RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) In Rutland, there are new efforts to curb drug and drug abuse.

On Saturday, the first Stomping the Stigma Walk took place in Rutland Turning Point. It focuses on removing the stigma, increasing community support, encouraging people to seek the help they need, and celebrating the progress that people have made in recovery.

"This disease needs to be treated, the victories have to be celebrated, and we're here today," said Mayor David Allaire. "I think we have our problems like everyone else, but what's different here in Rutland is getting up and dealing with the issues and trying to proactively tackle them, we do it in many different ways, this is an event . " typical of the way we want to talk about celebrating our victories. "

Dozens of people came to Main Street Park to support Turning Point and the people who seek sobriety. Managing Director Tracie Hauck says the center provides more than 600 people a month.

"Turning Point provides peer support for people with substance abuse disorder, we support multiple ways of recovery so we can meet people where they are, we offer recovery coaching," said Hauck. "We offer a variety of self-help groups and our center will be sent to our local correctional facility three days a week in prison for inmates who want to attend."

WCAX News talked to a woman seeking help. Cynthia Boyd told WCAX that she recently celebrated 12 years of recovery, but staying clean is a constant struggle.

"This is a journey we will be on for the rest of our lives," said Boyd. "People seem to think," Oh, you do not use it now. "You need to be healed." No. It's an everyday thing. We appreciate our recovery and it's important for us. what we can do to stay sober and help only the next person. "

Boyd said she had been using drugs for 25 years before seeking rehabilitation. She believes that the stigma is forcing many people to be ashamed and ashamed, to admit that they need help. She believes the more support people have, the sooner they can get on the road to recovery. She said Peer Support helped her get back on her feet.

"Other people like me who had similar stories – maybe not the same – really helped me realize that I'm not a bad person," she said.

Boyd does not urge people who suffer from addiction because she says you never know who is really in need.

"You can never say, you do not know who you could meet, who's recovering, it could be anyone from statehouse to your nearest neighbor, and you just do not know," said Boyd.

Hauck, who is also in recovery, said healing is a lifelong process.

"It's not that you have a big epiphany and you never have the urge to use it again, many people use substances as their coping mechanism, and they need support to find new coping mechanisms," said Hauck. "When people are on their way to recovery and improving their lives, you need to support them, you can not identify them as an addict or a felon, you need to look at what they are doing."

Turning Point hopes to host the Stomping the Stigma event every year.