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Running for recovery

SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – As part of National Recovery Month Utahns are pounding the pavement this weekend.
SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – As part of National Recovery Month Utahns are pounding the pavement this weekend.

The goal is to raise awareness about the benefits that come from prevention, treatment and recovery for those who struggle with substance abuse.

Christy Dees knows first hand just how long and dark the road to recovery from substance abuse can be.

"I had no idea where to go, what to do," says Dees.

One day that answer came, even though it didn't seem like it when it happened.

"The officer who was arresting me was telling me he was doing me a favor by putting me in the system. At the time I’m like what? That's not a favor," says Dees.

Four and a half years later that message makes more sense. Dees is now an example of moving beyond addiction.

Exactly what the 10th annual Recovery Day Celebration is all about. It started early Saturday morning at the Gallivan Center with a 5k and offered food, entertainment and education through the day.

Drawing thousands of participants with the goal of changing perceptions.

"We want to raise awareness, because so many people because of the negative stigma will not go for help," says Mary Jo McMillen, with Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness, or USARA.

She says people avoid recovery programs a lot in our state.

Those on the front lines, like Dr. Robert Simpson says it's a costly problem for the entire community.

"It needs care over time and that care is expensive, but it's not nearly as expensive as not treating people and having them become incarcerated, having them become chronically ill, having them become estranged from their families," says Simpson.

Especially when recovery is possible, just ask one who has been there.

"There is help out there, there is hope," says Dees.

Organizers of the event are also lobbying law makers for Medicaid expansion in Utah. They say it would make treatment more affordable for people who don’t have the money.

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