BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — September is National Recovery Month and centers that treat substance abuse are working to improve recovery efforts.
The executive director at the Birmingham Recovery Center, Ian Henyon, said it’s a very serious issue nationally and here locally.
The Jefferson County Coroner’s office said there are 288 confirmed drug related deaths this year. Three of those happened in just the last 48 hours.
Henyon said this crisis is a big reason why they’re working to make resources more known and available to the public. He added the process to recovery can require patience.
“Families need to understand, most people that have a problem with substances, they’re not excited about getting the help,” said Henyon. “And you can look at it from the outside and say, ‘You really need this,’ but what’s going on is a disorder of the brain which is impairing their decision making and their perception and their thought processes which to some extent leads to the continued use anyway.”
The Birmingham Recovery Center is hosting a free event open to the public at 5:30 pm on September 12.
They will have a variety of groups including sober living organizations and treatment organizations to help guide people to resources and treatment options available to them or a loved one battling substance abuse.
Henyon said the demand for these services is growing and that substance abuse here is as severe as anywhere.
Drug use and overdosing is very serious and gets a lot of attention, but Henyon said most problems they see come from alcohol abuse.
He added the event on September 12 is part of a greater effort in recognizing the need to get the word out there so people know who to go to when they or a loved one needs help.
“Treatment works,” said Henyon. “People do have better lives following treatment. There is reason to be hopeful, and we can be a part of that process.”
Birmingham city leaders like City Councilor Crystal Smitherman are also stepping up to the plate.
She looks to pass a resolution at city council that would provide funding to the Alcohol Drug and Abuse Treatment Center in her district.
This to help them continue their operations and treatment programs because of the high demand for their services.
“I just want to make sure that if people feel like they’re too embarrassed to get help or they feel like they can’t afford it or there aren’t any resources out there that the Drug Alcohol and Abuse Treatment Center is there for them,” said Smitherman.
Councilor Smitherman said 3% of the population statewide suffers from addiction and about 50% of ER visits statewide are from overdoses.
She said this issue is serious and city leaders are prioritizing the improvement of recovery efforts right now.