National Recovery Month events highlight treatment success

September 18, 2017
Organizer Mike Markley holds rally signs being used in an anti-heroin rally and march in Washington in 2016. - Kathie O. Warco/Observer-Reporter Order a Print

While statistics gleaned from the nation’s opioid crisis are bleak, upcoming recovery events are intended to convey that positive outcomes are possible.

“We do this in an attempt to show the community that all this stuff might be going on – drugs and overdoses – but recovery is also going on,” said Nicole Leith, a certified recovery specialist with Washington Drug and Alcohol Commission. “There are people in recovery.”

The commission, which served almost 2,000 residents last year, will host its fifth annual Recovery Walk Saturday as part of National Recovery Month, which runs through September. The purpose of the event, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out,” is to increase awareness and understanding of recovery from substance use disorders, and to promote the message prevention works, treatment is effective and people recover.

While loved ones of those with substance abuse disorders often participate, Leith said the vast majority of walkers are in recovery.

“Each year, we’re getting more people in recovery and more people who are willing to speak out and say ‘I’m in recovery.’ They’re more open about sharing struggles and how they’ve overcome them,” Leith said.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at the LeMoyne Cultural Center, 200 N. Forrest Ave., Washington, where speakers will take the stage before the walk commences at 9:45. Free food and T-shirts will be distributed.

“One of the things we do, while people are registering, we ask if they’re willing to share how long they have been clean. We add up the time and tell them how (many years of) recovery are in the room,” Leith said. “It’s really encouraging to everyone to see we’re all fighting this battle together.”

On Sept. 26, the commission will charter a bus to Harrisburg for Recovery Advocacy Day. Those attending will have the opportunity to meet with legislatures and share recovery experiences.

To register for events, or to get information, call 724-223-1181 or visit

Natalie Reid Miller has been with the Observer-Reporter since 2013. A native of Burgettstown, she primarily covers Washington and surrounding communities. Natalie has a writing degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

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