ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Monroe County Health Addiction Services held its first Recovery Fair on Saturday, bringing support that can start a different life for those struggling directly to the local community.
Monroe County officials say they want the community to know that if anyone is struggling with addiction of any kind, there are resources available, and to show that, they brought those resources to the community.
At Genesee Valley Park, the Addiction Services Recovery Fair offered free food, ice cream, giveaways, activities, music, and direct access to recovery and support resources.
More than 1,000 overdoses have been reported in Monroe County so far this year, and Monroe County health officials say there is help available.
Dr. Tisha Smith, Addiction Services Director at the Monroe County Department of Public Health, says, “It’s extremely important for the community to be made aware of the services that are available to both families and people that are suffering substance abuse disorders in our community.”
Instead of focusing on addiction, they want to celebrate recovery, even if someone has just started their journey. “It’s a great way for us to kind of unite and kind of celebrate recovery and be one as a community,” says Dr. Smith.
In the journey to recovery, supporters say there is one major component.
“Connection is such an important part of establishing that first change. You get to meet all types of those connections that bring you a little bit closer to making any sort of change,” says supporter Angelina Sergent.
For some, they may have to take it one step at a time.
Christopher Abert, another recovery supporter, says, “I think a lot of people think of recovery as abstinence-only. Recovery is not equal to abstinence. In general, it’s very difficult to make huge changes in our lives, but it’s much easier to make small changes and get a foothold and build scaffolding based on those little positive changes.”
But the most important thing they want people to know is that there is support every step of the way.
“Everybody engaged, wherever you are in chaotic drug use, that you’re welcome here. There’s a place for you. There are options to positive changes,” adds Christopher.
County officials say they have been working to specifically focus on opioid and substance abuse, making sure those who are on the road to recovery can continue with their positive changes.
Delphi Rise and Villa of Hope are just a couple of the many resources available to receive that support.