Changing the stigma around those battling substance abuse – About Your Online Magazine

A new campaign is working to change the way many people see people recovering from substance abuse.


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Is called Embrace Recovery SC.

“It’s been more than 24 years, and as I went through this journey, one of the biggest things I realized is that I couldn’t do this alone,” said Gregory Jacobs, Recovery Services Coordinator at SC Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services Department (DAODAS).

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Jacobs knows firsthand what it takes to overcome the pain and suffering of a substance use disorder.

“You are afraid of not knowing what the next day will bring, of not knowing whether you are going to live or die the next day,” he said.

Now in long-term recovery, Jacobs is paying it forward, helping others to get the help they need.

“To have someone you have never met before looking them straight in the eye, no matter what you look like or how you feel and say, ‘Hello. Welcome. How can I help you?’ That means a lot, “said Jacobs.

Embrace Recovery SC, the agency is trying to change the narrative and stigma sometimes associated with people in recovery.

“We just want people to know that people in recovery are ordinary, ordinary people,” said Jacobs. “People recover from things every day, but that doesn’t mean they should be seen as different. They should just be seen as a human being recovering from a human condition.”

According to DAODAS, approximately 378,000 people in South Carolina are recovering from a substance abuse disorder.

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A key element in the new campaign is to teach the language of recovery that can help this population understand that they are not to blame.

“Even using the word ‘addict’. Avoid using the word ‘habit’, ‘addict’, ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’,” explained Jacobs. “These terms suggest that the person is the problem.”

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DAODAS is teaming with providers across the state to host a series of events to help teach more people about how they can help.

Governor Henry McMaster says this campaign serves as a reminder that people across the state are eager to help.

In a statement, he said: “I urge Southern Carolinians to seek resources, if they or a loved one are in need, and always remember that they are never alone”

DAODAS is supporting a bill that they hope to pass at the next possible legislative session that would certify “recovery homes”. These are places where recovering people can stay, if they cannot return home. This bill would ensure that living conditions were good and that vital services were provided.

“Unfortunately, there are some bad actors that will make room for someone to just lay their head down, but that’s it,” said Jacobs. “They will not receive any vital services unless they venture out on their own. Some of the living conditions may be substandard.”

To learn more about Embrace Recovery SC, Click here. The drop-down menu has options to help connect you or your loved ones to organizations and providers near you.

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Paula Fonseca