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DBHDS News Releases

For Immediate Release:
  August 31, 2010
[ link to pdf ]                                                                  

Governor McDonnell Proclaims September “Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month”

Richmond – According to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 23.1 million people in the United States have been classified with substance use disorders in the past year. In Virginia, more than 180,450 people over age-12 are estimated to abuse or be dependent on an illicit drug, and more than 476,200 Virginians over age-12 abuse or are dependent on alcohol. Citing the problems associated with substance abuse as well as the possibility for people to recover and lead healthy and productive lives, Governor Bob McDonnell proclaimed September “Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month” in Virginia.

“Abuse of drugs and alcohol can have devastating consequences on individual lives, families and communities,” said DBHDS Commissioner Jim Stewart. “But there is great potential for recovery when individuals take responsibility for their illness, seek help and develop a sense of hope for the future. This month is an opportunity for people to share their inspiring recovery experiences with others.”

The purpose of Recovery Month is to raise awareness about the effectiveness of substance abuse treatment, promote the message that recovery from substance abuse is possible, and celebrate the thousands of Virginians who are in long-term recovery from substance abuse.

Substance Abuse Statistics:

  • Nearly three percent or over 180,450 Virginians are dependent on or abuse illicit drugs and over seven percent or over 476,200 Virginians are dependent on or abuse alcohol.
  • There were 735 deaths from drugs or poisoning in 2008 and 450 were from prescription drug misuse or abuse. Such misuse of prescription drugs has increased by 90 percent since 1999.
  • The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission found that untreated substance abuse cost the Commonwealth at least $613 million in 2006 alone.
  • About 70 percent of people in Virginia’s criminal justice system have a substance abuse problem.
  • In 2009, Virginia’s 40 community services boards treated 44,670 individuals for substance abuse disorders.
  • Many Virginians are not getting the treatment they need. A 2007 SAMHSA report indicates that 157,000 Virginians needed but did not receive treatment for illicit drug use, and 446,000 Virginians needed but did not receive treatment for alcohol use.

Substance use disorders are types of mental disorders that are "related to the taking of a drug of abuse (including alcohol), to the side effects of a medication, and to toxin exposure" (DSM IV, Fourth Edition). There are two levels of substance use disorders: substance addiction (dependence) or substance abuse:

  • Substance addiction (dependence), is the uncontrollable substance-seeking behavior involving compulsive use of high doses of one or more substances resulting in substantial impairment of functioning and health.
  • Substance abuse is a maladaptive pattern of substance use manifested by recurrent and significant adverse consequences related to the repeated use of substances.

For more information about Recovery Month in Virginia, including a search function for local events, please visit:


Available to citizens statewide, Virginia’s public mental health, intellectual disability and substance abuse services system is comprised of 40 community services boards (CSBs) and 16 state facilities. DBHDS seeks to promote dignity, choice, recovery, and the highest possible level of participation in work, relationships, and all aspects of community life for individuals with a mental illness, intellectual disability or a substance-use disorder. 

1220 Bank Street P.O. Box 1797 Richmond, Virginia 23218-1797
Phone: (804) 786-3921
Fax: (804) 371-6638 Web site:


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