Local organizations collaborate to address substance use disorder
PARKERSBURG, W.Va (WTAP) - An organization in the Mid-Ohio Valley is looking for new ways to address the issue of substance use. The Substance Use Disorder Collaborative works to synchronize the efforts of those in the Mid-Ohio Valley striving to help individuals struggling with substance use. It receives support from a number of area organizations, including the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, Sisters Health Foundation, The Bernard McDonough Foundation, West Virginia University at Parkersburg, United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, and the Fenton Foundation.
John Liete, the collaborative’s director, explained that the organizations that now support the collaborative had noticed something of a lack of coordination between those providing services relating to substance use locally, and they decided to come together to help bridge that gap.
“[The organizations] had been in conversations over the last couple of years and a common theme that they had continued to hear was that there is a significant focus in our region on addressing substance use disorders, a lot of people are doing really great work, but that activity is not always well aligned, and that can lead to confusion or even barriers to accessing that system,” Liete said.
The goal of the collaborative and Liete’s work is to learn about what the various organizations in the community are doing to support those struggling with substance use, and then to facilitate efforts to ensure their work is complementary and connected.
One recent project involves assisting those struggling with substance use to carve a pathway to stable employment. This includes providing access to training programs, encouraging and incentivizing employers to commit to hiring those who have struggled with substance use, and removing barriers to employment, particularly transportation areas. Liete’s work involves coordinating the efforts of those providing related services.
In addition, Liete said another goal is to gather data to help dispel what might be misconceptions about substance use in the area and to demonstrate the impact of various programs.
“I frequently hear that, because we have so many treatment and recovery centers [in the Mid-Ohio Valley], people are sent to our community and then they’re leaving those facilities and staying here and contributing to the homeless population. Well that may be, but I haven’t seen any hard data to say that is happening...And if it is happening, how do we work to address it? How do we connect those folks to stable housing or work with them to help them get back to a treatment facility or back to their community?” Liete said.
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