recovery Month schedule. Recovery Month 2020 Events Around South Florida Normally, South Florida’s vibrant recovery community hosts a variety of recovery month events around the tri-county area. Due to COVID-19, both South Florida and national Recovery Month events have transitioned to an online format. Recovery advocates are still able to get involved and are encouraged to show their support virtually or at socially-distanced events. A few National Recovery Month activity ideas include: Wearing the Recovery Awareness Month color in the month of September. The recovery ribbon color is turquoise and recognizes every recovery effort that has helped an individual to recover from addiction. Attending a virtual recovery event. In the wake of COVID-19, there are numerous online recovery events to choose from. For example, The Recovery Village offers free webinars, including our recent recovery panel hosted by our community outreach team that covers how they’re handling recovery during the coronavirus pandemic. Hosting an online recovery meeting. The Recovery Village Baptist Health offers a place for hosting online recovery meetings that can be accessed at any time. Offering to become a connection for those in recovery. Reach out to the recovery community during Recovery Month and offer to become a connection for someone seeking contact during the recovery process. Expressing Recovery Support on Social Media. Simply posting positive recovery messages or sharing educational posts about recovery on your social media accounts can help raise awareness to the recovery movement. You can also use Recovery Month hashtags like #RecoveryMonth2020 and #NRM2020. Staying Connected in Recovery During COVID-19 Correlations between stress and relapse are commonly recorded during the recovery process, while social isolation or loss of connection is another common reason for relapse. Many recovery organizations have been able to offer some level of recovery support virtually so that recovery groups can stay connected during the pandemic. South Florida Recovery Resources The South Florida recovery community is still available and offering support for those in recovery or interested in beginning a recovery journey. Below are a few local organizations for local recovery support: Teletherapy from The Recovery Village at Baptist Health Broward Recovery Month Group South Palm Beach Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in Miami at Miami-Dade Intergroup Southeast Florida Recovery Advocates South Florida Region of Narcotics Anonymous SAMHSA Virtual Recovery Programs Recover Together with The Recovery Village at Baptist Health At our South Florida recovery center, The Recovery Village at Baptist Health, we understand addiction recovery. Our compassionate, experienced staff of addiction medicine and mental health professionals are here to help you start your recovery journey and a life free from addiction. We can create a treatment plan that addresses your unique needs from drug and alcohol detox to inpatient or outpatient substance abuse treatment to ongoing outpatient support for your long-term sobriety and life in recovery. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our substance abuse treatment centers in Palm Beach and Miami have adjusted to the social distance recommendations by offering teletherapy sessions and a virtual space for online recovery meetings and chat rooms. If you or someone you know could benefit from help with behavioral disorders or drug rehab in Miami, Palm Beach or the South Florida community, contact us for more information regarding addiction treatment. SourcesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention. “Drug Overdose Mortality by State.” April 2020. Accessed August 22, 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Vital Statistics Rapid Release – Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts.” 2020. Accessed August 23, 2020. Drug Enforcement Administration. “2019 Drug Enforcement Administration National Drug Threat Assessment.” December 2019. Accessed August 21, 2020. Florida Department of Health. “Statewide Drug Policy Advisory Council 2018 Annual Report.” December 2018. Accessed August 26, 2020. Florida Department of Health. “Statewide Drug Policy Advisory Council 2019 Annual Report.” December 2019. Accessed August 26, 2020. Drug Enforcement Administration. “2019 Drug Enforcement Administration National Drug Threat Assessment.” December 2019. Accessed August 21, 2020.