Campaign looks to take the stigma out of staying sober

Mark Willingham Uncategorized

Campaign looks to take the stigma out of staying sober

Spectrum News 1

By Courtny Gerrish Green Bay

September 7, 2021

GREEN BAY, Wis. — There is a push in Brown County to make staying away from alcohol and drugs socially acceptable. The county executive proclaimed September as “Sober Green Bay Campaign Month.”

The campaign looks to reduce the stigma of Green Bay being labeled a “drunk city” and hopes to change the narrative. It needs community members help to do so.

John Plageman, who works at the Brown County Aging and Disability Resource Center, said he is hoping for the community to rally behind the issue. 

“Even if you do drink, you can still be a part [of], and support, this campaign, because almost everybody is affected by somebody who is struggling with alcohol,” he said. 

The county cited recent data that shows around 8.1% of Wisconsinites have a substance use disorder. When you look at Brown County, Plageman said 28% of residents binge drink. 

He broke the numbers down even further and pointed out almost one in three residents are binge drinkers.

Plageman shared his agency hopes to partner with businesses, agencies, restaurants and bars on this effort. 

“We would love bartenders to be sober friendly to people who don’t drink,” he said.

Sober Green Bay stickers are posted around downtown; Plageman also hopes to reach many people with the Sober Green Bay cards. On the back is a QR code to local alcohol and drug recovery resources.

“That’s the most important part, is reaching those people that are looking for assistance,” Plageman said. “Reaching those family members, those caregivers that don’t know where to start.  And if they see the business card, if they see a yellow balloon, they can start.”