March 31, 2017
Educating the community about substance use issues and addiction is one more step to removing the stigma surrounding those in recovery, according to Lisa Smith of the Community Recovery Program (CRP).
Smith is the program manager of CRP, which is dedicated to assisting individuals who are motivated to secure employment, are drug and alcohol free, and who need support in various areas that will lead them to become productive members of the community.
CRP will host a documentary screening on April 12 at 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. at New College Institute, King Hall, located at 30 Franklin St. in Martinsville. The documentary, called “Anonymous People” is about the 23.5 million Americans who live in long-term recovery from alcohol and other addiction. It tells stories of addiction recovery advocates who decided to come out of the shadows.
The director of the McShin Foundation, Virginia’s leading peer-to-peer recovery community organization, will attend the screening, according to Smith.
“I want the community to know that people do recover from opioid, crack cocaine, alcoholism, and all types of substance use issues,” Smith said. “One of the best ways to get people to heal is to see other people in recovery. They say, ‘tomorrow, that will be me.’”
Smith is a cancer survivor. She said seeing and learning from others in the community with the same type of cancer she had brought her much joy during her recovery.
“They are working, taking care of their families, doing what they used to do and more,” Smith said of other cancer survivors. “Seeing them kept me encouraged. And it’s the same with addiction. People in long-term recovery can be a source of hope and inspiration for those in active addiction or early recovery.”
Smith added that shedding a light on the issues of substance use in Martinsville and Henry County will have a positive effect on the community.
“We have a terrible opioid addiction problem in our community – these people can’t keep dying,” Smith said. “We can’t act like nothing is happening. We have to educate our community about addiction and recovery.”
Over the past six months, CRP has provided services to 48 individuals. Out of those 48, 30 participants have gotten jobs at various locations throughout the community. As of March, no relapses have occurred, and 16 individuals have completed the program. Thirty-one participants are now enrolled in the program.
Although CRP’s focus is for its participants to maintain sobriety and obtain employment, they come to CRP with multiple needs and barriers that can include unaddressed mental health issues and/or family issues. All issues must be addressed for the individual to be successful at maintaining sobriety, sustaining employment, and leading productive lives.
With a small and focused staff, CRP can provide intensive services to all participants. Staff members include Smith, John Luther and Tonya Ingram, employment specialists and case managers, Mike Blevins, peer support specialist, and Jane Brown, office assistant.
In addition to serving those in active addiction and early recovery, Smith said they have what she calls “graduates” who have been more than a year out of the program who still contact CRP to get advice and assistance.
“Just because you don’t see us on a regular basis, we’re still here to provide support and guidance to you,” she said. “It’s wonderful when we have graduates come through the door and they’re able to interact with our participants.”
Smith also is planning to organize another CRP outreach event at T.R.A.S.H. Ministries, located at 4355 Virginia Ave. in Collinsville, on April 28 at 7:30 p.m. This event will include cardboard testimonies from current and past participants of CRP.
T.R.A.S.H. Ministries Pastor Mike Price said he was happy to partner with CRP for the benefit of his congregation and the entire community.
“Our whole ministry is built on the concept that the ones that are hurting are the ones that need our help the most,” Price said. “My heart goes out to those in the community on drugs, alcohol and everything else. We’re supposed to be the people reaching out to them.”
Referrals to CRP can be faxed to (276) 638-0439, mailed to CRP offices at 705A Starling Ave. or 24 Clay St., Martinsville, and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CRP is a program of Piedmont Community Services and funded in part by the Commonwealth of Virginia and a grant from the Harvest Foundation. Its partners include the Workforce Center, where CRP spends one day a week, and the Franklin Center, located at 50 Claiborne Ave. in Rocky Mount. To find out more, visit http://www.drugfreemhc.org/community-recovery or call (276) 638-0438.
Transportation is an important part of the wide range of support services offered by CRP. Gary Grant (right) is pictured with Mike Blevins, peer support specialist. CRP helped Grant by transporting him to job interviews and getting his resume finished.
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