On September 30, drug addiction recovery in Annapolis, Maryland was celebrated with a Sunday afternoon walk.
The Annapolis Recovery Walk, hosted by Recovery Anne Arundel, took place for the 7th consecutive year. The walk was part of National Recovery Month and capped an end to a campaign led by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Supported by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, Recovery Anne Arundel originated in 2008 as a small group of people that helps connect people struggling with substance use disorders to local drug addiction recovery facilities. Currently, it contains over 40 active members and is supported by over 100 people.
Along with events such as the Annapolis Recovery Walk, Recovery Anne Arundel holds monthly meetings to discuss substance abuse issues in the community. The organization is also affiliated with Facing Addiction, a nonprofit that works nationally to bring awareness to addiction and secure funding for recovery centers.
The Annapolis Recovery Walk was used to bring awareness to the issue of drug abuse and behavioral health. It also was used to illustrate that recovery is possible. The event was open to the public and welcomed people of all ages.
Anne Arundel County has several methods in place to help people struggling with substance abuse. The county employs a drug treatment court that helps people who have been arrested for drug-related crimes. It gives drug offenders a chance to go through a substance abuse treatment program.
The county also has a network of drug addiction treatment providers that collaborates with the Department of Health in offering different options based on what a patient needs. A substance abuse treatment referral line is used to offer outpatient services to those seeking treatment. Opioid overdose response training is also offered by the county along with naloxone kits to members of the community.
There were 214 drug and alcohol related deaths in Anne Arundel County last year, 198 of them opioid-related. That represents a significant rise from 2013 when there were 78 drug and alcohol-related deaths, including 67 opioid-related cases. From January to March, there were 23 heroin-related deaths.
The Annapolis Recovery Walk was a 1.5 mile journey that was estimated to have over 600 people in attendance.
An Anne Arundel County executive started the walk. His administration was responsible for adding drug addiction recovery locations last year inside police stations and firehouses.
The mayor of Annapolis was also in attendance and spoke about drug addiction and its consequences.
Some of the walkers at the event stated that they had participated due to family members having experienced substance use disorders. Other walkers that were participating had been recovered from substance use disorders themselves.
A Recovery Anne Arundel representative highlighted that the organization wanted to bring unaffected people and those who struggle with substance use disorders together as a way to end the stigma of addiction.