Groups spread important message this Labor Day - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Groups spread important message this Labor Day

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Many across the Tennessee Valley fired up the grill, dressed hot dogs and enjoyed each other’s company this Labor Day. 

But for two groups, it was a day spent spreading an important message. 

“It’s a disease. It’s a health issue, it’s not a criminal one. These people do not belong in jail. They belong in treatment,” Brian Sullivan with Addiction Campuses said. 

“The folks we deal with come from a background of life controlling issues: drug addiction, alcoholism or something that’s keeping them from being who they need to be,” Jon Rector with the Union Gospel Mission said. 

Sullivan and his team with Addiction Campuses are on the road hitting five cities in five days.

“We’ll be stopping in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville, Jackson and Memphis to spread awareness about the disease of addiction and provide educational tools to those seeking help,” Sullivan added.

Their goal: to bury the stigma. 

“There’s a lot of people that need our help in Tennessee and Chattanooga is one of them,” he said. 

A recent report from the CDC shows Tennessee ties with Alabama for having the highest number of painkiller prescriptions. Meaning for every 100 people in the state, there are 143 prescriptions doctors have written to patients for painkillers. 

Sullivan says 10-percent of the nationwide calls coming into Addiction Campuses are from Tennessee. One-fifth of those calls come from Chattanooga. 

Sullivan believes many addictions start or are coupled with a mental disorder or some sort of trauma. 

“If you suffer from some sort of trauma, you need mental help for that. You need to talk to someone about that. Just like if you were in an accident, it’s the same thing,” he said. 

Across town, Jon Rector with the Union Gospel Mission fights a similar battle using faith as a weapon. 

“We get an opportunity to tell them about God and hopefully get an opportunity to build some hope in their life and so that their future can be different than their past,” Rector said. 

Regardless of approach, both groups are on a mission to better the communities they support.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, call Addiction Campuses Confidential 24-Hour Hotline: (888) 614-2251 or click the link for more information.

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