AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin woman is helping spread her emotional story of hope in a national message about fighting substance abuse disorder and addiction.

“We have these incredible stories of Ale, Ariel and Joseph, who share their personal journeys, share their stories and share that with hope recovery is possible,” said Kirsten Seckler with Shatterproof, a national nonprofit helping people recover from addiction.

The new campaign is called “Start With Hope” and was created by the Ad Council, the Centers for Disease Control, National Council for Mental Wellbeing and Shatterproof.

“It is a campaign that is meant to help adults who may be at risk or struggling with substance use disorder to start to think about the relationship with substances and to start that recovery journey,” said Seckler.

In one video, Ariel from Austin begins by saying, “substance use disorder and addiction is so isolating and so as a Black woman in recovery, hope must be loud.”

The campaign is available in English and in Spanish, something Seckler said is an important point.

“We’ve designed the Start with Hope campaign to help Black and Hispanic or Latino communities, to motivate them and to help them think about their wellness journey as well as harm reduction opportunities,” Seckler said.

While substance abuse disorder can impact anyone, the campaign points out the Black and Hispanic/Latinx communities have seen sharp increases in overdose rates.

“Because of health inequities and stigma, lack of access to care and lack of culturally relevant information, it was important that we really focus this campaign to assist those who are in need. And we’ve really focused Start with Hope to help Black and Hispanic or Latino communities,” Seckler said.

According to Shatterproof, the CDC found there were over 112,000 fatal overdoses in the 12-month period ending in May 2023. That is the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in the U.S. in a single year. 

“In the state of Texas, nearly 15% of Texans are struggling with substance use disorder. And so you are not alone. We want you to know that we want you to know that recovery is possible,” said Seckler.

“Hope has been proven to be in great motivator,” she said. “And so we want to bring hope to individuals who feel like they may be in the shadows of something that’s creating shame and judgment in their lives.”

In the end of Ariel’s video, she is holding her son and cries while saying “I’m so proud because I did not think I was going to make it. And now I get to call my mom and say I Iove you, I get to teach my son to say I love you.”

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