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UCHRA To Provide Workforce Assist For Those Recovering

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
UCHRA To Provide Workforce Assist For Those Recovering

UCHRA will use some $5.3 million in state opioid abatement funds to provide treatment and workforce return assistance for those dealing with substance abuse.

UCHRA Executive Director Mark Farley said the funds will be distributed over three years. He said the organization will work alongside Vanderbilt Medical Center and a non-profit called One Tennessee to help victims of substance abuse continue to contribute to their communities.

“They’re still trying to be gainfully employed,” Farley said. “They’re going and filling out the application. They’re trying to get employed because they still understand that they need to provide for themselves and their families. Hopefully, this will give an avenue for us to work with individuals and be more successful in getting them treatment and getting them where they need to be.”

Farley said a Peer Recovery Specialist will be hired to work directly with those in recovery. He said the specialist will have experienced this path on their own, and have been trained on how to help others walk that path more smoothly. He said he hopes to hire these across multiple Upper Cumberland counties and eventually embed them in local non-profits.

“The one thing that we’ve been missing, because we’ve got certified peer recoverists on their own, operating in multiple counties, but none of them are ever tied to a network,” Farley said. “And what this will do is, this will tie them into where there’s dedicated resources. There’s dedicated training.”

He said One Tennessee is a 501-c3 created by Governor Bill Haslem at the end of his final term. He said the organization works with physicians, pharmacists, and hospitals to early identify addictive behaviors and move people into treatment before problems worsen. He said they received separate funding to create academic detailers to work with healthcare professionals to get people into treatment before they become a burden to society.

“The goal is that every one of you will have someone in your community that you can rely upon if you’ve got situations or you need guidance,” Farley said. “That person is there.”

He said Vanderbilt Medical Center will work as a treatment hub.

“What they will be doing is, setting up a system for where doctors and pharmacists, when they identity someone, they can refer them to Vanderbilt,” Farley said. “And then Vanderbilt will work with various treatment providers.”

He said long-term, if county leaders develop relationships with these specialists, they may be able to move the specialists into full-time positions with the county and continue receiving opioid abatement money once the three years of funding is up.


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