September is Recovery Month which comes on the heels of International Overdose Awareness Day, which was on August 31st.
Recovery Month was founded 30 years ago in the U.S. by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The goal is to raise awareness, challenge social stigma and celebrate the gains made by people who are recovering from addiction.
Reducing the stigma of drug addiction is key to the road of recovery as feelings of shame can prevent people from getting the help they need. Unfortunately, we have a provincial government that feeds the social stigma of drug addiction and actively puts up obstacles for people trying to get on the road to recovery.
The Ford government has shelved the opening of several new overdose prevention sites and funding to several existing ones. Although Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health has said this will result in more overdose deaths, Premier Ford was more concerned about some residents who were upset with the idea of these sites being in their neighbourhoods.
OPSEU represents thousands of mental health and addictions workers across the province who don’t shy away from the challenge of helping people recover from drug addiction. We are proud to represent these dedicated professionals, along with the frontline workers and first responders play an invaluable role in saving lives. Our union will never stop working for a province where people struggling with addiction can seek help without judgement or shame.
This September, let us remember that recovering from drug addiction is no small feat. May we all celebrate the people who have recovered from drug addiction and support those who are still on their recovery journey.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, First Vice-President/Treasurer