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Fears: Building communities around recovery and reentry

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PACE Inc. is honored to once again host, celebrate and share information with the Indianapolis community through multiple activities that will happen during National Recovery Month.

“Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as we celebrate improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma and heart disease. Each September, Recovery Month works to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible.”

Faces and Voices of Recovery
At PACE (Public Advocates in Community Re-entry), we have the honor of assisting individuals and their families that have been or are currently engaged with the justice system. The individuals we serve are looking for support in becoming productive members of society and/or support with learning to live a life without chaotic substance use. We also acknowledge that those suffering from substance use disorder are often criminalized instead of receiving treatment.

The theme for this year’s recovery month is “Recovery is for Everyone, every Individual, every Family, every Community.” We at PACE believe this is true and so we offer an opportunity to individuals, families and the community to learn, change and celebrate the smallest of change.

Realizing that reentry and recovery are many times synonymous, we continue to advocate for a community that is open to and willing to receive those that desire a second chance at reaching their potential. SAMHSA defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” Recovery includes the four dimensions of home, health, purpose and community.

Examination and exploration of health and purpose may be individual experiences, where home and community are almost always inclusive of others. If the latter two are components of holistic recovery, it is imperative that we build our communities to be a part of reentry and recovery. This means that the too often barriers of safe and secure housing, transportation and employment must be a concern addressed by the community.

Disparities in access to treatment and recovery supports must also be addressed by communities as well. Funding for and service delivery should be culturally responsive to all and supplied by true peers. This has proven to produce greater success for those seeking recovery and to become a part of communities without laboring under dehumanizing stigmas and labels.

Worth including in this call to action is the fact that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) have been experiencing overdoses and overdose fatalities at an alarming rate and COVID was not a friend to this increase. Michigan State University School of Public Health reports, “Since the introduction of fentanyl in 2013, African Americans are experiencing significant increases of 250% or more in opioid-involved overdose deaths in the states of New Jersey, Indiana, Michigan, Maryland, and Florida.” In 2020, overdose deaths involving opioids and stimulants are largely the result of the co-use of opioids and stimulants, not use of street drugs that contain mixtures of opioids and stimulants. Fentanyl is not commonly mixed into cocaine or methamphetamine but has recently been used instead of these substances. Heroin was almost always mixed with fentanyl. This certainly offers some explanation for the increase in opioid related death amongst African American men.

PACE, through our Recovery Resource Center, is committed to be a part of the solution by offering harm reduction resources in hopes of saving lives. One cannot seek recovery if they are not kept alive. PACE has become a naloxone distribution site on the east side of Marion County and is the home of a Nalox-Box. This is the work that PACE is honored to contribute to help in building communities for reentry and recovery. We further hope our work in the recovery space leads to increased substance use treatment made available in BIPOC communities.

Please join PACE and our many community partners to educate and celebrate reentry and recovery through many activities during the month of September. Events details are listed in this issue.

Gina Fears is assistant director of Recovery and Community Services at PACE Inc. (Public Advocates in Community Re-entry).

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