People in and seeking recovery from substance use disorders and their friends and family members joined professionals and allies at the state Capitol to mark Stand Up for Recovery Day on April 27. The event, hosted by Wisconsin Voices for Recovery (WVR) and Shatterproof, also offered a virtual option and provided an opportunity to connect and raise awareness about issues that impact the recovery community. Some of those issues included current treatments and legislative policies. Special discussion and training sessions focused on stigma and its impact and how to speak to your legislator.

Wisconsin Voices for Recovery Team

Wisconsin Voices for Recovery Team: (from left) Kellie Juris, BS, outreach specialist; Alison Miller, DO, principal investigator; Meagan Sulikowski, MSW, RC, outreach specialist; Aaron Clayborn, RC, RCT, outreach specialist; Shelbey Hagen, BS, outreach specialist; Lisa Sampson, MBA, former WVR director and current research director; Cindy Burzinski, MS, CSAC, director; Michael Sheridan, RC, RCT, outreach specialist; Sindhu Battula, medical student volunteer.

Throughout the day, family members shared stories of loved ones lost to substance use disorder and listened to special guests like John Nygren, executive director of Wisconsin Association of Health Plans and former legislator in the Wisconsin State Assembly, who shared a personal story of his daughter’s struggle with addiction. Paul Krupski, director of Opioid Initiatives at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services outlined what the state of Wisconsin is doing to meet the needs of people affected by opioid use disorder. Other speakers included State Representative Dianne Hesselbein (D), State Representative John Plumer (R), State Senator Melissa Agard (D), State Senator Patrick Testin (R), and Attorney General Josh Kaul.

In the week leading up to the event, ambassadors from Shatterproof and WVR staff hosted four virtual community discussion sessions to start the conversation on topics ranging from access to affordable treatment, sober and emergency housing, laws regarding non-violent drug/alcohol infractions, and peer support/recovery coach training in jails/prisons.

Channel3000 news coverage of Stand Up for Recovery Day, a recording of the guest speakers and additional pictures from the event are available on the WVR website:

Mark Your Calendar

The 2022 Rally for Recovery is planned for Saturday, September 10th, from 10 am to 2 pm at the state Capitol. This is another opportunity to raise awareness about recovery, reduce stigma, and connect with others. Resource tables, activities, and lunch will be provided.

Published: May 2022