In 2019, everyone knows something about addiction; whether from personal experiences or news media reports, addiction – especially opioid addiction – is front and center.

Not everyone, though, understands the intersection of addiction and the broad-based negative ripple effects of addiction upon economies and overall community wellness.

James Steele is one of the rare people who does. I have had the privilege of working with James as a member of the Collective Response of the Roanoke Valley – Southwestern Virginia’s largest community response to the addiction epidemic.

James understands the connection between investing in addiction recovery is a foundational tool for larger community renewal and economic development.

James, like myself and many others, understands that we need to focus on solutions; and when it comes to addiction, recovery is the solution. What if we started looking at recovery and funding recovery services from a broader, community building perspective?

In the Roanoke Valley approximately 30,000 are in active addiction and for every one person addicted, there are five people directly impacted meaning over 140,000 people in the Roanoke Valley are directly and negatively impacted by addiction.

Addiction impacts our economy, law enforcement, emergency services, our hospitals, schools, and places of worship; addiction impacts our neighborhoods and our homes.

Recovery is one of the greatest untapped tools for community betterment and development. James Steele understands this.

When we promote and work for recovery all of the Roanoke Valley wins.

When we promote recovery, people are restored to their families, communities; parents stop losing and burying their children; drug and alcohol-related crimes drop freeing up both law enforcement and the criminal justice system. When we promote recovery, our ER’s and EMS personnel stop being overwhelmed with overdoses. When we focus on recovery, lost revenue and wages drop. In short, when we promote and support recovery, entire communities get healthier and happier one person at a time.

Recovery saves lives, families and communities. Recovery builds up local economies and communities. Investing in recovery is a sound economic tool for the Roanoke Valley. Recovery is the solution. Recovery is the answer.

NILES COMER

ROANOKE

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