The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) joins the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and local prevention and treatment organizations statewide in observing September as National Recovery Month. The observance recognizes the benefits of substance abuse treatment, the hard work of individuals and families in recovery, and the message that recovery from substance abuse in all its forms is possible. Governor Branstad will sign a proclamation declaring September as National Recovery Month in Iowa on September 19.
“It is critical that people experiencing substance use problems receive the support they need from the community,” said IDPH Bureau of Substance Abuse Chief DeAnn Decker. “The reality is that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover.”
According to IDPH, alcohol is the substance most abused by Iowans. According to a September 2012 study of admissions to substance abuse treatment, 50 percent reported alcohol as their primary problem. Marijuana was second at 26 percent, followed by methamphetamine at 17 percent.
The third week of September is National Wellness Week. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 79 percent of individuals with mental health or substance use disorders smoke cigarettes, as compared to 23 percent of the general population. Half of all deaths from smoking occur among people with behavioral health problems.
IDPH data shows recovery is possible with treatment. According to client interviews conducted six months after discharge, the abstinence rate rose from 0 percent at admission to 49 percent at six months; the full-time employment rate went from 22 percent to 41 percent; and 84 percent of treatment clients were arrest-free during this time period, as compared to 41 percent at admission.
Many Iowa communities have events planned to highlight both Recovery Month and Wellness Week, including the 6th Annual Motorcycle Recovery Run in Manning on September 8 and the Walk for Wellness, Race for Recovery in Ames on September 9. For a list of activities taking place in Iowa, visit www.recoverymonth.gov/Community-Events/Find-An-Event.aspx?state=IA. For more information about IDPH prevention and treatment programs, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/bh/substance_abuse.asp.