Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced a series of events marking September as Recovery Month, a national observance that aims to combat the social stigma around addiction, celebrate recovery, and promote overall awareness. The effects of the opioid epidemic can be felt in every neighborhood in our City, across the Commonwealth, and all over the country,” said Mayor Walsh. “Addiction is a serious disease but with support and treatment, we know people can recover and get their lives back on track. This month is dedicated to everyone who has been impacted by substance use disorder, and to the care providers who support people throughout their recovery.”
The City’s Recovery Month programming began this week with a voluntary overdose prevention and naloxone training hosted by the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) for City employees, following an announcement that Boston will have opioid overdose reversal kits in municipal buildings. The kits contain the overdose reversal medication naloxone (Narcan), clear instructions for its use, and other medical supplies to assist individuals who experience an overdose.
The training kicked off a series of events throughout Boston aimed at starting community conversations about the effects of the opioid crisis. It is also a time to shine a spotlight on the treatment and services offered here in the City of Boston that make recovery a reality for individuals and families.
Every day of the year, we are committed to helping people access the care they need for substance use,” said Jennifer Tracey, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services. “Recovery Month gives us an opportunity to honor those in recovery, and the providers, first responders, and community members that support them and provide hope to those still struggling with substance use.”
Recovery Month lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and the message that recovery in all its forms is possible,” said MOAR Executive Director Maryanne Frangules. “Recovery Month spreads the word that addiction recovery is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, people do recover!”
In 2018, 181 Boston residents lost their lives to a drug overdose. Tomorrow, Saturday, August 31, 2019, City Hall will be lit purple, the recognized color for drug overdose awareness, to remember the lives lost and to honor all those impacted by overdoses.
Events during Recovery Month are free and open to all to attend, and include:
• Sept. 9, at 3 p.m.: Overdose Prevention and Naloxone Training at 774 Albany Street. Participants learn about the importance of calling 9-1-1 in the event of an overdose, how to perform rescue breathing and administer nasal Narcan, and treatment options for opioid users.
• Sept. 16, at 9 a.m.: MOAR and Friends 29th Annual Recovery Month Celebration at City Hall Plaza. Recovery advocates, community leaders, and legislators will come together to rally at City Hall Plaza and march to Faneuil Hall.
• Sept. 17, at 6 p.m.: Overdose Prevention and Naloxone Training at 774 Albany Street. Participants learn about the importance of calling 9-1-1 in the event of an overdose, how to perform rescue breathing and administer nasal Narcan, and treatment options for opioid users.
• Sept. 21, at 5 p.m.: Recovery Month Interfaith Service at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. This service will remember and celebrate recovery leaders in our community, and commemorate National Recovery Month.
Walsh, who has been in recovery for more than 20 years, has made expanding access to recovery services in Boston a priority. In his first term, he created the Office of Recovery Services to study substance use in Boston and lead the city’s strategy around substance use disorder, addiction and recovery. This is the first municipal recovery office in the nation.
The City has taken a comprehensive approach to tackle the opioid epidemic. The City serves people in all stages of the continuum of care, from providing harm reduction services to ensure people can maintain health in various aspects of their lives, to connecting people with beds at treatment programs, to offering outpatient care and long-term peer support.
The City of Boston is planning an innovative and holistic recovery campus on Long Island that will expand essential recovery services for the region, fill gaps in the continuum of care and utilize the natural environment to provide a healing space. The City has contracted with Gensler and Ascension Recovery Services to identify the types of services, resources and treatment options that would be best suited for the island and create a master plan for the recovery campus. The draft design for the Long Island bridge was completed earlier this year.
Continuing these efforts, the City of Boston filed a complaint in Suffolk Superior Court against 13 opioid manufacturers, four distributors, and one local doctor that have contributed to the local opioid epidemic through misleading marketing and reckless dissemination of opioids that has led to the deaths of more than 832 Boston residents since 2014. As part of the litigation, the City is seeking to recover both past and future damages and injunctive relief.