CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Department of Health and Human Resources has handed out about $2 million to various organizations to fund peer recovery coaches to help in the opioid epidemic.

The coaches act as a mentor for overcoming personal obstacles. They also help individuals discover resources for treatment and recovery.

Susie Mullens, interim director of the Office of Drug Control Policy, said this can helps with a coach’s own recovery too.

“A lot of people who are in recovery will tell you they have to give it away to keep it,” she said. “It helps them to help someone else in their own recovery.”

Mullens said peer recovery coaches are different than clinicians.

“Obviously a clinician has a certain set of skills and people operate within their scope of practice and expertise, but engaging with a peer specialist is really a corner stone. It helps them in ways that a clinical person isn’t really able to help them,” she said.

A person has to want to go into recovery, and when they do, Mullens said timing means everything.

“When people are ready for help and ready to get into treatment and recovery, they’re ready right now. To have to wait 24 hours, 72 hours, 2 weeks, 2 months, we lose that opportunity to help somebody when their readiness is at its best,” she said.

The federal funding comes from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration’s State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants.

Sub-grantees receiving funding for these projects include:

  • Drug Free Mother Baby in the Greenbrier Valley
  • FMRS Health Systems Inc.
  • Greenbrier Day Report Center
  • Harrison County Commission
  • Hampshire County Pathways