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September is Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are declaring September as Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, and joining with community networks to celebrate recovery and raise awareness of recovery-oriented systems of care working to prevent and treat substance use disorders in our state.

“Like other chronic and relapsing diseases, such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease, substance use disorder can be managed successfully,” said Governor Whitmer. “This Alcohol and Addiction Recovery Month, we recommit ourselves to providing Michiganders struggling with substance use disorders with multiple points of care — from expanded telehealth services to medication assisted therapies. When Michiganders with mental health or substance abuse disorders seek help, they deserve to be met with the knowledge and compassion that anyone can recover and manage their conditions successfully.”

Substance use disorder is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the individual and those around them. The United States is amid an opioid epidemic, with opioid overdoses killing nearly 48,000 people per year. An opioid can be a prescription drug, or an illicit substance, such as heroin. The use of tobacco, alcohol, prescription opioids and illicit drugs is costly to our nation, exacting approximately $820.5 billion dollars annually, and growing, in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and health care.

In the long-term, substance use disorder may lead to mental and physical effects such as paranoia, psychosis, immune deficiencies and organ damage that will require treatment to resolve. In 2019, over 1.3 million people in Michigan, age 12 and older, had abused an illicit drug in the past month and 615,000 individuals aged 12 and older in Michigan needed treatment for illicit substance or alcohol use – 7.3 % of the population.

“Recognizing Alcohol and Drug Addiction and Recovery Month allows us to celebrate those who have successfully been able to manage their disease and also highlight the need to provide resources, dignity and treatment to those who are affected by a substance use disorder,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “It’s important to educate Michiganders on how recovery is possible, welcomed and celebrated not just in the present but for the rest of their lives.”

A person’s treatment and recovery are built on his or her strengths, talents, coping abilities, resources and inherent values. It addresses the whole person and their community, and is supported by peers, friends, and family members. Support for telehealth services has enabled thousands of Michiganders to engage safely in substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery support services that would have otherwise been inaccessible.

If you or a loved one is seeking care, visit MDHHS – BH Recovery & Substance Use (michigan.gov) or Michigan.gov/Opioids.

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