Letter from the Executive Director

2022 September, Letter from the Executive Director, Newsletter

I hope this newsletter finds you and your loved one’s safely through the storm. With the threat of high winds and storm surge behind us, I am looking forward to beginning the recovery process. I am eager to clear away the downed branches, empty the fridge, move my furniture back to its place, and take a breather…and a nap!

This process of uncertainty, fear of potential perils, bracing for the worst, and the relief and recovery or grief that accompanies our experience of storms is astonishingly similar to that of walking alongside a loved one with substance use disorder or experiencing the final days of active addiction. The heartbreaking difference is that the collective relief and mutual support that permeates neighborhoods, fills apartment complexes, and animates small towns during a hurricane and its aftermath is often absent when facing the storms of addiction and the first steps of recovery.

This is why we celebrate September as Recovery Month and why we pause to remember all those who lost their lives to overdose on August 31st, International Overdose Awareness Day. This is why Live Tampa Bay reached out to mayors from across the region to light the night sky purple in remembrance and to pass proclamations recognizing September as Recovery Month. And this is why Mayor Castor (Tampa), Mayor Brown (Bradenton), Mayor Marlowe (New Port Richey), and Mayor Welch (St Petersburg) responded. As regional leaders they understand that healing happens in community and connection is the opposite of addiction.

Jennifer Webb

Executive Director, Live Tampa Bay

Mayor Brown: “I am proud to join with our regional mayors to recognize those in our community that are in recovery.  The addiction epidemic affects all of us in some way. Every person, every family, every community. It’s important not only to remember those we have lost, but also to celebrate those who have recovered and to show that recovery is possible.  I invite our community to join us as we light our buildings purple in honor of those we have lost to the disease of addiction and declare September National Recovery Month in the city of Bradenton.”

Mayor Castor: “Today we remember the lives lost too soon due to addiction. We illuminate our city purple tonight to both honor them and mark the beginning of September as National Recovery Month. People can overcome the disease of addiction. Data show that meaningful employment is one of the most important factors in sustaining recovery. My administration’s focus on workforce development helps us meet individuals where they are now to begin building a healthy future for themselves and their families.”

Mayor Marlowe: “I am honored to take part in this day of remembrance with my fellow mayors for those who have lost their lives to the disease of addiction. The city of New Port Richey is proud to light our bridge purple to not only remember those we have lost to addiction, but also to recognize those who have found recovery. We ask that our communities join us as we work to reduce barriers to recovery, combat stigma, and work together for solutions to this epidemic.”

Mayor Welch: “It is an honor to join mayors from across the region to remember those who have lost their lives to addiction and to recognize those who are bravely in recovery. Data show young people, communities of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals are disproportionally affected by this epidemic. Naloxone, increased access to treatment, and medication innovations are all shown to help combat addiction. We must work toward solutions for every member of our community, regardless of race, socio-economic status, or other factors. We are all in this together and must work together for a better tomorrow.”

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