Events

Walk for Recovery to raise awareness of overdoses

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Recovering drug users and the families of overdose victims will raise awareness of drug overdoses at an upcoming event in Milligan Park.

Walk for Recovery, which is set for noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 25, seeks to connect people with substance use disorders to a variety of local resources. The event is being organized by mental health provider InWell, which offers free peer recovery support to Montgomery County residents.

Participants will make a lap around the park to recognize National Recovery Month and speakers will talk about their journey to sobriety. Numerous area agencies will be on hand with information about treatment, twelve-step meetings and other programs.

The event also features live music from Benge Breakers, bounce houses and free T-shirts for the first 75 people. Free Narcan training and distribution will be available, along with Hepatitis C and HIV screening.

“It’s about people who are in recovery, seeking recovery, maybe don’t even know what recovery is,” said Macy Simmons, InWell’s director of recovery support services.

About 88,000 people in the United States died from drug overdoses in the 12 months ending in August 2020, the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and overdose deaths have continued to accelerate as the coronavirus pandemic wages on.

The spike in deaths has largely been driven by the use of strong synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, experts say. Relapse rates are higher due to isolation and other pandemic-related impacts.

“I’m encouraged by our state and our community about how we’ve come together to combat this crisis on top of a crisis,” Simmons said, adding there is still more work to be done.

When the pandemic hit, InWell partnered with the Indiana Recovery Network’s Regional Recovery Hubs Project, which provided additional funding for community events and peer coaching.

InWell employs eight recovery coaches and two therapists to meet with clients and recently hired a prescriber for medication-assisted treatment such as suboxone. Clients are frequently referred by the Community Paramedicine Program’s Quick Response Team and probation officers.

The agency is seeking to provide free Narcan distribution and training to local businesses and wants to become more involved with youth.

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