TRANSITION BRIDGES AMONG ORGANIZATIONS AND CARE CONNECTIONS FOR PATIENTS
Your Recovery Solutions (YRS) is an evolving, expanding recovery resource in Las Cruces. striving to be a convener, connector, and catalyst for community change. We have the principles and practices of the Association of Recovery Community Organizations (see below) in mind in terms of goals/objectives and methods/processes, particularly their toolkit about starting up a RCO. Our “staff” are volunteers, advocates, and peers for medication assisted treatment (MAT) with opioid use disorders (OUD) and alcohol use disorders (AUD). Our “location” is an online web presence and temporary space use in several local agencies or businesses for some activities, for example, group meetings and education classes and using office machines for faxes and copying. An RCO start is to share space, then staff, and finally funds.
Two of our priorities are to eventually have some part-time paid employees for face-to-face “warm hand-offs” with persons who use drugs (PWUD) at critical transition points in the community and to have a fixed place that can serve as a single point of service for such persons transitioning from one provider/facility to another one or receiving care/treatment at multiple locations for different medical conditions or diagnoses.
Typically, the referral source may be the county jail with diversion or reentry programs, hospital emergency room/department, emergency medical services with ambulance or paramedic operations, or criminal justice agencies (drug courts, probation/parole offices). Ideally, a Recovery Community Organization (RCO) is an independent standalone entity that delivers recovery support before, during and after treatment that is based on concept that there are multiple pathways to recovery. The RCO serves as a portal to other community-based services by offering targeted intensive case management for persons with substance use disorders (SUD).
Other related YRS priorities are to share and implement evidence-based best practices to offer services to persons using/misusing/abusing heroin and prescription painkillers, methamphetamine and with excessive alcohol consumption. Additionally a major focus is to promote stigma prevention and reduction strategies for substance use disorders (SUD) among consumers and providers in Las Cruces, Dona Ana County, and southwestern New Mexico.
What we can do now to advance our priorities:
Maintain a website with helpline, social media with blogs and online dedicated, restricted groups, and telephone support with calling and texting features;
Participate in local coalitions and councils for drug issues to promote policy changes for better quality and quantity of alcohol & drug dependency/abuse services;
Make available training and speaker opportunities in the area;
Offer mutual self-help or peer support groups and relapse prevention classes;
Give PWUD a voice in recovery services; community advisory committees, focus groups, satisfaction surveys, complaint/grievance processes, employment of peer specialists;
Encourage cooperation and coordination among organizations serving PWUD, perhaps a health commons for a “one-stop shop” concerning MAT where multiple providers from different places come together at a single site;
Have a community-based team from several organizations that visits other organizations to provide services;
Advocate for public and private investments in local infrastructure continuum of care; and
Seek grants, donations, and volunteers to support YRS/RCO. In September 2018 the Amador Health Center received a notice of grant award for a competitive federal application in collaboration with several local organizations and with persons from YRS. The public and private entities committed to improving the referral network among themselves and elsewhere. The Amador Recovery Project, see summary below. focuses on alcohol, opioid, and methamphetamine use disorders.