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Sober Nation

Putting Recovery On The Map

01-23-19 | By

Specialty License Plates to Support Recovery Are About to Hit the Road.

The recovery movement is about to hit the road.

How often do you see specialty license plates jetting down the interstate benefitting charities to protect wildlife or sea turtles? Maybe you’re one of those people, and maybe you enjoy seeing new ones as you’re on your morning commute to work.

Well, Virginia residents may see a new colorful plate in the coming months that’s all about recovery.

Could this be the catalyst that will change the game for recovery and challenge the stigma that so many of us see?

Recovery On The Road

Virginian Democratic Delegate Kaye Kory is sponsoring a bill to the Virginia Legislature that will allow individuals to show their support for recovery through their license plate.

In Virginia, a new speciality license plate has been created to support addiction recovery efforts in the state and the SpiritWorks Foundation Center in for the Soul in Williamsburg along with three other non-profits is attempting to make the plate a reality. Proceeds from the license plate sales will go into a fund designated to support recovery in Virginia.

As the opioid epidemic has his the state especially hard, in 2016 there were 1,130 opioid-related overdose deaths in Virginia and since 2010, the number of heroin-related overdose deaths increased tenfold – from 45 to 450.

SpiritWorks Foundation Center for the Soul/Facebook

Virginia Legislation

And while the state continues to battle, medical professionals and politicians continue to fight harder than ever. In 2016, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed four bills to take action statewide and measures continue to be implemented.

“Abuse of opioids continues to kill Virginians,” said McAuliffe. “We recognize that addiction is a disease, not a moral failing, and our proposals for this General Assembly session focused on preventing addiction and providing treatment for those who suffer from it. ”

The bills that are currently in effect include:

  • SB848 and HB1453 which allow community organizations to possess and dispense naloxone to those that they train to use it.
  • HB2317, which allows local departments of health administer harm reduction programs in parts of the state with very high rates of HIV and Hep C, exchanging dirty syringes for clean ones.
  • HB1786, which initiates a family assessment and plan of care from local social services if a child is found to have been exposed to substances in the womb.
  • HB2165, which mandates that all opioid prescriptions will be transmitted to pharmacies electronically by 2020 and creates a workgroup to study how to implement this change.

Reducing Stigma

As the Virginia legislation took hold in 2016, so did multiple non-profits, civilians, and treatment facilities armed and ready to combat the epidemic.

As recovery is becoming more and more mainstream, there are those that feel a recovery license plate may be too invasive or revealing of the person behind the wheel – while there are those who are ready to break the barrier of stigma and represent recovery.

Bills were passed and measures were taken to provide treatment services, but will state legislatures realize the nature of the stigma that a simple license plate could break?

We may see begin to see license plates changing in the near future.

The foundation reports it needs to pre-sell 450 license plates. Applications for the new plate can be obtained, here.

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