September is "Recovery Month:" City leaders announce new program aimed at preventing addiction

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- September is "Recovery Month" nationwide -- a month in which officials promote prevention, treatment and recovery for people struggling with mental health and substance abuse disorders.

In Milwaukee, Mayor Barrett and other city leaders addressed a small crowd inside City Hall Monday, September 8th to celebrate 25 years of Recovery Month, and encourage this year’s theme. The theme is "Join the Voices of Recovery -- Speak up and Reach Out."

“What we are trying to do is allow people, encourage people, to tell their stories, to have their voices heard so that others in the community who may suffer from similar challenges know that they are not alone,” Mayor Barrett said.

Michelle McKenna embodied this year’s theme as she shared her story of recovery. She has been sober for 13 years.

“I thought I hit my bottom a number of times. I didn`t. I picked up the shovel and dug a little deeper. After two felony convictions and losing custody of my son, is when I got into recovery. It’s really important that people know there is a way out before they continue to dig that hole deeper. The three places that we end up without treatment are jails institutions and death. I’ve done two of them. I don’t want to do the third," McKenna said.

City leaders also took the opportunity to announce a new pilot project aimed at preventing addiction. Starting later this fall, Milwaukee Police Department Districts 3 and 6 will allow people to dispose of unwanted or unneeded prescription drugs and medication 24 hours a day, every day -- with no questions asked.

The program is the result of a new partnership with the Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division and the Milwaukee County Substance Abuse Coalition.

City leaders say before the program can be up and running they still need to decide on the types of bins they will use for the disposal, and where they will place them within the participating districts.

They also reminded everyone about the free Milwaukee Walk for Recovery on Saturday, September 13th at the Milwaukee Alano Club at 1521 N. Prospect Ave. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with speakers at 10 a.m. The walk will start at 10:30 a.m.

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