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A new program will make it easier for people to find help with substance abuse.

Partnership for a Drug-Free Community’s Recovery Resource Hub starts Feb. 3. The program will provide an impartial one-stop shop where people with substance abuse issues can talk to a state certified peer recovery support specialist and receive an assessment to determine the level of care needed. Treatment options will be based on that assessment.

Carolyn White, Employee Assistance Program coordinator at Redstone Arsenal, represented the Army Substance Abuse Program at the Partnership for a Drug-Free Community’s launch of its new Recovery Resource Hub.

She said she was excited about the hub because it will be a new resource for the community, including all of the contract workers on the Arsenal.

White provided information on the Army Substance Abuse and Employee Assistance Program’s efforts to aid its community members who are struggling with substance use at the event.

The Redstone Arsenal EAP serves current and retired federal employees, retired military, and their family members. Individuals and families may receive short-term, solution-focused counseling, assistance with community resources and referrals, and educational trainings.

One of the trainings provided is Prime For Life, teaching prevention and intervention skills for substance use problems.

Additionally, the Employee Assistance Program works with the Substance Use Disorder Clinic at Fox Army Health Center to refer eligible members to its 12 week intensive outpatient treatment program for substance use disorders.

Ann Light, Partnership’s associate executive director, said the goals for the new Hub include:

• Helping people find the treatment they need for substance abuse disorder so they can lead a healthier life

• Reducing the number of overdoses and deaths in the community

• Impacting the economy in a positive way because people are employed while in recovery.

Overdose-related deaths may be on the rise locally, according to Madison County Coroner Tyler Berryhill. There were 82 potential overdose deaths in 2019. Of those, 49 deaths were confirmed to be overdoses. The remaining 33 suspected drug toxicity cases are pending toxicology tests, Berryhill said.

There were 61 overdose deaths in 2016 compared to 73 in 2017 and 72 in 2018.

“People need help getting to the resources available to help them,” Light said. “During our annual forums on drug abuse, we heard parents talk about the struggles they faced trying to help their young adult children deal with substance abuse disease, only to see their children die. Their stories just broke our hearts.

“Partnership has been the community’s leader in drug abuse prevention and education for 31 years, so we knew we had to do something about this. Throughout 2019, we researched and worked on this program and came up with this plan with the help of a lot of advisers.”

Along with assisting people into treatment, the hub will also be an information resource for families and friends trying to handle the stresses that come with having a loved one who is addicted.

Funding for the new program has been provided by the Jane K. Lowe Foundation, City of Huntsville, the Huntsville Housing Authority, Colsa Corporation, Damson Automotive Group, State Sen. Arthur Orr, and State Reps. Laura Hall, Rex Reynolds and Howard Sanderford and $15,000 pledged during the event by Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner. Partnership is still seeking funding to support the program.

The Recovery Resource Hub will utilize a statewide helpline, paid for by the Alabama Department of Mental Health and federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The helpline is staffed by the Recovery Organization of Support Specialists. The helpline can be reached at 1-844-307-1760, and is available 24/7. Partnership’s office can be reached at 539-7339 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. All calls are confidential. No drug test is required.

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