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Colorado Springs artist joins state-wide project battling stigma around drug addiction

Lo Gomez
Posted at 6:57 AM, Sep 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-27 12:00:54-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — As National Recovery Month in September comes to an end, one state-wide project is offering an ongoing resource to show support for those battling drug addiction.

The Recovery Cards Project created by Colorado’s opioid anti-stigma campaign, Lift The Label, is reaching out to the community with specially-designed greeting cards with messages of hope. The project lets Colorado residents send these words of inspiration for free to their loved ones battling addiction.

This year, Lo Gomez, a local Colorado Springs artist has been selected to design their own card for the initiative. They said after losing a loved one to addiction in 2015, the effort hit home.

"I feel like I got a lot of closure from being a part of this. It's not something I really talked about too much, so being able to like, feel like I'm doing something meaningful with it and having a background with it was really cool. It definitely helped me heal," Gomez said.

Recovery Cards Project
Lo Gomez, a Colorado Springs artist, joined the Recvoery Cards Project along with artists around the nation for this year's effort.

They said sometimes when you don't have the right words to say to someone recovering, these greeting cards can send a hopeful message.

"I put 'it's okay to ask for help' because I feel like a lot of people don't think it's okay. It's kind of stigmatized in a way," they said. "I think it's just to spread awareness, just to make people more aware that there are people struggling in our community, and instead of like, banishing them or shutting them to the side, we need to reach out and be willing to help and accept and forgive."

In El Paso County there was a 22% increase in drug-related deaths in 2021 compared to the year before, according to last year according to the El Paso County Coroner's Office. The 2021 annual report said this was in large part due to the doubling of fentanyl-related deaths. The National Institute on Drug Abuse said over 20 million people in the United States were diagnosed with a substance use disorder in the past year. Only 10% of those people ever received treatment.

Gomez's card and over 40 others can be found on the Recovery Cards Project website. If you are not a Colorado resident but would still like to send a card there is an option to send a digital version for free.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder there are resources for you. The SAMHSA National Helpline for drug addiction and substance use disorders is 1-800-662-4357. You can also find a treatment center near you by visiting Colorado's Behavioral Health Administration website.
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