DC rolls out ‘My Recovery DC’ campaign to fight opioid abuse

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The marketing campaign is supposed to tell locals as to how they will discover therapy and mentors whereas battling opioid, alcohol and different drug addictions.

WASHINGTON — District leaders are rolling out a brand new public schooling marketing campaign to fight opioid, alcohol, and different drug abuse in D.C.

The initiative is named “My Restoration DC.” It is part of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s bigger “Dwell. Lengthy. DC” technique towards battling opioid abuse throughout the District.

Quickly, locals will see indicators on Metro trains and buses selling the trouble. The indicators will direct folks to go to “MyRecoveryDC.org” which exhibits customers the way to discover therapy and restoration companies within the District.

The web site additionally encourages folks to hunt out the usage of Licensed DC Friends. They embrace women and men who’re in restoration from dependancy and may help others navigates therapy and restoration companies in DC.

LINK: My Recovery DC website

“We undoubtedly wish to create consciousness concerning the sources which might be obtainable for people fighting substance use dysfunction,” mentioned Dr. Shauna White, Govt Director of the DC Board of Pharmacy and Program Supervisor of the Pharmaceutical Management Division.

White mentioned a specific level of concern in D.C. is the rise of opioid dependancy.

In keeping with the D.C. Workplace of the Chief Medical Examiner, in 2020, 411 folks died from opioid overdoses. That’s greater than twice the quantity of people that died from opioids in 2018 and double the variety of homicides D.C. skilled in 2020.

“Proper now, we all know we do have some points with substance abuse within the District of Columbia,” White mentioned. “They’ve been heightened through the pandemic.”

She mentioned through the pandemic, many locals both delayed or didn’t obtain the suitable care wanted to fight opioid use.

Nonetheless, White says one other troubling pattern can be at play.

She says extra opioids are being laced with the lethal drug fentanyl which has finally resulted in additional deadly overdoses.

“As an example, in 2015, fentanyl contributed to about 15% of overdose deaths within the District of Columbia and at present it is concerned in about 95% of these overdose deaths,” she mentioned.

D.C. has near 100 licensed friends who’re prepared to assist folks domestically who’re battling dependancy. Certainly one of them is Mark Spence whose restoration story is prominently featured on the My Restoration DC web site.

Spence grew up within the Northwest D.C. neighborhood of Bloomingdale. He attended St. Martin’s grade faculty and Macklin Excessive College. Spence was additionally recognized to others across the space for his participation as an altar boy and member of the college chess membership.

Spence finally received a scholarship to Wheeling Jesuit College in Wheeling, West Virginia.

However, he mentioned, quickly after, issues in his life took a flip for the more severe.

“Went to high school, I received launched to medicine,” he mentioned. “Marijuana, intercourse, rock ’n’ roll, like the whole lot in school, school was my awakening.”

Spence would later flip to cocaine and crack earlier than overdosing in an alleyway in Bloomingdale.

“After a five-day binge, principally $30,000 in debt, [I] needed to kill myself,” he mentioned.

Spence mentioned he turned to his religion and therapy to show his life round. Now, Spence, who has been clear for 33 years, assists others of their dependancy battles.

“My life is stuffed with generosity and repair to others,” he mentioned. “That is the way in which I used to be raised. That is what I had the chance to do.”

Nonetheless, Spence has observed extra persons are asking for help with opioid-related points. He says the issue is prevalent within the D.C. area.

He mentioned he’s particularly involved concerning the impact fentanyl is having on customers.

“We received all types of individuals which might be shedding their life from simply making an attempt what they suppose is heroin, however finally ends up being tapped with fentanyl,” he mentioned.

Whereas the duty could seem daunting, White mentioned she is hopeful My Restoration DC will make a noticeable impression preventing native drug abuse.

She mentioned the tales and assist of licensed friends like Spence will go a good distance towards serving to that trigger.

“We additionally know that sharing tales of dependancy and restoration can lower public stigma and self-stigma,” White mentioned. “And we hope that this may also encourage and alter attitudes of individuals fighting dependancy and make them the sources for restoration.”

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