According to a national advocate in the recovery community, there were 109,000 overdose deaths in the United States last year – deaths that could have been avoided.
That is why, on Labor Day, Ryan Hampton, co-creator of Mobilize Recovery and founder of the nonprofit Voice Project, will kick off a national bus tour in Las Vegas. He’s hoping to help combat the growing crisis of overdose deaths in the country.
Mobilize Recovery is an initiative comprised of people who have lived through addiction recovery to advocate for change in order to end overdose deaths and create solutions for addiction recovery.
The Voices Project is a non-profit organization that works to raise the voices of those affected by addiction and serves as the financial backbone of the Mobilize Recovery Bus Tour.
“One of the tenants and core principles is meeting people where they’re at,” Hampton explained. “And we thought what better way to get into communities, see what’s happening, share that content, share that message with other communities that are looking for solutions, than to do a national bus tour.”
Hampton has recovered from multiple overdoses. He’s been sober since 2015 and credits his recovery to a combination of Medicaid availability and luck. He doesn’t want others to have to be lucky. He felt compelled to speak up and advocate for those in need of assistance, hope, and advocacy.
The bus tour is starting in Las Vegas because Hampton is from there. He claims that Las Vegas is the “Recovery Capital of the Country,” with a sizable peer recovery movement in Clark County.
It runs from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and will be held at the Industrial Event Space, which is located near Sahara Ave and Industrial Rd, close to The STRAT.
Attendees can expect education on key overdose issues as well as training on life-saving items such as Naloxone and fentanyl test strips.
“The most important thing is there is hope,” Hampton said. “There is hope for those who are out there who are looking for help. There is hope for family and there are resources. There are things that we can be doing to prevent another overdose and death.”
Those who are unable to attend in person can view the virtual events that will be held.
Hampton also stated that the upcoming midterm elections are critical for the country’s overdose crisis, stating that politicians must take real, concrete action rather than using it for campaign talking points and rhetoric. That is why they will also be registering voters at each tour stop.
“We know we need a true public health response,” he said. “The overdose crisis is begging, almost, to have a COVID-level response. Given the numbers, for every 10 COVID deaths, there’s one to two overdose deaths with the data that we have. That should shock any Nevadan, any American.”
In Nevada, Hampton reported that over 1,000 people have died from overdoses since October 2020, a 25% increase from the previous year.
“I’ve lost nearly three dozen friends since starting this, every single one of them has been a gut punch,” Hampton said. “But if there’s something we can do to prevent the next one, we’re gonna do it.”
For more information, visit www.mobilizerecovery.org. On Tuesday, the tour will travel to Pahrump and Reno before crossing into California to begin the remainder of its month-long tour.
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