Oneida County Opioid Task Force Announces Peer Alliance Program

The Oneida County Opioid Task Force today announced the creation of a Peer Alliance Program that will provide training and support to individuals in recovery so that they can help others with Substance Use Disorder find their own pathway to recovery.

“Through personal insight, empathy, hope and honesty, the support of a peer professional can resonate in very effective ways,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr., Co-Chair of the Opioid Task Force. “We celebrate those in recovery who have transformed their lives, and we thank those using their experience to help save the lives of others. Our Task Force has seen the powerful and positive influence peers can have on others in our post-overdose outreach program. The Peer Alliance Program covers the costs for participants to receive training, work experience and the self-care support needed to accomplish this invaluable work.”

In addition to the Opioid Task Force’s teams that address prevention, treatment and overdose response, it also has a Recovery Team focused on initiatives that provide support for those in recovery including leveraging the power of peer recovery advocates or individuals with “lived experience” to help others with SUD.

Like many other communities, Oneida County uses peer recovery advocates for post-overdose outreach, street engagement and linkages to treatment, harm reduction and other social supports. They can also be used in many settings that interface with people with SUD, including hospitals, treatment clinics, courts and law enforcement programs.

The Center for Family Life & Recovery Inc., in collaboration with other Task Force partners, will lead the coordination of the Peer Alliance Program and provide training and guidance for eligible individuals to help them develop the skills needed to navigate the work of sustaining their own recovery while helping others. The project, funded by a New York State Department of Health Overdose Data to Action grant, supports one of the Opioid Task Force’s objectives to help establish linkages to care for people with SUD by expanding and integrating peer support services in various community settings.

“Addiction is not about the use itself but the dysfunction caused by use,” said Ambi Daniel, Director of Family Support Navigation Services for CFLR. “Recovery is about practicing wellness in action. Peer professionals offer one of the most powerful opportunities for individuals to practice wellness with support, insight, coaching and validation in a person’s journey. Having lived experience with recovery offers guidance from a lived perspective and opportunities to navigate the resources. The Peer Alliance Program is an important addition to our community that allows opportunities for the growth of the peer professional field, ongoing training of skills practice in coaching, mentoring and also an opportunity to build a professional network within our community that practices wellness together.”

Individuals with lived experience in Substance Use Disorder can contact Darren Toy at CFLR at dtoy@cflrinc.org or 315-768-2644 to learn more about the training program and enrollment.