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Press Release

EDVA Announces Grant Award for Certified Peer Recovery Specialists

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. – Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh announced today that the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) has provided $301,780 in grant funding for Project RECOVER. The funding will provide peer recovery support for Central Virginians suffering with substance use disorders during one of the most critical times in their path to recovery – immediately following an overdose. This support will be provided by Certified Peer Recovery Specialists who work with local emergency services, are in recovery themselves, and have taken training to help others who want to join the same life-saving journey.

“With the help of our partners and through this important initiative, we are focusing on long-term and community-based support through the deployment of recovery-related resources immediately after overdose incidents,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “By deploying Certified Peer Recovery Specialists who have training and life experience in the treatment and recovery process, we can provide mentors to those in need and allow them to embark on the path to recovery.”

Project RECOVER provides four Certified Peer Recovery Specialists and a supervisory Peer Recovery Specialist to support individuals in Henrico and Chesterfield counties, and in the City of Richmond, suffering with substance use disorders that result in treatment by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) or contact with law enforcement. All too often, once EMS and law enforcement have addressed the immediate trauma of an overdose incident and have left the scene to respond to the next call from the community, the victim is left without sustainable treatment and recovery options. Project RECOVER’s goal is to help fill this gap by providing individuals in need with immediate support from a peer who has overcome similar challenges and has gained real-world knowledge of the ongoing process of treatment and recovery. The grant-funded Peer Recovery Specialists will provide a handbook with resources and help guide the individual through the process of obtaining those resources. They will also provide a continuum of long-term support for the individual as they navigate through treatment and recovery. The Peer Recovery Specialists will also provide education and training to Central Virginia community members, including law enforcement, about how to provide proper support for those suffering with substance use disorders.

Project RECOVER’s partners in this community-based initiative include its sub-grantee, the Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance of Virginia (SAARA), Chesterfield County Fire & EMS, Henrico County Fire & EMS, Richmond Ambulance Authority, and the Richmond Police Department. The Certified Peer Recovery Specialists will be embedded within these partner organizations and will respond to overdoses with their partner agencies.

Project RECOVER was developed to address the gap in services described above, as identified by the Central Virginia Overdose Working Group (CVOWG). The CVOWG is comprised of over 330 stakeholders from 14 disciplines. It was created to eliminate the siloed structure of the substance use arena by bringing experts from multiple fields together to discuss issues, identify gaps, and develop solutions to the overdose epidemic in Central Virginia.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Updated September 30, 2021