By Ben Mackin, The State Journal
FRANKFORT, Ky – The weather was picture perfect outside the Old Capitol Friday, September 16, as a crowd of about 70 came out to celebrate and learn about recovery from substance use disorder.
Van Ingram, executive director of Kentucky Drug Control Policy and master of ceremonies for the event, noted how important it is to celebrate the successes of people in recovery from substance use disorder.
“A couple of weeks ago we had a story to tell, it was international overdose day and we had to tell the story about how overdoses are devastating our country and devastating our state,” he began. “But today’s story is equally as important. That is that we have thousands of people in recovery in Kentucky.”
Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman was on hand to make comments and present a proclamation from Gov. Andy Beshear honoring the month of September as Recovery Month in Kentucky.
Coleman spoke of a bright future and economic forecast for the commonwealth and the desire to make sure everyone would be able to take part.
“We want to make sure that opportunity is available to every Kentuckian,” Coleman said. “That is why we are here today to celebrate Recovery Month in Kentucky because our goal is to make sure that everyone who has ever struggled with something we have all seen, like drug abuse, gets to the other side and can celebrate recovery along with us.”
After remarks from public officials, four people in recovery told their stories about how people suffering from addiction can come from various backgrounds.
In addition to the speakers, more than a dozen vendors set up booths handing out information on drug recovery resources, offering HIV and Hepatitis C testing, COVID-19 shots and boosters.
One booth even gave out doses of NARCAN nasal spray to the attendees and trained them on how to administer the drug to someone who might be suffering from an opioid overdose.
Ingram, who spoke with The State Journal, said that this was the first time this event had been held since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is great to be back celebrating recovery with folks, many who have struggled for many years and many have been in recovery for many years,” he said. “We need to recognize that. Sometimes we only talk about the overdose numbers. We need to talk about the success stories too.”