Prevention, treatment work; people recover

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Prevention works. Treatment is effective. People recover.

Thatís the message being sent to Bonner County residents as Freedom House ministries in partnership with the Bonner County Drug Court and Tamarack Treatment and Counseling Center recognize September as National Mental Health and Substance Abuse Recovery Month.

Yet every year, people who experience these conditions often feel isolated and alone. Here in our own community, we can offer a message of hope. We need to offer support to men and women facing mental and/or substance abuse disorders by creating environments and relationships that promote acceptance. They need to know that help is available.

These individuals can get better both physically and emotionally with the support of a welcoming community.

Support from families is essential to recovery. So it is important that family members have the tools to start conversations about prevention, treatment and recovery. Far too many people are still unaware that prevention works, and that mental and substance abuse disorders can often be treated just like other health problems. People can and do go on to live productive lives.

Having served as a chaplain at Bonner County Jail for the past six years where the majority of inmates are incarcerated either directly or indirectly as a result of substance abuse, I have had the opportunity to see the positive reality of recovery.

I have seen how faith-based programs like the Good Samaritan Recovery program in Coeur díAlene can free people from the bondage of addiction and change lives. I have seen how the Bonner County Drug Court program and its treatment provider Tamarack Treatment and Counseling Center are able to guide men and women away from addictive behavior.

Individuals who embrace recovery achieve improved mental and physical health and form stronger relationships with families, friends and neighbors.

We need to let people know that recovery is possible.

Please plan to join us at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 18, at the Ponderay Event Center, 401 Bonner Mall Way (behind Sandpoint Furniture), as we recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of men and women in recovery, those who provide treatment and support and discuss how we as families and a community can strengthen this work.

In 2017, more than 59,000 people died in the United States from drug overdoses, more than the deaths from automobile accidents and firearms, combined, and are the leading cause of death for people under age 50.

Bonner County Idaho is not obligated to contribute to this carnage.

Prevention works. Treatment is effective. People recover. People donít have to die.

Fred Petteruto is a senior chaplain at the Bonner County Jail and executive director of Freedom House Inc.

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