Mural Art Project to Highlight New Smoke-Free Policy

Stout Street Foundation and Adams County Health Department Partner to Implement Program ~

The Stout Street Foundation (SSF), located in Commerce City, is a 24-month residential recovery program that supports residents experiencing substance use challenges, including nicotine dependence. Effective May 1st, SSF has partnered with Adams County Health Department (ACHD) and residents to adopt an innovative property-wide smoke-free policy culminating in a community mural art project reflecting SSF’s commitment to change and healing.

Traditionally, substance use treatment and recovery has not included the treatment of nicotine dependence. Public health research demonstrates the importance of addressing nicotine use and substance use treatment at the same time.  SSF residents agree that they can go smoke-free and engage in healing from all substance use.  “Despite traditional practices of treating one substance at a time, we know that when nicotine dependence is treated at the same time as other substances, people are more likely to recover from all substance use,” explains Monica Buhlig, Division Director of Health Equity and Strategic Initiatives at ACHD. “Everyone, including residents experiencing substance use challenges, deserves to have the healthy choice be the easy choice in a smoke-free environment.”  

To recognize the challenge of this shift, local artist, Darrell Anderson, and two Artists in Recovery worked with residents to develop and install a mural. They worked closely with residents to design, sketch, and paint a six-canvas mural that serves as a unifying symbol of residents engaging in the journey of SSF moving to a smoke-free environment.  “Mural making, used in the context of traditional art therapy, has many benefits, especially when done in a common group setting.  More importantly, when this is done between peers in recovery, the process of engaging residents is just as important as the art created,” says Darrell Anderson.

“This year-long process has engaged residents in treatment.  We have traded in our closet of cigarette packs for nicotine replacement therapy.  We now support our residents with a smoke-free environment, and the artwork highlights our commitment to residents and healing,” shares Sharol Wells, CEO and President of SSF.

Stout Street Foundation’s mural was unveiled on May 6, reflecting the community’s commitment to public health innovation and impact by engaging with one another to formally adopt a smoke-free campus on May 1 and treat nicotine dependence among 95 residents since February 1. 

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