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September is Recovery Month; north country providers celebrated for their efforts

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WATERTOWN — Local alcohol and substance abuse service providers and addiction recovery supporters will come together next month to celebrate Recovery Month and recovery struggles and successes of north country residents.

A legislative proclamation, awards breakfast and 1-mile recovery walk will take place in early September, as the community recognizes the 25th annual Recovery Month, which is supported by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Recovery “is absolutely critical,” said William W. Bowman, executive director of the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council of Jefferson County. “You have to work at it every day; you can’t get complacent. Addiction is a very difficult thing. The craving to use can be so powerful.”

The council, Credo Community Center for the Treatment of Addictions and Samaritan Medical Behavioral Health have come together to offer the special activities.

Mr. Bowman said participants in the 1-mile walk at the Fairgrounds Y, 585 Rand Drive, also will hear people in recovery speak about their positive outlook in maintaining sobriety. While the agencies recognize people in recovery for their daily effort to remain well, Recovery Month also serves as a time to honor community members, organizations, providers and politicians for their support.

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, will receive the Public Servant Award during the Sept. 18 breakfast at the Ramada Inn, Route 3, because she has “long been an advocate for services in her own region, particularly Jefferson County,” Mr. Bowman said.

“She’s really been a voice for our field,” he said. “When we had issues with synthetic drugs, she was a firm supporter in getting them banned.”

Also honored will be April L. Beamer-Breen, who works at the women’s residence for Credo Community Center for the Treatment of Addictions. Mr. Bowman said she has been active on volunteer boards and is “a real advocate for recovery.”

Other honorees are Ralph K. Marcellus, of the Watertown Vet Center, who has worked in the addiction field locally since 1984, and the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization, which brings continued awareness of behavioral health and substance abuse services “as we go through a revolution in health care.”

“Addiction problems are not going away,” Mr. Bowman said. “With the opiate problem alone we can see an increased need for services. What we do know is preserving services will be critical.”

For more information, or reservations for the breakfast, call the council at 788-4660.Tickets are $13 each.

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