October 28th, 2020

Walk supports addictions awareness


By Bobinec, Greg on November 26, 2019.

Addiction service providers are joined by advocates and community members in the annual National Addictions Awareness Week Walk, hosted by McMan Mobile Addiction Outreach Initiative, Monday morning from city hall through downtown to the McMan Youth Services offices. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald

gbobinec@lethbridgeherald.com

McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association brought together the fighting organizations for addictions, along with supportive community members to raise awareness for the National Addiction Awareness Week Walk.

The third annual initiative teamed up all addiction service providers to walk and demonstrate the wrap-around supports Lethbridge and area has to offer to disempower the stigma associated with addiction.

“The National Addictions Awareness Week Walk is an opportunity for people to come together and raise awareness around addictions, on the four pillars of addiction,” says Ashlynne Ball, supervisor of McMan Youth Services. “Today we have representation from harm reduction, prevention, treatment, detox, enforcement from all throughout our city, just to raise awareness towards all of the programs that we do have to offer, for people with addictions in our community, as well as an opportunity to raise awareness about the complexity of addiction and that it is not just a one-step approach for everyone who has addictions. But, it is really about looking at each person individually and finding something that works for them to help them get to recovery and improve their health.”

Over the last year, the conversation and concerns surrounding addictions in the community has grown, and through the walk, Ball says they are able to show and educate the public about the different services they offer to make personally designed paths towards individuals’ recovery. She also says while there are services for people battling addiction, some services are still lacking to help in a full circle way.

“I think that with everything that has gone on in the last year with addictions, it is definitely important that people understand that it isn’t just the choice for somebody to pick up a substance to start using,” says Ball. “We need to look at the social factors like housing and the lack of housing that we have in our community, that we look at issues like health care, look at things like the supervised consumption site, and we do have some treatment services but not near enough, and not enough pre-imposed treatment beds.”

Many community supporters who have undergone addiction and the process to get clean, along with people who have been around addictions in their life, came out for the walk to support the movement and education of the beneficial and life-changing services and organizations the area has to offer.

“I am here today because I have been sober for 20 years and I know some people who have alcohol addictions and I would like to support that,” says Judy Sept, walk supporter. “It is really important because alcohol is really bad. I have many friends that have died from drinking and I like to support the walk and some of SAGE Clan are here for the walk, too, which I volunteer with, and I have seen people with addictions to drugs and alcohol through my time with them so it is very important for people to get involved with these walks and see what it is all about.”

Individuals and groups sported signs, shirts and banners to demonstrate their support for people who are experiencing addiction, are affected by addiction, or to commemorate those lost through addiction, drugs or alcohol.

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