Georgia Council on Substance Abuse

Ellen Eldridge / GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp made an appearance Tuesday morning at the Georgia Freight Depot, where hundreds of people in longterm recovery from addiction gathered to celebrate Addiction Recovery Awareness Day.

The message from the community to Kemp is that people in recovery come from across the state. They get better, they buy homes and they vote,  Executive Director of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse Neil Campbell said.

"It's not just an Atlanta thing," Cambpell said. "It's not just a legislature thing. It's a Georgia thing that there are people in recovery all over who want to help."

But as much as they want to help, they need help, too.

Georgia Council on Substance Abuse

Billboards, telling stories of recovery from addiction, are now live across the state. The campaign was announced earlier this month by Georgia Recovers.

The money for the billboard campaign comes from Congress’s response to the opioid crisis, and the funds were distributed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Georgia Council on Substance Abuse Executive Director Neil Campbell said.

GPB/Parrish Walton

Opioid addiction does not discriminate. It affects families and communities at every socioeconomic level and in every region in Georgia. "On Second Thought" looked at how the opioid crisis affects construction workers. A study from health researchers found construction workers and people in related fields are six times more likely to die of opioid overdoses than the general population. 

Tim Stephens is a peer recovery coach with the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse. He's been in long-term recovery since 2012. Stephens has also worked in the construction industry. He shared his story about the business and his recovery experience. Laurisa Barthen also joined the conversation. Barthen is the outreach and communications manager with the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse.

Eric Norris / flickr

The Georgia Senate passed a bill last month to tighten regulation of methadone clinics. Methadone treats opioid addiction by blocking withdrawal symptoms. Georgia has more than 70 clinics, the most in the South. We talked about this with Neil Campbell, who oversees the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse.