Men may have higher rates of addiction than women, but the nation is recognizing September as National Recovery Month for all of those individuals struggling to overcome addiction.
National Recovery Month is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to raise awareness of mental and/or substance use disorders.
In addition, the month celebrates those individuals in long-term recovery, and acknowledges the work of prevention, treatment, and recovery support services.
According to SAMHSA, 21.5 million people among those aged 12 and older were classified as having a substance dependence or abuse in the last year alone.
“On the federal level, I’ve supported and written several pieces of legislation that address the opioid addiction problem in particular,” said Representative Sean Maloney, kicking off the official proclamation of September as “Recovery Month” in Orange County. “I’m proud to say that we have passed something called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.”
The act comes at a crucial time for both the Hudson Valley and the nation as a whole.
In Orange County alone, approximately 100,000 people have been affected by issues regarding mental health and substance abuse.
In fact, in late August, Bernard Hughes, a now ex-Rockland County employee, was accused of selling drugs out of his work truck.
After being suspended for being caught dealing cocaine within county lines and in a county vehicle, Hughes resigned.
“This administration has not, and will not tolerate criminal activity by employees and punishment will be swift and sure for those who engage in criminality,” said County Executive Ed Day.
Hughes’s arrest came as a result of Rockland County Drug Task Force’s year-long investigation into a drug trafficking network.
His court date has recently been moved, but he’s expected to return to the courtroom this month.
Hughes faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of conspiracy charges.
Whether Hughes is suffering from an addiction of his own is not known, but his arrest and trial are just symptoms of a larger issue facing the Hudson Valley.
Especially during National Recovery Month, Hudson Valley residents are reminded and encouraged to implement preventive measures, recognize the signs of a problem, and guide those in need to appropriate treatment and recovery support services.