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‘Recovery Out Loud’ celebration and NARCAN awareness set for Friday
Some of the Lived Experiences group involved in the upcoming Recovery Out Loud event in Jack Kilby Square pose with luminaries that will line the courthouse square this Friday evening. Those pictured include (in no particular order) Valencia Reif, Amanda Howard, Tara Buess, Gwen Finnigan, Christy Contreras, Kylie Rowe and Amy Ferguson. - photo by Susan Thacker

The stories about substance use disorder (SUD) that appear in news headlines are seldom positive, but the experiences that lead to recovery are something to celebrate. That is the premise behind a gathering set for Friday evening in Jack Kilby Square.

In honor of National Recovery Month, Rise Up Central Kansas is sponsoring “Recovery Out Loud - Every Voice Matters,” at 6:30 p.m. One hour earlier, starting at 5:30, there will be a NARCAN Awareness March, also in the square.

Rise Up Coordinator Amy Ferguson said the gathering is a chance for people in the community to hear “the other side of the story,” the stories of people as they work on their recovery from substance use, trauma, mental illness or other life issues, and to celebrate with them.

.NARCAN is a medication that can save the life of someone who has overdosed on opiods. During the first part of the program, Oxford Sober Living members will give trainings and provide information on how to get a free NARCAN kit.

For Recovery Out Loud, friends and family members of those recovering will share their experiences. There will be free hot dogs for the first 300 people. As dusk approaches, more than 600 “stigma bursting” luminaries lining the courthouse square will be lit.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there, Ferguson said. Substance use and other issues can affect people of all ages and from all walks of life. The luminaries were decorated with positive messages by people in many groups: Stepping Stones, Barton County Health Department, Barton County Detention Center, the Girls and Boys Homes, The Center for Counseling and Zero Reasons Why, The Dream Center, Central Kansas Community Corrections, Core Communities, Kansas Children’s Service League, Central Kansas Partnership Youth Crew, Juvenile Services, Oxford Sober Living, Family Crisis Center and Pilot Club.

Rise Up Central Kansas is part of the Central Kansas Partnership.