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Recovery resource fair to be held on March 30 at Broadway Ballroom

The event is hosted by Unity Recovery and WEcovery, and a variety of resources will be available, as well as a light meal.

EP Douglas County

ALEXANDRIA โ€” The second annual Alexandria Area Recovery Resource Fair will be held from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, March 30, at Broadway Ballroom.

The event is hosted by Unity Recovery and WEcovery, and a variety of resources will be available, as well as a light meal.

"There will be at least 20 service providers from the community to speak with people, to give out information," said Doug Paulson, licensed alcohol and drug counselor with Unity Recovery. "The providers will all be including (information on) substance use disorder treatment, assessments, harm reduction, prevention and mental health."

This information can be very important, but many people don't have any idea how to access it, Paulson said.

"When you have an addiction, or when your wife, husband, son or daughter is struggling, it's a very tense and emotional time, and where do you reach out to?" he said. "There's not a lot of awareness unless you've had that experience."

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Also at the event there will be a group of speakers, including Mayor Bobbie Osterberg, Police Chief Scott Kent, Dr. Allison Juba of Alomere Health, Tiffany Roberts from WEcovery, and Paulson.

When the event was held last year it was attended by between 60 and 80 people, and 10 service providers took part. This year Paulson is expecting about 100 attendees, he said.

Paulson said he hopes the event will make it easier for those seeking help to do so.

"If I'm struggling with an addiction, it's a little harder to walk into a clinic or treatment center," he said. "This is kind of neutral ground where nobody will be looking at you."

However, the event is not just for those in recovery themselves, Paulson said.

"It's for family members who want more information of what's available in the community, and even community members that want to know what's going on in this community with addiction and recovery," he said. "It'll be open for everybody. That's what we want, and that's why we do this. โ€ฆ

"The important thing is for people to discover that there is help out there, that they're not alone, that there is a whole supportive recovery community within this community," he said.

Paulson, who has himself been clean and sober for 26 years and a drug counselor for more than 20 years, said events like these can also help to stamp out the stigma on addiction and mental health.

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"(They help) people to understand more that these are your friends, neighbors, brothers, sisters," he said. "Alexandria is not immune to having many people with addiction."

Paulson started Unity Recovery almost a year ago, and since the first of October, it has been full with a waiting list.

"It's unfortunate, but I'm glad that I have a service to provide to the community," he said.

Travis Gulbrandson covers several beats, including Osakis School Board and Osakis City Council, along with the Brandon-Evansville School Board. His focus will also be on crime and court news.
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