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A&E's Recovery Rally to Highlight the Effectiveness of Treatment and the Plight of Millions
More than ten thousand individuals and families in recovery, treatment partners and advocates from all fifty states will join together for a rally at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, followed by a symbolic walk across the historic Brooklyn Bridge and a special musical performance by legendary singer/songwriter Smokey Robinson on Saturday, September 12. The A&E Recovery Rally -- organized in partnership with Faces and Voices of Recovery, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the 2009 Recovery Month Planning Partners - highlights the second year of the award-winning The Recovery Project, a multi-faceted, multi-year initiative led by A&E Network to raise awareness that addiction is a treatable disease and recovery is possible.
A&E Recovery Rally participants from across the region, together with 51 Recovery Delegates representing all fifty states and the District of Columbia, will gather beginning at 8:30a.m. in Foley Square. HLN Anchor Jane Velez-Mitchell (Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell) will serve as the master of ceremonies for the Rally and sign copies of her new book, "iWant," which chronicles her own struggles with addiction. R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, will give welcoming remarks and congratulate Rally participants on their recovery journey. Additional speakers will include: Karen Carpenter-Palumbo, commissioner of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS); and Bob DeBitetto, President and General Manager of A&E Network and BIO Channel.
"The Recovery Project continues to be an extremely important and rewarding initiative for A&E, which reinforces our commitment to positively impacting individuals and communities beyond our programming," said DeBitetto. "Addiction in America is a significant public health challenge that has yet to receive the mainstream attention and resources it merits. We will continue to do our part to elevate awareness about the pervasiveness of addiction, as well as the real hope for recovery when addicts can get the help they need and deserve."
At 9:30am, the Recovery Delegates -- role models who are working to help others in their communities address their addiction - will lead the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. The walk participants will then gather at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn for a performance by Mr. Robinson at 11:15am. Smokey Robinson's live concert performance for The Recovery Project, as well as an in-depth interview with host Lynn Hoffman, will appear exclusively on A&E's hit weekly music series Private Sessions on Sunday, September 27th at 9am ET/PT. WABC-TV Sports Anchor and Sports Director Scott Clark, who is also in recovery, will serve as the emcee for the Brooklyn portion of the event.
Rally participants from across the region will travel to downtown Manhattan via train, special ferry service and more than 80 buses. They will include individuals in recovery and advocates from a variety of respected treatment programs and organizations: 1,200 people from Phoenix House; 80 veterans, in uniform, from Samaritan Village's Veterans Program, which addresses the unique needs of veterans suffering from the disease of addiction; students from Rutgers Recovery House, the country's first residential dorm specifically for students in recovery; more than 200 nurses from the OASAS Nurse Advisory Panel; and a performance by the ARC Gospel Choir, a 30-person choir from the Addicts Rehabilitation Center in Harlem, which provides treatment, therapy and housing to people in recovery.
Last year's Recovery Rally drew more than 5,000 people, who shared remarkable stories of determination and hope. A&E is building on the success of the 2008 The Recovery Project by partnering with Faces and Voices of Recovery and expanding the initiative's national footprint to support more than ninety additional rallies across the country during September, which is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.
More than 22 million Americans* struggle with addiction to alcohol and other drugs, yet fewer than ten percent receive the treatment they need because of stigma, lack of awareness or cost. The Recovery Project - inspired by the incredible response from viewers, individuals and families in recovery to the Emmy™ nominated documentary series Intervention -- strives to shed light on the scope of the addiction crisis and its impact on society.
During the 20th anniversary of National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in September, AETN networks - including A&E Network, History, BIO Channel, and the Crime & Investigation Network - will air public service advertisements highlighting the importance of treatment and the hope for recovery. Benjamin Bratt, Whoopi Goldberg and MC Hammer are among the celebrities featured in the campaign.
The Recovery Project was nominated for a 2009 PRISM Award™ in the Public Service Project category. The PRISM Awards honor productions that realistically depict substance abuse and addiction, as well as mental health issues. The Recovery Project was also recognized with a 2009 PR News Corporate Social Responsibility Award in the Cause Branding Campaign category. In addition, ASAP New York, the largest association of addiction treatment providers in New York State, recognized A&E with a Community Service Award and the NCADD has presented The Recovery Project with its Corporate Partnership Award.
A dedicated web site, www.therecoveryproject.com, provides information about the initiative and includes ways for individuals to get involved.
On the grassroots level, The Recovery Project will continue to work with local organizations to help them create their own awareness events. A&E will continue to co-host, along with the Partnership, and leading MSOs such as Time Warner Cable, Cox and Comcast, "Intervention" Town Hall meetings in cities across the country. The Town Hall meetings offer opportunities for parents, teens, addicts, government officials, health professionals, substance abuse prevention experts and educators to develop a better understanding about the root causes and consequences of addiction. Other educational outreach initiatives include co-sponsorship of a Time To Talk™ parent guide, developed by the Partnership, focuses on preventing addiction by fostering better communication between teens and their parents about drugs.
*Source: Overview of Findings from the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health