A bipartisan group of members of Congress will take part in several activities, including turning Congress purple, as part of National Recovery Month.
Lawmakers will take part in a number of virtual and in-person events throughout the month to bring awareness to those in recovery. On Sept. 16, Congress members will hold a virtual “Congress Goes Purple” initiative.
The second year for the Congress Goes Purple campaign, members will wear purple to bring awareness to the addiction epidemic. Purple is the color associated with recovery, and many communities across the country have started their own “Go Purple” campaigns.
Congressmembers taking part include the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force; the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus; and the Bipartisan Freshmen Working Group on Addiction, as well Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
“Recovering from addiction is a huge challenge under the best of circumstances, but even more so with the heightened anxiety and reduced access to in-person services during the pandemic,” said Blunt. “We worked in a bipartisan, bicameral way to quickly get emergency resources out to states and organizations to help them support people in recovery. I hope National Recovery Month will give us an opportunity to continue raising awareness around this issue and the need for a sustained federal commitment to ensuring people suffering from a mental health or addiction issue are able to get the care they need.”
According to the group, one in seven individuals experience addiction at some point in their life, and one in two know someone impacted by addiction. Some 20.2 million Americans identify themselves as someone in recovery from a drug or alcohol use problem.
Preliminary numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released in July indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant barriers to recovery for those with substance use disorder. Social isolation, difficulties in getting in-person treatment, and the inability to meet in-person for peer support groups has negatively impacted those in recovery. In July, the CDC said 70,000 people died of an overdose in 2019 – a record. The CDC said it anticipates that this year’s number of overdose deaths will exceed that.