Hundreds run to support addiction treatment and recovery

Hundreds run to support addiction treatment and recovery

More than 200 runners kicked off National Recovery Month at The Perch on Saturday, Aug. 27 for Kennesaw State University’s ninth annual Run for Recovery 5K.

The event served as a fundraiser for the center, ultimately helping students recovering from addiction. The money raised will be used to:

  • provide treatment and support services to students recovering from addictions and eating disorders
  • educate the KSU community on the prevention of addictions and eating disorders
  • spread awareness of the availability of campus and community resources

This is the first year the annual event was hosted by the Center for Health Promotion and Wellness, according to its director Sherry Grable.

“The Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery started the race to provide funding to support the programs they offer for students in recovery from addiction, and this year they were not able to continue the race,” Grable said.

With the torch passed on to her organization, she says they continued with the same goal but included students recovering from eating disorders as well as addictions.

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A race participant ties his shoe's at the starting line of the Run for Recovery 5k. Photo credit: Emily Dukes

The event was hosted in collaboration with the Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery, along with Counseling and Psychological Services and many community partners.

Bethany Wheeler, a dietician with the Center for Health Promotion and Wellness who works closely with eating disorder patients, said most of the runners present at the race had been affected by addiction or eating disorders to some degree. Many were members or graduates of KSU’s Collegiate Recovery Community, a family of students who are in recovery and provide one another with support.

“It makes me smile to see them here flourishing,” Wheeler said. “Many of them have families now, and they’re able to live successful lives.”

Sixty-six students in recovery are currently a part of the Collegiate Recovery Community, and another 150 graduates are now leading healthy, productive lives.

Orinthal Striggles, a mental health counselor and running coach from South Carolina, placed first in the 5K, crossing the finish line in under 18 minutes. Striggles said running served as an outlet and helped him overcome his past substance abuse.

“Running is my recovery and coaching is my therapy,” he said, “or rather the way I extend it to others outside of the professional setting.”

The National Center on Addiction and Drug Abuse reports that nearly 23 percent of all college students meet the medical definition for drug addiction. Additionally, up to 25 percent of college students struggle with an eating disorder, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.

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Runners sprint off the start line at Saturday's Run for Recovery 5k. Photo credit: Cory Hancock

KSU is one of only three universities in Georgia that offer Collegiate Recovery Communities, providing 12-step recovery programs, academic support, off-campus recovery housing, workshops, seminars and scholarships.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration sponsors National Recovery Month every year during September to support the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.

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