INDIANAPOLIS — The canal downtown will be dyed purple Friday afternoon in honor of September being National Recovery Month. 

It’s to help raise awareness for substance use disorders, treatment, and recovery services. 

The Indiana Addiction Issues Coalition is hosting the event to dye the canal purple. The goal of the month and event is for people to come together and celebrate those in recovery to offer hope to those who are struggling. 

Other organizations across the state are participating to help reduce the stigma around substance use disorders. 

The opioid treatment manager from the Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Tony Toomer, who is also in recovery, says it’s crucial to shed light on how important seeking treatment is. 

“That’s what we have to do to change people’s minds to show them, no we’re not all laying in the streets, we’re not all shooting up, we’re all not life is not that bad. Some of us have recovered, and we are living well in the community,” Toomer said.  

“So recovery is an ongoing process. So that’s where the community comes in, and that’s where we have to fight the stigma because as long as the stigma is there, there will be no resources, and people will not go get treatment and services if they feel like someone is going to judge them for it.” 

Part of this campaign is to fight the stigma against looking for help. 

“You’ve heard the saying that it takes a village to raise a child. It takes a community to support a person in recovery,” said Toomer. 

“In order to change people’s minds about stigma and addiction they are going to have to see the people who have actually been in recovery, who are actually in recovery, who are actually recovering because if you see us as who we are, you begin to see us as human beings. You don’t begin to just see us as our addiction. Once you get to know us, you get to see us, not our addiction.” 

State officials and people in recovery will be at the event to share their stories of hope and recovery. 

Speakers will begin at around 2:30 p.m. with the actual coloring of the canal to start at 3. 

Anyone looking for help can either dial 211 to find services near them or visit the Be Well Indiana website.