Supporting International Efforts to Prevent Overdose and Treat Substance Use Disorders

(Chicago) – TASC’s work in Illinois is helping to inform international strategies to save lives and divert people with substance use disorders away from the justice system and into community-based treatment.

On August 20, TASC hosted visiting dignitaries from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) for discussions on criminal justice responses to the opioid crisis and alternatives to incarceration, based on the recognition that international supply reduction strategies can inform and support, and be supported by, local efforts across the country.

INL helps countries across the globe strengthen their criminal justice systems in order to reduce the entry of illegal drugs and crime in the U.S.

INL Deputy Assistant Secretary James A. Walsh and Michele Greenstein, acting director of INL’s Office of Criminal Justice and Assistance Partnership (CAP), were welcomed by TASC President Pam Rodriguez, who facilitated a roundtable discussion with local criminal justice leaders, including Judge LeRoy Martin, presiding judge of the Criminal Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli, Cook County Circuit Judge Charles P. Burns, Judge Lawrence Fox, director of specialty courts for Cook County, and Chief Eric Guenther of the Mundelein Police Department. Leaders presented a continuum of criminal justice diversion strategies and alternatives to incarceration that exist in Cook and Lake counties for people who have substance use disorders.

Following the roundtable discussion, Walsh and Greenstein visited TASC’s Supportive Release Center, meeting with TASC staff as well as Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, whose website offers information on array of resources on overdose prevention and recovery.

“We are grateful and proud to be able to show our collective work in Illinois, knowing that lessons learned here can benefit other nations across the globe,” said Rodriguez. “We also recognize that much work lies ahead in continuing to reduce the numbers of people entering the justice system, and in increasing treatment and recovery options for people and communities affected by substance use disorders.”

Today, communities across the globe are recognizing International Overdose Awareness Day, observed annually on August 31 to raise awareness around overdose prevention, reduce the stigma of a drug-related death, and acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends who have lost loved ones to drug overdose.

INL dignitaries and Sheriff Dart at TASC Supportive Release Center, August 20, 2018. (l. to r.) Michele Greenstein, INL; Alicia Osborne, TASC; INL Deputy Assistant Secretary James Walsh; Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart; Dr. Jane Gubser, Cook County Dept. of Corrections; Joe Ryan, Cook County Sheriff’s Dept.; Robin Moore, TASC.

 

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2018 Recovery Month PSAs, Toolkit Now Available

(Chicago) – The 2018 National Recovery Month toolkit is now available online, offering resources to help increase awareness and understanding of recovery from substance use and mental health disorders and celebrate people living in recovery.

Observed each September and sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Recovery Month––of which TASC is a national Planning Partner––highlights achievements of individuals who have reclaimed their lives in long-term recovery, and also recognizes the treatment and recovery service providers who offer pathways to recovery.

The 2018 National Recovery Month theme is Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community.

SAMHSA annually creates a Recovery Month toolkit, which provides outreach templates, tips for event planning and community outreach, information and data on behavioral health conditions, and resources for prevention, treatment, and recovery support services. The toolkit and PSAs can be used to organize events, issue proclamations, and increase public awareness.

The online toolkit also offers dozens of video and audio public service announcements (PSAs), including new PSAs in 2018 entitled r is for Recovery and Voices for Recovery. The PSAs are available in both English and Spanish, and are offered in both 20-second and 30-second versions.

To help celebrate recovery and elevate awareness of its prevalence across the country, organizations and advocates are encouraged to post and promote Recovery Month events on the National Recovery Month website.

 

 

Chicago, Rockford, and GSU Events Shine Spotlight on Recovery

(Chicago)— In unison with several hundred recovery advocates in Chicago, Rockford, and University Park, TASC celebrated Recovery Month with rallies, walks, and outdoor celebrations.

Observed each year in September, Recovery Month recognizes that millions of people across the country can and do recover from substance use and mental health disorders. Sponsored nationally by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the 2015 observance featured more than 1,000 local events across the country.

In Illinois, through the annual Recovery Walk at Governors State University (GSU), Outside the Walls celebration in Chicago, and Rally for Recovery in Rockford, TASC clients, staff, friends, and colleagues shared community resources and elevated hopes and triumphs of recovery.

“Every single one of us has been affected by substance use disorders, whether through personal experience or through knowing a friend, a family member, a colleague, or a neighbor,” said TASC Executive Vice President Peter Palanca, who emceed the September 12 event at GSU. “Through our work together, we can help more people know and experience the reality that recovery is possible.”

The Outside the Walls event also was an inspiring success, with inclement weather the day before giving way to a bright celebration on September 19. “What a day!” remarked Rev. Tommie Johnson, TASC recovery support services coordinator, who leads the annual event. “There was a great turnout, a large crowd, and absolutely top-shelf entertainment… So many clients and their children remarked how they were moved, not only emotionally, but motivated to action!”

Rockford’s Recovery Rally on the Rock on September 26 drew impressive attendance as well, along with coverage from the Rockford Register-Star, WIFR, and WREX.

“The event keeps growing every year,” said TASC case manager Kate Craig, who co-organized the event in Rockford. “It’s grown from 35 people when it first started in 2009, to the huge support system that it is today.”

The 2015 theme for Recovery Month, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable!” was selected to highlight the value of educating, mentoring, and helping others in the recovery journey.

“For those who have experienced substance use disorders, we know that there are many paths of support that can make a life-saving difference—for people’s health, for their homes, for their families and communities,” said Palanca. “We thank all our event sponsors and supporters for partnership in this work. Together, we can realize the promise of recovery.” 

Members of TASC team at GSU Recovery Walk: (left to right) Ryan Dillon, Debra Hammer, Lindsey Baumgartner, Cassy Lamon, Charles Sanders, and Latina McMillan.

Members of TASC team at the September 12 Recovery Walk at Governors State University: (left to right) Ryan Dillon, Debra Hammer, Lindsey Baumgartner, Cassy Lamon, Charles Sanders, and Latina McMillan.

The September 19 Outside the Walls event in Chicago was a celebration of youth, hope, and life.

The September 19 Outside the Walls event in Chicago was a celebration of youth, hope, and life.

Friends and families enjoyed food and music at the 7th Annual Recovery Rally on the Rock in Rockford on September 26.

Friends and families enjoyed food and music at the 7th Annual Recovery Rally on the Rock in Rockford on September 26.

TASC provides informational resources at Recovery Month events each year.

TASC offers resources and information to help individuals and families seeking recovery.

 

 

 

Highlights from Celebrations of Recovery Month 2014 in Illinois

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of National Recovery Month, communities and organizations across Illinois have hosted various events to celebrate recovery from mental health and substance use disorders. Over the past two Saturdays, TASC was engaged in events in Chicago, Rockford, and University Park.

Pictured left to right, back row: Derrick Watson, Rev. Tommie Johnson Middle row: Mike Seeler, Alicia Fiestamel, Debra Hammer, Miki Hendricks, Angela Daniels Front row:  Peter Palanca; Benneth Lee

TASC staff at the September 20 Walk for Recovery at Governors State University in University Park, Illinois.  From left to right, back row: Derrick Watson, Rev. Tommie Johnson.  Middle row: Michael Seeler, Alicia Feistamel, Debra Hammer, Micki Hendricks, Angela Daniels.  Front row: Peter Palanca; Benneth Lee.

On September 20, the Governors State University (GSU) Addiction Studies Alumni Club hosted its third annual Walk for Recovery in University Park, drawing more than 250 people. Led by TASC Executive Vice President Peter Palanca as Master of Ceremonies, the event honored individuals in recovery as well as treatment providers dedicated to helping those seeking recovery. In the spirit of this year’s Recovery Month theme — Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out! — event speakers also encouraged citizens to continue to speak up on behalf of those in need of services.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 23 million people over the age of 12 needed treatment for a substance use problem in 2009. Of these, fewer than three million received it at a specialty facility, making the role of organizations like TASC vital for many.

“We know that investing in recovery makes sense,” said Palanca. “When people with alcohol and drug problems get the help and support that they need, we see positive results.”

Palanca, who has served as Master of Ceremonies at the previous GSU Recovery Walks, added that the importance of recovery should be recognized year-round.

“Let’s not stop celebrating recovery as September comes to a close,” said Palanca. “Recovering people and their families are engaging in recovery each and every day with our continued support, guidance, and service.”

People in recovery, family members, community leaders, service providers, and recovery advocates celebrated at the sixth annual Recovery Rally on the Rock, held September 20 in Rockford.

People in recovery, family members, community leaders, service providers, and recovery advocates celebrated at the sixth annual Recovery Rally on the Rock, held September 20 in Rockford.

Also on September 20, the sixth annual Recovery Rally on the Rock took place on the banks of the Rock River. With inspirational speakers, entertainment, prizes, and refreshments, the event celebrates recovery and raises awareness of local resources to prevent and treat substance use and mental health conditions.

The Reverend Tommie Johnson, recovery support services coordinator for TASC, led the annual Winner’s Circle “Outside the Walls” event, which took place Saturday, September 13 in Chicago’s Douglas Park. “Outside the Walls” is a celebration of hope and healing in the spirit of recovery, promoting reconnected families broken by incarceration. The event offered a spiritual atmosphere emphasizing the importance of faith-based consciousness in productive reentry, and featured local gospel artists, food, family activities, and ongoing encouragement for health and wellness.

The keynote inspirational speaker at the September 13 “Outside the Walls” event was Reverend E.F. Ledbetter III, who is the pastor of the historic Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in the South Side of Chicago.

The keynote inspirational speaker at the September 13 “Outside the Walls” event was Reverend E.F. Ledbetter III, who is the pastor of the historic Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in the South Side of Chicago.

“For those engaged in the struggle to get their lives back on track, with all the obstacles they must overcome, it is good to have a moment that they are celebrated and not just tolerated,” said Johnson. “Everyone, no matter who they are, can use some encouragement from time to time.”

National Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective, and that people can and do recover. TASC is a National Recovery Month planning partner.

September is National Recovery Month; Join Celebrations Near You

RecoveryMonthBanner

(Chicago) — This year marks the 25th anniversary of National Recovery Month, which promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery from mental and substance use disorders. TASC and partners across Illinois are engaged in numerous activities that are open to the public.

Find an event near you and join in the celebrations.

Some of the 2014 events Illinois include:  (Click on links for event locations and other details.)

Sat. Sept. 13, 11 AM – 4 PM, Chicago. Outside the Walls.

  • Sponsored by the Winners’ Circle, this event offers a spiritual atmosphere to promote the reconnection of families once broken due to incarceration. The event is a full day featuring local gospel artists, food, and family-oriented fun and activities, all in supporting and sustaining efforts to live in health and wellness in the community.

Sat. Sept. 20, 8 AM – noon, University Park. Governors State University’s Addiction Studies Alumni Club Walk for Recovery.

  • Led by TASC Executive Vice President Peter Palanca as Master of Ceremonies, the annual Walk for Recovery honors individuals recovering and seeking recovery and celebrates the treatment providers committed to helping them. There will be music, entertainment, a resource fair, door prizes, and refreshments. See news release.

Sat. Sept. 20, 11 AM – 4 PM, Rockford. 6th Annual Recovery Rally on the Rock.

  • Join TASC colleagues and community partners in a celebration of fellowship and recovery, featuring speakers, music, desserts, and giveaways.

This year’s Recovery Month theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out,” encourages people to openly speak up about recovery from mental and substance use disorders. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective, and that people can and do recover. TASC is a National Recovery Month planning partner.

TASC and Communities Across Illinois Celebrate National Recovery Month

(Chicago) – Governor Pat Quinn has issued a proclamation announcing September as Recovery Month in Illinois. National Recovery Month features events and celebrations that recognize the societal value and personal successes of recovery from mental and substance use disorders.

This year’s theme is Join the Voices for Recovery, Together on Pathways to Wellness. In partnership with community partners across Illinois, TASC is proud to participate in several events this September. All are encouraged to attend:

Sat. 9/14 at Governors State University: Walk for RecoveryHosted by the Governors State University Alumni Association and the Addictions Studies Alumni Club, GSU’s 2nd Annual Walk for Recovery is free and open to the public. Registration will run from 8 to 9 AM, followed by a program at 9 AM, and concluding with a two-mile walk at 10 AM. Featured speakers will include Peter Palanca, executive vice president and chief operating officer for TASC; Benny Lee, community liaison and reentry specialist for TASC; and comedian Tommy Connolly. The event will offer resource information, door prizes, refreshments, music, and entertainment. Sponsors include: IlliniCare Health Plan, TASC, the Illinois Certification Board, and the South Suburban Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

Sat. 9/14 in Rockford:  Recovery Rally on the RockRockford’s 5th annual recovery rally will take place from 11 AM to 3 PM on the banks of the Rock River at the Madison Street Trolley Station near the Riverview Ice House. Co-sponsored by TASC through the leadership of Bridget Kiely and Kate Craig, the event celebrates recovery from alcohol and drug addiction while raising awareness of local resources to prevent and treat substance use and mental health conditions. It is a free, family-friendly event that will include music and inspiring words from local community members. A wide range of community resources will be offered.

Sat. 9/14 in Chicago: Outside the Walls.  Sponsored by the Winners’ Circle and coordinated by the Reverend Tommie Johnson, this annual event is a celebration of hope and healing in the spirit of recovery. Outside the Walls honors the lives of men and women who have paid their debts to society and today celebrate the reconnection of families once broken due to incarceration. The event will feature local gospel artists, food, and full day of family-oriented fun and activities, offering a spiritual atmosphere emphasizing the value of faith-based consciousness in community reentry. Outside the Walls will take place from 11 AM to 4 PM at Douglas Park in Chicago, at the northwest corner of Ogden and California Avenue.

Mon. 9/30 in Chicago:  Healthy Families, Healthy Communities – It’s All About Recovery!  Sponsored by Great Lakes ATTC, this full-day training (8:30 AM – 5 PM) will feature renowned experts discussing the importance of recovery and its impact on all family members. The concept of Recovery Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC) will be the frame used to discuss how to shore up and sustain healthy families. Topics will include: Global Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care & Recovery; Healthcare Reform; and issues specific to men & families, to youth, and to women. Presenters include: Cherie A. Hunter, consultant/trainer/ facilitator, Hunter Communications; Kenneth L. Osborne, author/speaker/ consultant; Peter Palanca, executive vice president and chief operating officer, TASC; Mark Sanders, author/speaker/consultant, On The Mark Consulting; Jeffrey Coady, regional administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); and Lonnetta Albright, executive director, Great Lakes ATTC. Registration is $50 and includes breakfast and lunch.

In addition to the above, there are many other events taking place across the state and the country. Find events in Illinois and across the U.S., or post your event here.

Also, Recovery Month 2013 features special learning opportunities such as a September 11 webinar for clergy and other congregational leaders. Understanding Addiction and Supporting Recovery is free and sponsored by the National Association for Children of Alcoholics.

This month marks the 24th annual observance of National Recovery Month. It is estimated that more than 20 million Americans are in recovery today.

TASC Executive Vice President Peter Palanca will be a featured speaker at two Recovery Month events in September.

TASC Executive Vice President Peter Palanca will be featured speaker at two Recovery Month events in September.

Twitter @TASC_CHJ

September is Recovery Month: Join the Voices for Recovery

September is National Recovery Month, a time to collectively promote and support recovery from mental and substance use disorders, to celebrate people and families in recovery, and to laud the contributions of treatment and service providers.

TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities) invites you to join us at one of the following Recovery Month events, or find other events near you in communities across the country.

Saturday, Sept. 8, 11AM- 4PM:  Outside the Walls: A Day of Family Unity and Community Reconciliation

  • Sponsored by the Winners’ Circle, this is a day of family unity and community reconciliation featuring Gospel Music (Hope House Men’s Choir, Serenity Drum Corps, First Holy Choir, New Mt. Moriah Choir, and many more); inspirational and motivational speeches by religious and civic leaders; gift bags with CDs, books, tapes, faith-based inspiration and more; school supplies for children; commemorative t-shirts; HIV/AIDS screenings and testing, and more.

Wed-Thu, Sept. 12-13:  Illinois Specialty Courts Conference

  • The Illinois Association of Drug Court Professionals (IADCP) and Mental Health Court Association of Illinois (MHCAI) have traditionally held two separate annual conferences. These associations are merging their annual conferences for 2012.

Saturday, Sept. 15, 11AM- 3PM:  Recovery Rally on the Rock

  • The 4th Annual Recovery on the Rock event will highlight and celebrate recovery efforts taking place throughout the Rockford area. The event will feature speakers, informational resources, and community festivities for an informative and fun afternoon.

Saturday, Sept. 22, 8AM- 1PM:  Governors State University Addiction Studies Alumni Club Walk for Recovery

  • Governor State University’s Walk for Recovery will honor individuals recovering and seeking recovery, and will also celebrate the treatment and support providers committed to helping people and families affected by addiction.

Click here to see all September Recovery Month events in Illinois.  If you or someone you know needs help finding or sustaining recovery, please click here for information and links to resources.

National Recovery Month is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).