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Morehead Healthcare Partnership Sees Expanded Peer Support Program for Substance Use Patients

Alexander Korzh, 123RF Stock Photo

A partnership between St. Claire HealthCare and Edgewater Recovery in Morehead hopes to help grant more accessible treatment to Eastern Kentuckians suffering from substance use disorder.

The two health organizations hope to reach out to those suffering from the disorder by creating a peer support program based at the hospital. The specialists give patients support during their recovery process and are part of the hospital’s care team as consultants.

Donald Lloyd is the President and CEO of St. Claire’s. He said many peer support workers have gone through the recovery process themselves and help patients through that shared experience.

“There is a collegiality and a camaraderie and an understanding from a patient when a peer support counselor is there and says, ‘Hey, I know exactly where you are in the world today, I was there once myself, and that I'm here to help,” Lloyd said.

The program is also meant to address a shortage of healthcare workers. Lloyd said it’s meant to be a support system for those who struggle to find work because of their addiction. The hospital is in need of not just health professionals, but also non-clinical positions like accountants and engineers.

“We've met individuals that were holding graduate degrees or postgraduate degrees, but that developed this illness called addiction, and could no longer practice professionally,” Lloyd said. “If we can be a solution or bridge, then that is an opportunity for us.”

Those in the program who fully recover are offered scholarships by St. Claire’s and guaranteed employment at the hospital after graduation if they agree to work there for a set number of years.

Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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