For those on the path to recovery, support from others is critical. Peers who have been through the battle against substance use disorder (SUD) themselves share a unique bond and understanding of the challenges that come with addiction and recovery.
To honor Kentucky’s peer treatment workforce, Governor Andy Beshear has issued a proclamation for the second year in a row recognizing Peer Support Appreciation Week (December 10-16, 2023).
Gov. Beshear highlighted the vital importance of peer support in recovery at a proclamation signing in 2022, commenting: “Peer workers are saving people, one life at a time.”
Peer support specialists use their lived, firsthand recovery experiences to help others who are seeking recovery from SUD. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) notes that through shared understanding, respect, and mutual empowerment, peer support workers help people become and stay engaged in the recovery process and reduce the likelihood of relapse. Peer support services can effectively extend the reach of treatment beyond the clinical setting to everyday life.
“We are thankful for Governor Beshear’s support and recognition of peer providers in Kentucky,” said Sam Dowden, who graduated ARC’s program. “We look forward to helping more people achieve long-term recovery by expanding on the conversation surrounding the peer workforce.”
Brandon Conlin, Director of Peer Support Services for ARC, has taken the lead in establishing a Kentucky affiliate of the National Peer Recovery Alliance. NPRA-KY brings peers together throughout the state, educates others on the role of peers, and develops best practices to advance the profession.
“Peers like Sam and I have unique experiences and insights to share,” said Conlin. “We want to give peers a voice and a seat at the table so that we can increase access to peer support services and help more of our neighbors and loved ones find hope and healing after addiction.