By Paul Schmitt
September is National Recovery month, which increases awareness and understanding of mental health and substance abuse disorders and celebrate the people who recover.
In our area the Door County Alcohol and Other Drug Coalition work to prevent and reduce substance abuse and related problems by providing leadership, education and support to communities and institutions throughout Door County. They host town hall meetings, community conversations, film screenings, and panel discussions surrounding topics of substance abuse and addiction. Also, the coalition partners with the Door County Mental Health Focus Group to educate and promote mental health awareness to reduce the stigma of mental illness in the community. The coalition consists of government officials, local school faculty, non-profit groups, churches, counselors, and prevention specialists.
A partner of the coalition is Re:TH!NK, The Lakeshore Tobacco Prevention Network, which works to improve the health of residents by reducing tobacco use and exposure through prevention strategies.
Re:TH!NK and the Door County AOD Coalition are using Recovery Month to highlight the fact that 40% of all cigarettes smoked by adults in the United States are smoked by adults with mental illness or substance use disorders.
While that number is shocking, there is reason for optimism. One study shows that individuals offered tobacco cessation as part of their treatment for alcohol or illicit drug use have a 25% increased likelihood of long-term recovery. The statewide Wisconsin Nicotine Treatment Integration project (WiNTiP) raises awareness of the connection between tobacco use and other issues by helping behavioral health providers integrate tobacco cessation into the care they give.
Free help is available through the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (7884-8669). Medicaid recipients should also ask their physician about the Medicaid Quit Tobacco Benefit.
Readers can learn more by finding the Door County AOD Coalition and reTHINK on Facebook or visiting www.helpusquit.org for more information on WiNTiP
Dakota Londo, Community Impact Coordinator for United Way of Door County