Chardon “Walk for an Addiction Free Society”


On September 26, 2010, more than 70 people from all over Geauga County gathered to celebrate recovery from substance abuse addiction. The National Addiction Recovery Month theme this year is, “Now More than Ever.”

2010 Geauga WalkPeople in recovery from addictions, family members, community and business leaders and many others gathered to highlight and celebrate restored lives and salute the treatment professionals who helped them heal.

The “Walk for an Addiction Free Society” started in the Maple Leaf Plaza where Beth Matthews, Director of Administration and Prevention Services at the Geauga County Board of Mental Health Recovery Services, offered a warm welcome to all participants.

Melanie Blasko, LPC, LICDC, President & CEO of Lake Geauga Recovery Centers, Inc., also spoke and said that 63% of Ohio adults have a family member or friend with mental illness or addiction. Additionally, 83% of adults understand that mental illnesses are diseases of the brain, but that only 59% are convinced that addiction is a disease. Also, in these challenging economic times, investing in treatment makes economic sense. It costs 15% less to provide comprehensive treatment than to incarcerate someone for a year – and recovery has the added benefit in that it returns people to productive lives.

The walkers made several stops along the way to the Gazebo in the Chardon Town Square. At the Geauga United Way office, Kathleen Munch, Resource Development and Communications Manager, spoke about the importance of making recovery services available to all. Three people currently in recovery spoke about their personal experiences and the help they received from professionals, non-professionals, family and friends.

Participants received t-shirts, snacks and beverages, and experienced fun and fellowship.

The public celebration of recovery helps inform the community about the nature of addiction. There are many mis-conceptions that cause people to believe addiction is a choice and that those who are addicted are weak-willed and incompetent. Events such as the “Walk for an Addiction Free Society” raise awareness that substance use and abuse are behavioral issues, but addiction is a complex medical, bio-psychosocial, intellectual condition that affects one in ten Americans. Such a condition needs caring and skilled treatment.

We are grateful to the City of Chardon, the Chardon Police Department, Lake Geauga Recovery Centers, Inc., The Geauga County Board of Mental Health and Recovery Services, United Way Services of Lake and Geauga Counties and the many others who made this event possible.

For more information about substance use, abuse and dependency, please contact Lake-Geauga Recovery Centers at (440) 285-9119 or visit our web site at