‘Discover Recovery’ Event Aims To Provide Resources for Those Battling Substance Abuse
photo by: Alan Olson
WHEELING – Dozens of entities will be on hand Wednesday to provide advice and information to those struggling with substance abuse, or those looking to help those who are, at the Discover Recovery event at WesBanco Arena.
From 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at WesBanco Arena, more than 40 local organizations, representing steps of overcoming addiction from first treatment to late recovery, will come together to provide information to those addicted and those looking to help. Topics range from mental health services, suicide prevention, veterans services, and domestic violence prevention.
The event was announced Monday morning, where community leaders came together to pledge their support of the program. Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott said he’s glad to see an increase in support networks and programs available for substance abuse, which had long been seen as a personal problem to be tackled alone.
“I’m old enough to remember a time where substance abuse was something that was kept out of sight and out of mind, and just wasn’t talked about,” Elliott said. “Growing up, we all had people in our lives, our families, … who we knew were struggling, but you didn’t talk about it. The costs of that substance abuse disorder, conventional wisdom will tell you, is ‘their problem.’
“What you don’t realize is that in every community where people are struggling, the costs are far and wide. It’s impossible to be the best father you can be if you’re struggling with addiction; the best husband or brother, or elected official or community leader.”
Temple Shalom Rabbi Joshua Lief said it was the duty of every community to help its struggling members.
“This is a holy challenge for us,” Lief said. “It is, in fact, the opportunity for us to bring our religious values of loving our neighbor and, indeed, loving the stranger as well. Find healing for those who are suffering, find health for our community as a whole, and bring peace to not only our hearts, but the hearts of those who are suffering and struggling.”
Lief added that the effort spent helping battle addiction is pre-emptive, preventing further troubles with the law.
“All the resources that are usually spent on incarceration, on punishing those who are struggling, if we’d spend a fraction of their resources helping people find their way to healing and recovery, we could avoid the much more costly expense that follows.”
Mary Hess, director of the Unity Center, added that the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard on those with addiction,
“COVID has put the community into isolation, which has been completely detrimental to those suffering from substance abuse disorders,” Hess said. “The overdose rates are on the rise due to this isolation, so this event is giving everyone the opportunity to come and gather resources to either begin their journey of recovery, or to get resources to assist them on their current road to recovery.
“It’s also a wonderful opportunity for the families who currently have a substance abuse disorder to come make a plan, to take advantage of the moment where their loved one says ‘I need help,'” she added. “This enables them to already have resources available, to have contact within our community resources to help get that person into treatment before they become another overdose statistic.”
Elliott said he hopes the community as a whole will turn out to help lend a helping hand.
“This Wednesday, we encourage folks to take advantage of it, not only those who are suffering themselves, but neighbors, friends, loved ones of those who do have addiction problems,” Elliott added. “Reach out and get them some help. … This is something I think is going to help us put more ‘friendly’ in the Friendly City.”