‘Recovery is possible’: UF Health Florida Recovery Center and other recovery organizations try to raise awareness about substance use disorders.


People wearing identical blue t-shirts gathered at Depot Park on Saturday. Some were running, while others were walking around the exhibition highlighting practical ways to recover from addiction.

“I was an alcoholic for 35 years. I lost my house, my wife (and) my job. I lost everything. Race participant Wade D. Wade Dee’s full name is being withheld. Anonymity is the core principle of the recovery program. “We have come here to raise public awareness because the issue has been criticized and is shameful. We are trying to eliminate this problem and make it part of our culture so that the people know where to go.” help”

Wade D has been in recovery for five years.

“Recovery can happen to anyone. You just have to be willing to ask for help and check your ego at the door. You can’t be in charge of your own recovery. You have to let someone else help you,” he said.

“I teach kids to stay away from drugs, tobacco, alcohol and other unhealthy behaviors,” says Melody LaFlamme, coordinator of Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, a nonprofit that provides addiction treatment, mental health treatment and educational activities.

“We’re going to help her get off drugs and get her baby back,” LaFlamme said of Meridian’s program, which is designed to help mothers with addiction. “She’s had her baby, (then) we’re going to help her quit drugs.”

In addition to organizations like Meridian that offer a wide range of services, other organizations focus on youth education. Amy Patrick and Lashay Johnson are project coordinators at the Alachua County Health Promotion and Wellness Coalition. By talking and working with parents, they teach and help young people, Patrick said. They also give talks and presentations in schools. Patrick says some teenagers think vaping is cool and fun, but they don’t think about the addiction and the dangers.

“We are working to oppose these laws. We understand that different laws are being passed. Our goal is to reduce access and educate about those different consequences,” Johnson said.

Although many states have legalized marijuana, the Alachua County Health Promotion and Safety Coalition is still educating people about the dangers of the drug and making people aware of substance use disorders.

Over the years, the number of people who die from drug overdose in Florida has gradually increased. However, many people still lack awareness and understanding about addictions. As such, these non-profit organizations are providing a variety of education and services to address this problem.

In addition to ignorance about drugs and addiction, stigma is a major factor preventing people from recovering.

Some of the students LaFlamme teaches at the school feel embarrassed when they go to Meridian and speak out, and some people with addictions can be accused of being wrong.

Waters said the stigma can keep people with addiction from sharing their stories and reaching out to agencies to help them.

UF Health’s Florida Recovery Center and these organizations have long worked to break the stigma of substance use disorders and ensure that recovery is possible. Fighting stigma is a significant goal of the Run 4 Recovery 5K.

“Having public events, getting the community involved (and) the Gainesville Police Department and volunteers help show people in recovery that they can have confidence and reduce their own shame, so I think that’s a big part of it.” People still carry some shame and so being confident about being in recovery can help them feel better, Watts said.

of 4 Recovery 5K It aims to raise awareness of substance use disorders, break the stigma around addictions and celebrate people in recovery.

“We want to educate the public. We want to provide awareness and information about substance use disorders, so I think the public still has some misconceptions, so we want to educate and create awareness for as many people as possible,” said Rachel Waters, director of UF Health Florida. Recovery Center.

UF Health Florida Recovery Center He offered a free t-shirt to every participant. “More than 200 (people) have registered. We had about 40 employees and another 80 people from UF Health,” Waters said.

The Run 4 Recovery 5K featured local treatment providers and recovery-related exhibits. These organizations provided self-test forms, giveaways and brochures at the exhibition.

Runners wearing matching blue t-shirts run the 5K around the course at Depot Park. (Yuchen Zang/WUFT News)


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