SEARHC honors National Recovery Month in September

August 25 2010

September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is partnering with community programs throughout the region to host special events in Sitka, Juneau, Haines and Prince of Wales Island during this month. National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month is hosted nationally by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). This year’s theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Now More Than Ever.” Alcohol and substance abuse issues have had tragic effects on Alaska. According to the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics, in 2005 Alaska Natives had an alcohol-induced death rate more than four times as high as whites. Alaska consistently has had an alcohol-induced death rate more than twice that of the rest of the United States, and Alaska Natives account for almost half of these deaths. The 2008 state-sponsored Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) estimates 16 percent of Southeast Alaska adults have binged on alcohol in the past month and 6.5 percent are heavy/chronic users. The estimated 15.5 percent of Southeast Alaska adults who have ever abused or been dependent on alcohol is more than double the U.S. rate. To help people in their recovery, SEARHC offers three residential substance abuse treatment centers in Sitka — Yéil Jeeyáx Raven’s Way for adolescents (ages 13-18), Gunaanastí Bill Brady Healing Center for adults and Déilee Hít Safe Harbor House for women. SEARHC provides outpatient alcohol and substance abuse treatment through its Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít behavioral health clinic in Sitka, its Juneau Behavioral Health Clinic, and through the Community Family Services program in nine communities — Angoon, Craig, Haines, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Kake, Klawock, Klukwan and Petersburg. SEARHC also offers a Behavioral Health Prevention Program that works with schools and youth groups to prevent youth alcohol and substance abuse use in Angoon, Haines, Juneau, Kake, Klawock, Klukwan and Sitka. In addition, SEARHC offers a toll-free 24/7 SEARHC Help Line at 1-877-294-0074 for Southeast residents who need help in a crisis. In Sitka, the SEARHC Behavioral Health Division is partnering with Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV), Sitka Tribe of Alaska (STA), Ed and Clara Gray, Sitka Counseling And Prevention Services (SCAPS) and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sitka to offer a series of weekly recovery events on Saturdays during September. In Juneau, the SEARHC Juneau Behavioral Health Clinic is partnering with the Tlingít and Haida Indians of the City and Borough of Juneau, the Central Council of Tlingít and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, and the many other partners in the community group Voices for Recovery to offer events on International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day on Thursday, Sept. 9. Voices of Recovery also is offering a film festival, art show, poetry jam and SoberFest party in Juneau for recovery month. In Haines, the SEARHC Behavioral Health office also is hosting its first Recovery Month event in partnership with the Chilkoot Indian Association. The third annual Prince of Wales Sobriety Walk is part of an all-day event in Craig that includes a basketball tournament, bicycle rodeo, children’s events and potluck dinner, which is held in partnership with the Klawock Senior Center. Also on Prince of Wales, school presentations about drug and alcohol use will be made at various times during the month in Kasaan, Klawock and Craig. Gov. Sean Parnell also issued a proclamation about International FASD Awareness Day on Thursday, Sept. 9, reminding women that FASD is 100-percent preventable if pregnant women don’t drink during their pregnancies. According to Harry Bradley, a counselor supervisor with the Gunaanastí Bill Brady Healing Center, the purpose of these events is two-fold. “The first is to support and encourage people in recovery as well as their families and friends. The second is to increase the community’s awareness and understanding of the agencies and support services that are available to assist and provide prevention services, substance abuse treatment, mental health care and community support. During the month of September, we hope to have as many individuals, agencies and schools involved as possible in these scheduled community-wide events.” “This is going to be exciting since this is going to be our first year putting something on for our community for Recovery Month,” said ReGina Rioux, a SEARHC Community Family Service Worker in Haines. “I am hoping we reach all ages to come and listen and have a great time with friends and family and make new friends along finding support in our wonderful community of Haines. This will be an opportunity for an alcohol- and drug-free activity for Haines and we hope similar events will continue throughout the year.” National Recovery Month Events
  • JUNEAU, Every Wednesday, Sept. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, 7-9 p.m. — Recovery Film Festival at the Gold Town Nickelodean movie theater downtown, variety of free films about recovery, special event on Sept. 22, with “About Face” documentary about Anchorage musician Gwen Bradshaw’s journey from tragedy to healing (Gwen will attend to answer questions), Contact, Teri Tibbett, 465-4765.
  • JUNEAU, Friday, Sept. 3, 5-7 p.m. — Art of Recovery, all month art show with opening reception on Sept. 3, Silverbow Inn Back Room Art Gallery, event showcases artwork inspired by the journey to recovery from addiction disorders and/or mental illness, Contact, Teri Tibbett, 465-4765.
  • SITKA, Saturday, Sept. 4, 5-10 p.m. — Potluck and talking circle, SEARHC Community Health Services building first-floor conference room, Contact: Harry Bradley, 966-8655.
  • SITKA, Saturday, Sept. 11, noon-5 p.m. — Canoe journey/ceremony, Hashagoon Drum and open mike, meet at noon at Mt. Edgecumbe High School boat ramp for paddle in Sitka Sound that will end at the ramp behind Harrigan Centennial Hall, Contact: Harry Bradley, 966-8655.
  • SITKA, JUNEAU and OTHER COMMUNITIES, Thursday, Sept. 9, all day — International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day, restaurants and bars statewide, including several in Sitka and Juneau, will offer free non-alcoholic beverages to pregnant women so they don’t endanger their babies with alcohol, Contact: Gayle Young, 966-8815 in Sitka, or Teri Tibbett, 465-4765, in Juneau.
  • JUNEAU, Saturday, Sept. 18, 7-9 p.m. — Recovery Poetry Jam in Room 113 of the Hendrickson Building on the University of Alaska Southeast-Juneau Campus, powerful poetry, cash prizes, refreshments and a relaxing atmosphere, Contact: Gus Marx, 523-6511.
  • SITKA, Saturday, Sept. 18, 3-7 p.m. — Sobriety walk from Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi tribal house to the Yei éek kwa néix Wellbriety totem pole in front of the SEARHC Community Health Services building, followed by an open mike with totem pole carver Wayne Price as guest, Contact: Harry Bradley, 966-8655.
  • JUNEAU, Friday, Sept. 24, 7-11 p.m. — SoberFest, at Juneau Arts & Culture Center (former National Guard Armory), features live music, dancing, food and fun in celebration of recovery, free and open to the public, Contact: Teri Tibbett, 465-4765.
  • SITKA, Saturday, Sept. 25, 6 p.m.-midnight — Sobriety potlatch celebration with ceremony, dancing and drumming, at SEARHC Community Health Services building first-floor conference room, Contact: Harry Bradley, 966-8655.
  • HAINES, Saturday, Sept. 25, 6-11 p.m. — National Recovery Month potlatch and dance at Alaska Native Brotherhood/Alaska Native Sisterhood Hall, Contact: ReGina Rioux, 766-6379.
  • CRAIG, Saturday, Sept. 25, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. — Prince of Wales Sobriety Walk at Craig High School, events include a two-mile scenic walk around Craig about 11 a.m., a basketball tournament, bicycle rodeo, children’s events and a community potluck dinner about 5 p.m., Contact Richard Hamilton, 755-4935.
  • PRINCE OF WALES ISLAND, various dates and times — School presentations on alcohol and substance abuse, first week to Kasaan elementary students, second week to Klawock all grades, third week to Craig high school students, fourth week to Craig elementary/middle school students., Contact Richard Hamilton, 755-4935.