About West Virginia Peers
The WV PEERS initiative was created by representatives of the WVU School of Public Health (Injury Control Research Center, Safe Communities Initiative); Psimed, Inc.; Monongalia County Court; WVU Collegiate Recovery; WVU School of Medicine; and Ascension Recovery Services.
The WV PEERS program has been developed and implemented through a collaboration between West Virginia Sober Living, Inc.; WVU Health Sciences (School of Public Health, School of Medicine); and multiple Monongalia County community partners in emergency health care, law enforcement, the court system, treatment and recovery programs, and harm reduction programs, in an effort to help reduce morbidity and mortality related to substance use disorder in Monongalia County.
The WV Peers Initiative
Our primary goal is to reduce the number of opioid-associated ODs and OD deaths in Monongalia
Secondary goals include: 1) increase the number of individuals with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) who enter drug treatment and the proportion retained in treatment, 2) increase the number of individuals with OUD who enter mental health and/or medical care, and the proportion retained in care, 3) utilize PRCs to provide linkages to the law enforcement and judicial systems, 4) provide education about addiction in schools and in the local community at large, and 5) develop a model that can be adapted for use by other communities in WV and central Appalachia that are also hard-hit by the opioid epidemic.
1) Develop a cadre of PRCs to serve the needs of people with OUD in MonCo, 2) use PRCs to engage individuals transported to the emergency department for a suspected opioid OD, 3) once engaged, to train them about OD prevention and reversal with Naloxone, 4) inform OD survivors about local treatment, recovery and harm reduction services, provide linkage to these services, and maintain follow-up support, 5) use PRCs to engage individuals with suspected OUD who are referred by local law enforcement in lieu of arrest, booking, or prosecution for low-level drug-related crimes, to inform them about local treatment and recovery services using, and to provide support for entering and being retained in treatment, and 6) similarly, use PRCs to engage people with OUD who are referred from educational or social services settings, to inform them about local addiction services, and to link them to needed services.
We believe that WV PEERS represents a unique, comprehensive local effort to engage, inform, assess, assist, and ultimately link MonCo residents with opioid use disorder to enter harm reduction, treatment, and recover programs that will reduce their risks of overdose and other opioid use associated adverse outcomes, increasing their wellbeing, reintegration into society, thus improving overall county health and prosperity. Ultimately, this approach should reduce overdose rates and overdose deaths in a county that has experienced a rapid rise in overdoses over the past several years that shows no sign of leveling off or of abating.