Several local organizations are promoting recovery to those in Scotland County whose lives are shadowed by substance abuse and drug addiction.
“Sometimes we think that people don’t recover from drug and alcohol addictions, but there are so many people out there who have, and we want to celebrate them,” said Agyenim Boateng, director of Generations Health Services in Laurinburg.
On Wednesday, Boateng along with representatives from Total Woman Outreach Ministry, the Laurinburg Police Department, Epidemic Walk, and WEWO 1460 Radio met with Laurinburg Mayor Tommy Parker to proclaim September Recovery Month in Laurinburg. Recovery Month serves to highlight the potential of those with substance abuse and mental health disorders to recover and become productive community members.
“I’ve witnessed remarkable recoveries by people,” Parker said. “I know firsthand that people can return to normal life and that there is productive life and good health after having to go through treatment, counseling, or both.”
Although the problem of substance abuse can seem publicly invisible, eight percent of those surveyed for the county’s most recent Community Health Assessment Report responded that they considered substance abuse to be the most significant behavior risk factor in their families. And Generations Health Services has at least 50 individuals enrolled in its outpatient substance abuse program at any given time.
“I try to go out once a week with a different officer to get a feel for what they go through,” said the Michael Edds, Laurinburg Police Department chaplain and pastor at East Laurinburg Pentecostal Holiness Church. “For the size of our community, it is very serious. Drugs are very pervasive - I’ve been out in the community and I’ve seen drug deals. By the time you call the police, these people take off. Out on my visitations, I’ve run into people for whom, if it’s not drugs, it’s alcohol. Prescription drugs are just a terrible situation; people get hooked on those, they can’t get off and then they go spiraling down.”
Recovery Month aims to reverse that spiral for as many as possible and to disseminate the message that help is available and recovery is attainable.
“We are promoting three things here: prevention, treatment, and recovery,” said Boateng. “What we know is that prevention works, treatment is effective, and that people can and do recover.”
On Thursdays from 9-10 a.m., WEWO Radio hosts a recovery hour to raise awareness of drug abuse and how it affects the community.
“We’re on the air every Thursday to let people know that you can recover; you don’t have to remain in bondage, and, since we’re a faith-based radio station, that God can help you out of anything you’re dealing with,” said Calvin Hasty, a frequent speaker on the show who himself bested drug addiction six years ago.
At 6 p.m. on Sept. 27, a substance abuse forum, themed “Join the Voices for Recovery: It’s Worth It” will be held at the City of Laurinburg municipal building on Church Street. Recovered addicts will share their experiences with substance abuse and treatment. The public is invited to attend.