Nic Sheff in the foreground, and hills in the background

Orange County Hosts Multiple Events During National Recovery Month

Community & Services

September is National Recovery Month, a national observance that promotes and supports new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation. Orange County is hosting several events in support of the observance.

On September 29, Orange County Drug-Free Office and Central Florida Cares Health System will present the Better Together Symposium, a collaborative discussion among leaders on the impact mental health and substance use has on people in recovery and individuals in the community. The event will bring together community leaders to discuss trauma-informed care, suicide prevention, substance use disorder recovery, and peer support. “This symposium is vital because our words matter,” said Thomas Hall, director, Coalition for a Drug-Free Community at Orange County Government. “Reducing stigma is a key to recovery and resilience, and by bringing together community leaders to tackle the topic of mental health and substance use disorders, we can share our insights and learn innovative ways to help those who need it most.”

The keynote speaker for the symposium is Florida State Senator Darryl Rouson, who will share his recovery journey and the opportunity for all to change how we talk about substance use and mental health disorders.

On September 30, Orange County Drug-Free Office is sponsoring a five-hour training for first responders — Building Resiliency Against Traumatic Stress, Compassion Fatigue, and Burnout. Thomas Gillan will lead the training session. He is a national trainer who works exclusively with first responders.

In addition, on September 30, the Orange County Drug-Free Office – along with UCF, Rollins College, Full Sail College, and Freedom Springs Recovery High School – will also present the Higher Education Conference. The keynote speaker for the conference is Nic Sheff, author of the New York Times best-selling book Tweak. He will discuss his recovery from methamphetamine addiction. Andrew Finch, Ph.D., associate professor at Vanderbilt University, will discuss his research on collegiate and high school recovery. There will also be a panel discussion on current drug trends.

After the conference, there will be a free screening of the film Beautiful Boy at Regal Cinema in Waterford Lakes. The movie is based on Sheff’s life and chronicles his descent into methamphetamine addiction and recovery.  Beautiful Boy was produced by Brad Pitt and starred Steve Carell as David Sheff and Timothée Chalamet as Nic. Following the movie, Sheff will be in person to discuss the film and his journey to sobriety.

For the Higher Education Conference, in-person registration is required. Register for the free screening of Beautiful Boy by going to Night with Nic Sheff.  For more information on local recovery strategies and programs, go to Orange County Drug-Free Coalition.

Photo caption: Nic Sheff, New York Times best-selling author, joins Orange County Government’s Drug Free Office, to support Recovery Month events in September. 


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