-Holiday season can often cause those in recovery to return to use-

For many, the holidays are a time of joy and gathering with family and friends. For some, this period can be a time of sadness and worry. For those suffering from severe substance abuse disorders, anxiety can lead to the use of dangerous substances. For those in recovery, it can develop into a perilous return to use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates 40-60% of people in recovery will return to use at some point.

The City of Richmond, the Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) and Richmond Police Department (RPD) are raising awareness for recovery resources and programs available to help those suffering from addiction this holiday season. RAA has seen a 13.4% increase in suspected overdoses compared to the same period last year (Jan. – Oct.) and a 409% increase compared to the same time a decade ago.

Recently RAA and RPD were recognized by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District for a program called Project Recover. Project Recover aims to connect those suffering from addiction to recovery resources using peer recovery specialists assigned to different first responder agencies in the Richmond region. Over a five-month period this year, Project Recover had 344 initial contacts, 223 peer follow-up contacts and 497 outreach meetings/trainings.

“It is long past time to put aside the inaccurate and hurtful language we use when we discuss those with substance use disorders,” said Mayor Levar M. Stoney. “There is no room for stigma – these are our neighbors who are suffering from a disease. We need to offer compassion and alert them to these resources.”

“Project Recover has been an outstanding partnership and program for our agency,” said RAA CEO Chip Decker. “This has allowed our first responders to help those suffering from a terrible disease by connecting them with an experienced peer recovery specialist who can hopefully put them on the path to recovery.”

“Saving the life of someone suffering from accidental drug poisoning goes beyond the use of Narcan at the scene,” said RPD Chief Rick Edwards. “We are proud of being recognized by the U.S. Attorney for Project Recover, and urge everyone to encourage those in need to seek out these resources.


Learn more about Project Recover