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National Recovery Month: Council backs public health effort
New laws regarding health care, alcohol and marijuana are changing the face of substance abuse and recovery.
The Federal Way City Council declared September "National Recovery Month" during its September 3 meeting. King County's Alcohol and Substance Abuse Administrative Board's chairman, Pat Godfrey, thanked the council for bringing attention to this particular public health issue.
This is the third year the council has made the proclamation.
"You've also demonstrated your support for recovery in other ways, including grants to service providers," Godfrey said. "We are making progress in the Federal Way school system, thanks to cooperative efforts between service providers, administrators, volunteer organizations, parents and teachers, and you. Many of our at-risk youth are now receiving assistance in part because of your concern for youth in treatment and prevention. This cooperative effort is a strong reminder that recovery is a 'we' process, not an 'I' process."
Godfrey said that the privatization of alcohol sales, and the legalization of marijuana, combined with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the near future, will likely mean that demand for recovery and mental health services will continue to increase.
"We have privatized liquor which will likely increase consumption and subsequent abuse," Godfrey said, noting the spike in alcohol theft in Federal Way, which jumped by a significant degree since the law took effect. "We have legalized pot, which will likely increase access, use and abuse. We are very concerned about how we protect our youth and how we pay for prevention, treatment and enforcement of these new policies."
Godfrey said that organizations like his, and the recovery and mental health providers in the region and state, are leery that lawmakers in Olympia will keep their promises about funding mechanisms that were included in Initiative 502 — the initiative that legalized marijuana in the state.
"There is historic evidence that they can do whatever they want to with the financial resources listed in the initiative, and historically they've proved that they are happy to do that, including keeping it," he noted.
According to Godfrey, it's estimated the implementation of the ACA will mean that 11 million people in need of recovery or mental health services will now have access to those services. However, he cautioned that budget cuts at the state and local level in Washington will put strain on services and providers who are already stretched thin.
"We are concerned about provider capacity and the increased demand for services when the last five years of budget cuts have left providers with bare bones budgets and limited resources," he said. "We have major challenges ahead of us, and again, we are grateful to you for passing this proclamation. Your support is vital."
Make that call
The following local resources can offer assistance with recovery from substance abuse:
• Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS): dshs.wa.gov or (877) 501-2233.
• Alcoholics Anonymous: www.seattleaa.org or (206) 587-2838.
• Narcotics Anonymous, South King County: www.skcna.org or (253) 872-3494.
• Cocaine Anonymous: www.caofwa.org or (425) 244-1150.
• King County Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Administrative Board recommends policies and programs to King County that will ensure the availability and accessibility of alcohol and substance abuse services, including prevention, intervention, treatment and rehabilitation. The 15-member board has diverse membership, including people in recovery. Click here to learn more.