More than 200 people participated in the first King County Conference on Addiction Disorders on Wednesday, with panelists sharing a range of expertise and lived experience under a theme of reducing the stigma of addiction.
More than 200 people participated in the first King County Conference on Addiction Disorders on Wednesday, with panelists sharing a range of expertise and lived experience under a theme of reducing the stigmatization of addiction.
Organized by King County Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn in response to a reported surge in substance use and mental health issues during the pandemic, the conference took aim at increasing understanding of the physical aspects of addiction and connecting those who struggle with addiction with treatment.
“I want to share my story of recovery because it’s so important to fight those feelings of shame, failure, and hopelessness that prevent folks from seeking help,” Dunn said. “For me, finding treatment and supportive relationships were what really enabled me to achieve long-term sobriety. My message to anyone who is battling addiction is this: recovery is always possible, and there’s an incredible network of people ready to support you when you’re ready to take that step. You’re not alone.”
The event closed with a session on “stories of hope,” where individuals in recovery, including Dunn, shared openly about their own progress, highlighting that recovery is indeed possible for anyone who is a victim of Substance Use Disorder.
To increase the availability of addiction treatment in King County, Dunn recently advocated to dedicate $4 million of King County’s seventh COVID supplemental budget proposal to improving behavioral health services rural in King County. This budget is currently being considered by the King County Council and scheduled for passage in mid-May. Dunn also introduced a motion Thursday seeking to dedicate a portion of funding in the Best Starts for Kids implementation plan to substance use and mental health services and initiatives.
Anyone who is struggling with mental health or substance use disorders can get connected to treatment and resources by calling SAMHSA's National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)—a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service.