Orange County Recognizes September as Recovery Month

Officials and Service Agencies Host Recovery Event to Raise Awareness of Mental and Substance Use Disorder Support Services in Community

NEWBURGH – Joining together to recognize September as Recovery Month in Orange County, elected officials, support service agencies, and attendees at the recognition event were all in agreement – mental and substance use disorders and the far-reaching benefits of recovery must be addressed now.

Recovery Month, a national observance sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), raises awareness of mental and/or substance use disorders, celebrates individuals in long-term recovery, and acknowledges the work of prevention, treatment, and recovery support services. The 2017 Recovery Month recognition event was hosted at RECAP’s New Life Manor in Newburgh, an OASAS-licensed treatment facility specializing in substance use treatment to help men in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction on their path to recovery.

In 2015, 43.4 million people aged 18 or older (17.9 percent of adults) had any mental illness according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual survey released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). For the same time frame, 20.8 million people aged 12 or older (7.8 percent) had a substance use disorder. And, 8.1 million adults, aged 18 or older, had both a substance use disorder and a mental illness. An estimated 100,000 people in Orange County are affected by issues of mental health and substance use, according to the Orange County Department of Mental Health.

Speakers at the recognition event described the impact mental and substance use disorders have on the community and discussed the epidemic growth of addiction to heroin and prescription opioids, and the critical role prevention, treatment, and support services play in an individual’s recovery and improved quality of life. Officials across all levels of government are working closely with human service agencies in Orange County to promote legislation, implement preventive measures, help loved ones recognize the signs of a problem, and guide those in need to appropriate treatment and recovery support services.

To illustrate the impact addiction has had on Orange County, 96 pinwheels were placed on the lawn at New Life Manor to represent those who lost the battle with addiction last year. Additional pinwheels were placed by attendees in honor or memory of loved ones.

Kevin B., a former resident of RECAP’s New Life Manor, who successfully completed the program, spoke of his personal journey to recovery.

Additional Recovery Month speakers included New York State Assemblymen Frank Skartados and James Skoufis, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus, Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler, Orange County Sheriff Carl Dubois, and Orange County Commissioner of Mental Health and Social Services Darcie M. Miller. Dr. Dean Scher, Executive Director at Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange and Sullivan, spoke on behalf of the addiction services agencies participating in the Recovery Month recognition, which also included Cornerstone Family Healthcare, HONOR, and RECAP.

The event emphasized the critical role that community partnerships play in affecting change so that individuals experiencing mental health and/or substance use disorders receive the support they need in order to make a life in recovery possible. In Orange County, community partners in support of recovery include all levels of government, county agencies, community-based organizations, and health care providers, as well as law enforcement and the judicial system.

“Recovery Month provides an opportunity to highlight our efforts to raise awareness of mental health and substance abuse issues, as well as to provide information and assistance to those seeking treatment for substance abuse in Orange County,” County Executive Neuhaus said. “County government, in collaboration with our community partners, is doing all that we can to treat people who are addicted and help their loved ones as well. It’s the County’s goal to be a part of the solution to this problem.”

“National Recovery Month was adopted to raise awareness of this difficult human challenge that affects all walks of life. We in the Hudson Valley are fortunate to have organizations like Catholic Charities, Cornerstone, HONOR, and RECAP working with us to help bring people to a successful recovery – Thank you for all of the good things you are doing,” added New York State Assemblyman Frank Skartados.

New York State Assemblyman James Skoufis said, “Every day we hear heart wrenching stories of families, friends, and neighbors who have felt the pain of addiction – it knows no demographics, no geography.  Working together, however, we have the ability to make a difference and be visible, vocal, and valuable proponents of recovery. I will continue to collaborate with and support the service agencies in our community that are on the front lines of this fight to ensure they have the necessary tools to provide prevention and treatment, reduce stigma, and promote recovery.”

“It is a pleasure to support and participate in Recovery month activities with our local non-profits.  Treatment and recovery happens every day in Orange County and is often an available remedy for low-level, non-violent offenders.  Working together with our non-profits and law enforcement remains a priority of my office in making our county safer and healthier,” said Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler.

Orange County Sheriff Carl Dubois said, “I have seen the effects of addiction in my 40 plus years of law enforcement and judiciary. Now more than ever we all need to work together to prevent over-prescribing medications, promote treatment, and explore alternatives to effectively manage the opioid epidemic. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office continues to partner with all agencies to turn the tide.”

Orange County Commissioner of Mental Health and Social Services Darcie M. Miller said, “Orange County strives to collaborate with all provider systems to create opportunities for expanded access to care and hopeful experiences that lead to recovery, including medication-assisted treatment when appropriate. The work that we do and the opportunities that we create can save lives. That’s why it is so important to acknowledge the many millions of individuals embracing recovery each and every day. All of us in mental healthcare appreciate the support of the County Executive and the Legislature.”

“Joining together today in recognition of Recovery Month, we also recognize the value of collaboration in support of recovery, those suffering from the disease of addiction, and the loved ones who care for them,” said Dr. Scher, Catholic Charities. “Working together, we are stronger and more effective in promoting prevention, encouraging treatment, and helping people recover. We are grateful for the many partners who strive to make a difference in the lives of others.”

At tonight’s monthly meeting of the Orange County Legislature, County Executive Neuhaus and Stephen Brescia, Chairman of the Orange County Legislature, will jointly proclaim September as Recovery Month in Orange County.  The pair will present the proclamation to representatives from Catholic Charities, Cornerstone Family Healthcare, HONOR, and RECAP.

Information about mental health and/or substance use services is available at:

Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange and Sullivan

Cornerstone Family Healthcare