WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), introduced a bipartisan resolution recognizing September, 2021 as “National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.” The senators’ resolution comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to make substance abuse treatment, prevention, and recovery more difficult—isolating many Americans struggling with mental health challenges and substance use disorders, and separating them from their support networks. In 2020, over 93,000 Americans died from drug related overdoses, including nearly 1,300 in West Virginia, according to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Office of Drug Control Policy; both numbers represent new records for the highest year of overdose deaths ever recorded.

“As addiction continues to devastate communities and families throughout West Virginia, it’s incredibly important that we raise awareness of the available treatment and recovery measures. I am hopeful that with the introduction of the National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month Resolution, more people will become educated about treatment options. This is a critical component of the spectrum of solutions needed to save lives and fight back against the scourge of addiction, and I am proud to lead my colleagues in introducing this resolution,” Senator Capito said.

“The drug epidemic continues to ravage our communities across West Virginia. Last year alone, we lost 1,373 West Virginians to drug related overdoses, and the COVID-19 pandemic made this heartbreaking issue much worse,” Senator Manchin said. “Every West Virginian is impacted by substance use disorder, and it is our responsibility to provide our family, friends and neighbors with the support and recovery services they need and deserve. I am proud to join my bipartisan colleagues in designating September as National Recovery Month to help bring awareness to this crisis facing so many of our fellow Americans and West Virginians.”

During the COVID–19 pandemic, increased isolation and reduced access to treatment programs have contributed to an increase in individuals reporting anxiety and depression disorders. Over the course of the last 18 months, 13% of Americans reported starting or increasing substance use.

In addition to Senators Capito and Manchin, the resolution—which was led by Senators Capito and Angus King (I-Maine) was cosponsored by Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). 

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