Importance of substance abuse recovery recognized

·3 min read

Sep. 14—Substance misuse is estimated to cost society $740 billion each year in health-care costs, lost productivity and criminal justice costs, said Central Kansas Community Corrections Director Amy Boxberger. In addition, the impact of substance misuse on family dynamics increases the likelihood of "acute childhood experiences," traumatic events that can negatively impact a child's life.

The Barton County Commission Tuesday morning approved a proclamation marking September as National Recovery Month 2021. This is in observance of the costly and tragic consequences of drug use.

"Rise Up Central Kansas, in an alliance with Central Kansas Partnership, is one of the local resources for recovery and resilience-based services," she said. "Having built a durable network of mental and physical health professionals, social service workers, school officials, law enforcement personnel and persons with lived experience, Rise Up Central Kansas partners offer families the means to build resilience, offsetting the effects of ACEs and reducing the public cost of substance misuse."

Boxberger's agency is a part of the Rise Up alliance.

"I just want to say how important Rise Up and sobriety is for our area," said District 2 Commissioner Barb Esfeld, who recently attended a conference with Rise Up members. "What sobriety really does is put families back together and save lives. What they do is huge."

"I think for a lot of people whose lives are affected by addiction, we see it as a rabbit hole that you never emerge from," District 5 Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said. "So, it really makes me feel good to know that in our communities we have that support that you can regain what you need to become a worthwhile citizen and contribute to the tax base."

The proclamation

Several county residents recovering from substance abuse and served by Rise Up took turns reading the proclamation. It reads:

"The misuse of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription opioids is costly to our nation. Impacts on family dynamics caused by substance misuse may include strained relationships, financial hardships, poor performance at work or in school, exposure to other drugs, reckless behavior, theft or other criminal behavior."

Acute childhood experiences include: Abuse, neglect and household dysfunction, specifically listing physical, emotional and sexual abuse; mental illness; incarceration; and household violence and absent parents. "The possibility of these is increased in homes affected by alcohol, illicit drug and prescription opioids use and misuse," the presenters read.

But, there is hope. The proclamation detailed the possibility of recovery and what it means.

"Recovery is a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness," they read. It is also helping victims live self-directed lives and "strive to reach their full potential by better managing health, home, purpose and community."

Under the proclamation, "families are encouraged to reach out to public or private resources for assistance in dealing with substance misuse prevention, intervention, recovery and resilience. Citizens are urged to meet people with lived experience where they are, being mindful of the work needed to recover from substance misuse, giving grace and opportunities to those persons in our community living in recovery and being present in the lives of our children, building resilience for future generations."

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