The Sandhills Opioid Response Consortium, a partnership with FirstHealth of the Carolinas, has added 10 new peer support specialists who will help people in recovery from addiction.

The new specialists will serve people in Lee, Moore, Richmond, Montgomery, and Hoke counties

All of the new specialists are people living in active recovery with substance/opioid use disorder, and are certified through the North Carolina Certified Peer Support Specialist Program. The new specialists include Maxie Gleaton, Evan Coggins, Chrystal West, Kelly Simmons, Stephany Bonds, Franceine Atiebrah, Amanda Kempen, Vickie Grigg, James Smith and Mark Christopher.

“We are so thrilled to welcome these new specialists, and I am confident they will provide exceptional care and support to people on a recovery journey and those seeking treatment and recovery resources,” said Roxanne Elliott, policy director for FirstHealth Community Health Services. “They all have lived experiences, and they can demonstrate what we know to be true: the possibilities of recovery are limitless.”

Peer support specialists can help people develop a support system, identify goals, create and implement a crisis plan and provide positive feedback to individuals in recovery. They can also guide individuals who decide to use medication-assisted treatment and help connect people to additional resources for support, recovery and harm reduction.

“The Sandhills Opioid Response Consortium has vigorous goals to combat overdose deaths and overdose emergency department visits, expand treatment access and give more people access to recovery services,” Elliott said. “I’m confident that the new members of our team will make a positive, measurable difference.”

Driven by a shared goal that “all pathways will lead to freedom and survival from opioid addiction and dependence in the Sandhills region,” the Sandhills Opioid Response Consortium is a partnership of more than 25 health and human services organizations in Lee, Moore, Hoke, Montgomery, and Richmond counties. Funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, the SORC partners work each day to implement activities to address opioid use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery.

Stephanie Hoover, a peer support specialist with the SORC, appeared on an episode of the Friends of The Rant podcast in May to discuss the group’s work and how issues with opioid addiction have spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visit the group’s website for additional information and details on how to help yourself or others.