Thursday, September 17, 2015



BOSTON – Thursday, September 17, 2015 – The City of Boston today announced a series of events celebrating September as National Recovery Month. National Recovery Month was proclaimed by President Barack Obama and highlights that every day, resilient Americans with substance use disorders summon extraordinary courage and strength and commit to living healthy and productive lives through recovery. 

“Now is a time to reclaim our homes, workplaces and streets - addiction has caused far too much destruction in our community," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "Recovery is about courage, strength and determination. Substance abuse requires a comprehensive approach that includes a strong support system, intervention, and quality treatment. We're focusing on transforming this addiction into something positive, a wellspring of resilience and strength. During this time, I ask that the people of Boston spread encouragement to anyone they might know facing such a challenge."

Understanding the unique needs that those in recovery face, Mayor Walsh announced the launch of the Office of Recovery Services in May. The Office, which is under the oversight of the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), is working to improve existing addiction and recovery services, advocate for treatment options and help those fighting addiction navigate the City’s available resources in order to create a continuum of high quality treatment and recovery services.

A major part of National Recovery Month will be the 10th Annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day (“Take-Back Day”) to be held on Saturday, September 26 from 10AM to 2PM at Boston Medical Center (BMC). Take-Back Day is a national initiative aimed at encouraging the public to dispose of expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs that are prone to abuse and theft. During this time, residents can drop unwanted prescription drugs at sites sponsored by local law enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. At BMC, bins will be placed in the Menino Pavilion valet drop off area, and BMC staff will be on hand to provide assistance and to answer questions. The public may drive up to drop-off without leaving their vehicle or walk-up for disposal.
The event is held in partnership with the DEA, the Boston Police Department (BPD), BPHC, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services. Only pills and other solids, like patches, can be brought to the collection sites—liquids and needles or other sharps will not be accepted. For a list of additional Take-Back Day sites in your area, please click here. Please note, media will not be allowed to attend the event at BMC.

Attorney General Maura Healey is a national partner in the annual Take-Back Day, and has taken a number of legislative and enforcement actions to address this vital public safety and public health crisis from all angles.

“National Recovery Month is an opportunity to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding addiction,” said Attorney General Healey. “As part of that work, we also need to educate young people and their parents about the dangers associated with the storage of unused prescription medications in their homes. Prescription painkillers are very powerful, and many people don’t know the risks of addiction and overdose. Our office encourages people to clean out their medicine cabinets and use safe disposal boxes at nearby designated locations. We are committed to working closely with our partners in this effort to tackle the heroin and prescription drug epidemic in Massachusetts and provide the tools and resources needed to protect families and save lives.”

“The collaboration taking place during Recovery Month between the city, state and health care organizations like BMC is an example of how we can collectively make an impact on the opioid addiction crisis,” said Colleen LaBelle, RN, director of BMC's office based addiction treatment program. “Addiction is a chronic disease that impacts not only individuals but their family and friends, and we will continue to work together to treat and support those impacted by the disease.”

Year round, Boston residents can dispose of unused or expired medication safely, easily, confidentially and for free in a MedReturn Drug Collection Kiosk at 11 Boston Police Department stations. The kiosks are open to all residents, 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- no questions asked. This permanent disposal system is a collaboration between BPHC, BPD and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. For full information, including a map of disposal locations, please click here. 

In September 2014, across the nation Americans turned in over 617,000 pounds of prescription drugs at nearly 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. When those results are combined with what was collected in its eight previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 4.8 million pounds of unused medication. 

Other events during National Recovery Month include:

·         The Gavin Foundation Recovery Month Celebration: Friday, September 18. Doors open at 6:30PM. The event is free and open to both the public and members of the media. The event will honor local activists and elected officials, and will also have Doug Bell and Bellevue Cadillac in concert. Resource tables will have representatives from area recovery groups and organizations. http://www.gavinfoundation.org/news/recovery-month-2015
IBEW Hall, 256 Freeport Street, Dorchester
·         Allston-Brighton 12th Annual Walk for RecoverySaturday, September 19. Registration begins at9:00AM, walk begins at 10:00AM. The walk will start from Artesani/Herter Park in Brighton, and include recovery speakers, a DJ, free t-shirts and an opportunity to meet with elected officials.http://abdrugfree.org/pdf/ABSATF_WalkforRecovery_Flyer_2015_v5.pdf
Artesani/Herter Park, 1175 Soldiers Field Road, Brighton
·         MOAR 25th Annual Recovery Day Celebration: Monday, September 21. The Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR) will host a walk from City Hall to the State House, followed by a day of celebration at the State House. The walk will begin at 9:00AM, State House events will begin at 10AM.http://www.moar-recovery.org/#!recovery-month/cqns
City Hall to the Massachusetts State House

·         Family Recovery Day: Friday, September 25. In honor of Recovery Month, BPHC’s peer-led Safe and Sound Recovery Center is holding a special Family Recovery Day event, promoting the important connections between healthy family relationships and long-term recovery. Come join us for food, games and crafts, as well as special recovery-oriented activities. The event will run  9:00AM to 3:00PM.
774 Albany Street, South End
·         Charlestown 7th Annual Candlelight Vigil: The Vigil, beginning at 6:30PM, will remember those who lost their battle with drugs and alcohol and give hope to those still struggling with addiction. The Vigil will also support individuals and families involved with addiction or recovery so they understand they are part of a larger community, and that they are not alone in their struggle.
Hayes Square, Bunker Hill and Vine streets, Charlestown
·         Devin Recovery Center Cookout & Vigil: The event, beginning at 2:00PM, will celebrate recovery and will include recovery speakers, outdoor games, a raffle and music. https://www.facebook.com/DevineRecoveryCenter
70 Devine Way, South Boston
·         Transformation Center’s 5kFlight: Peer Run/Walk for Mental Wellness: Sunday, September 27. The 5k will begin in Jamaica Plain and promotes exercise as a tool in recovering and sustaining mental wellness. Registration and packet pick-up will being at 9:30AM. Inspirational Speeches will begin at 10:45AM and the race/walk will start at 11:00AM. Registration is available online and by mail, and includes: Entry, T-Shirt for the first 250 registrants, snacks & finisher medal. http://transformation-center.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/5K-Flyer-2015-Long-Version-Regis-FINAL.pdf
Jamaica Pond Boathouse, 507 Jamaicaway, Jamaica Plain
·         South Boston Candlelight Vigil: Sunday, September 27. A candlelight vigil will be held at 6:30PM, hosted by the South Boston Hope and Recovery Coalition.
Farragut Park, Farragut Road, South Boston
·         Body, Mind, Spirit Awareness Day at STEPRox Recovery Center: Monday, September 28. The free indoor and outdoor event will include free presentations and information sessions on addiction, recovery and addiction-related illnesses. The event will last from 11:00AM – 5:30PMhttps://www.facebook.com/StepRoxRecoverySupportCenter
STEPRox Recovery Center, 9 Palmer Street, Roxbury

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