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“GRaCE” program training addiction recovery coaches to assist local hospital


CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – A statewide non-profit called GRaCE, or Greater Recovery and Community Empowerment, is teaching volunteers how to become a point of contact for those admitted to United Hospital Center for an addiction related incident.

“This is a way that we are going to combat the opioid crisis in our community and not only that but leave with us a resilient community that can face any type of setback because we have people coming together, helping people,” GRaCE facilitator John Unger.

John Unger works with volunteers across the state, helping them to become advanced medical recovery coaches, going into emergency rooms and offering hope for those addicted to drugs.

“Doctors and the nurses can help the physical aspects of the emergency, but what about the social?” Unger said. “But what about the communal connection? So when a person is released or discharged, where do they go? This gives them support to help them make connections in those communities.”

Volunteers like Tina Clark are using the program as an opportunity to reverse the cycle of opioid addiction.

“Well, I know what it’s like to feel hopelessness and I think if we can just reach out and help one person the way someone reached out and helped me, we can just make it a chain of recovery,” Clark asked. “Look around at our addiction levels nationwide. You can see it doesn’t work. I think we need to be open and talk about these things and help people to realize that it isn’t something they need to hide.”

The program aims to show patients the path to recovery by also changing the way society looks at drug addiction.

“We teach them that we don’t treat people like objects, don’t do things to them,” Unger said. “Won’t treat people like recipients. Don’t do things for them. But treat people like resources.”

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