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September 26, 2022

With Overdoses Rising, Senators King and Capito Designate September as “National Recovery Month”

With Maine having lost a record 636 lives in 2021 due to overdoses, Senators’ bipartisan resolution seeks to call wider attention to problem

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), today applauded the unanimous passage of their bipartisan resolution designating September, 2022 as “National Recovery Month.” The Senators’ resolution comes as overdoes are rising across the nation. 2021 saw a 15 percent increase in overdose deaths nationwide, with communities across the country losing over 100,000 loved ones – including 600 in Maine, a record high for the state. The resolution specifically recognizes the many challenges contributing to growing substance use disorders and the need for more community resources and education to help address the crisis.

In addition to Senators King and Capito, the resolution was cosponsored by Senators Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.).

“To anyone suffering from substance use disorders, your communities and loved ones are here for you – we see you and we want to help,” said Senator King. “The last few years have not been easy, there have been periods of immense stress, difficult isolation, and unexpected hardships for all Americans. These conditions have been even more challenging for those battling substance use disorders. During this year’s National Recovery Month, we must recommit ourselves to supporting those struggling with this deadly public health issue, providing more resources to address our nation’s opioid epidemic, and becoming more compassionate as communities. Together, recovery is possible.”

“Raising awareness of the available treatment and recovery measures is incredibly important as addiction continues to devastate communities and families in West Virginia and across the country. I am hopeful that with this resolution, which designates the month of September as ‘National Recovery Month,’ that more people will become educated about treatment options and supports for those in recovery. This is a critical component of the spectrum of solutions needed to save lives and fight back against the scourge of addiction, and I am proud to lead my colleagues in introducing this resolution,” Senator Capito said.

“The drug epidemic continues to ravage our communities across West Virginia. From April 2021 to April 2022, we lost 1,420 West Virginians to drug related overdoses, and the COVID-19 pandemic made this heartbreaking issue much worse,” Senator Manchin said. “Every West Virginian has been impacted by substance use disorder, and it is our responsibility to provide our family, friends and neighbors with the support and recovery services they need and deserve. I am proud to join my bipartisan colleagues in designating September as National Recovery Month to help bring awareness to this crisis facing so many of our fellow West Virginians and Americans."

“Every New Mexican deserves to live a life free from substance use disorder, and have the opportunity to access the support and medical care necessary to reach their fullest potential. As we continue to address the opioid epidemic, it is vital that we remove the stigma surrounding recovery services and support our friends and family in recovering from substance use disorder,” said Senator Luján. “I’m proud the Senate passed this resolution that recommits us to the importance of better serving those experiencing substance use disorder and providing a pathway to recovery.”

Thirteen percent of Americans reported starting or increasing substance use during 2020, largely due to increased stress and isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s estimated that the total cost to the country from substance abuse disorders, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, and involvement of the criminal justice system, is $78,500,000,000 annually – a figure that continues to grow.

Senators King and Capito have consistently worked on a bipartisan basis to address America’s tragic substance use disorder epidemic. Along with their annual designation of September as National Recovery Month they have joined on efforts to improve telehealth, create a better approval process for opioids, and to support mental health outreach

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