Marking Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month

Studies already have indicated alcohol consumption rose during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among women, mostly attributed to stress. The dangers of disease — liver, heart, cancer — are higher for women, the amount of alcohol that can be consumed in relative safety lower.

Drug use, too, increased while people were encouraged to distance themselves. It’s led to a growing problem with substance abuse nationwide.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have declared September to be Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, not just to celebrate recovery but also raise awareness about resources available to prevent and treat substance use disorders in the state.

“Like other chronic and relapsing diseases, such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease, substance use disorder can be managed successfully,” Whitmer said. “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 continues to be 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 the nation, exacting about $820.5 billion and growing annually 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, more than 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, or 7.3%, needed treatment for illicit substance or alcohol use.

“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,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health.

For more information on getting help with a substance abuse problem, go to MDHHS – BH Recovery & Substance Use at michigan.gov or to Michigan.gov/Opioids.


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