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. Programming starts today with an overdose prevention training at City Hall to commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day. City Hall will be lit purple tonight, the recognized color for drug overdose awareness, to honor those impacted by overdoses.
“Every year, we recognize Recovery Month as a time to start conversations about substance use and provide support for individuals who are struggling or in recovery,” said Mayor Walsh. “Addiction is a serious disease, but we know that with treatment and support, people can recover and get their lives back on track. This month is dedicated to all members of our community who have been impacted by substance use disorders and to the care providers who support people throughout their recovery.”
Central to the month-long programming is the Mayor’s Recovery Month Book Club, a series of events that encourages Bostonians to read books that focus on substance use and addiction, and aims to start difficult conversations about the far-reaching effects of America’s addiction crisis. The initiative is organized by the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services (ORS), the Office of Arts and Culture and the Boston Public Library (BPL), in partnership with RIZE Massachusetts.
The titles selected as the focus of the book club are “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” by Sam Quinones and “If You Love Me: A Mother’s Journey Through Her Daughter’s Opioid Addiction” by Maureen Cavanagh. Book groups will be held at several library branches throughout the month.
“This is an important opportunity for all of us to elevate the conversation of recovery,” said Chief of Health and Human Services, Marty Martinez. “Throughout the month we will further engage all Bostonians with the goal of combating the stigma that impedes the recovery process. We are eager to increase visibility of community activities and resource information that will help communities better understand the ongoing experience of people in recovery. Recovery Month is an opportunity for us to highlight all the work that is being done and recommit to supporting our communities.”
“ORS is excited to co-lead this initiative, which blends art and substance use recovery and engages Bostonians in an innovative way,” said Jen Tracey, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services. “It is our hope that this creative, cross-sector collaboration will help people more readily access information about America’s addiction crisis.”
In an effort to promote greater awareness and education, BPL will provide increased access to ebooks and audiobooks of the titles selected, hard copies at neighborhood branches, and discussion groups. The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) will make overdose prevention and access-to-care resources available at Boston Public Library locations throughout the City.
“Boston Public Library is proud to collaborate on the Mayor’s Recovery Month Book Club Initiative by providing additional copies of the selected titles both online and in print,” said Boston Public Library President David Leonard. “The library should always be a place where people can turn to find a trusted source of good information and connection to resources, particularly on topics like substance use and recovery, whether the concern if for yourself, a loved one, or the community.”
“RIZE is proud to collaborate with the city to shine a light on this insidious disease,” said Julie Burns, RIZE Executive Director. “The lack of understanding of the disease and related stigma are keeping people from getting the help they need and the more we talk openly about it, the more we can reduce the number of deaths and harm caused by it.”
Events during Recovery Month are free and open to all to attend, and include:
Substance Use Recovery Lunch and Learn Series
City Hall, Room 801, Wednesdays in September (5, 12, 19, and 26) from 12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M.
MOAR & Friends’ 28th Annual Recovery Month Celebration
City Hall Plaza (meet and march location) & Faneuil Hall (programming location), Monday, September 17, 2018 at 9:00 A.M.
Mayor’s Recovery Month Book Club – Discussion with Sam Quinones and Maureen Cavanagh
Old South Church, 645 Boylston St, Boston, Wednesday, September 26, 2018 from 6:00 P.M. to 7:30 P.M.
As an individual in recovery for over 20 years, Mayor Walsh understands firsthand how easily addiction can take hold and how difficult it can be to recover. In his first term, Mayor Walsh made expanding access to recovery services in Boston a priority by creating the Office of Recovery Services to study substance use in Boston and lead the city’s strategy around substance use disorders, addiction and recovery. This is the first and only municipal recovery office in the nation.
In addition, Mayor Walsh mandated the life-saving medication naloxone (Narcan) be carried in every public safety vehicle in the city in his first two weeks in office and launched a new 24/7 hotline through 311 to help people struggling with addiction access all levels of recovery services.
Continuing these efforts into his second term, Mayor Walsh announced in his inaugural speech in January that his Administration will rebuild the Long Island Bridge and invest in a comprehensive, long-term recovery facility on Long Island. These new services will offer a continuum of care and equip people with the opportunity to rebuild a life.