“Peer Solutions” works to sustain substance use recovery

Published: Dec. 20, 2020 at 5:38 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - The founders of a new business in Parkersburg say they want to meet people recovering from substance-use disorder at any step in their recovery and set them up for success.

“Instead of just spinning them off of drugs and alcohol, we needed to be able to meet the person right where they’re at and to help get them, literally, a foundation in life,” said Rich Walters, a co-founder of Peer Solutions.

Walters started Peer Solutions with his wife Shay, and her sister, Meranda Murphy, after noticing a need for improved recovery support in the community.

Walters and his wife have both battled addiction and have worked to help people in recovery. They said they have seen many people leave treatment facilities, or even prison, with no support system to help them get back on their feet.

“Some people have no family at all and they still don’t have their license, they don’t know where they’re going to sleep once they’re out of treatment, they don’t know how they’re going to get a job,” Shay Walters said. “So, us, working in recovery, have seen a huge need to kind of fill all the gaps between sober living or inpatient treatment or fresh out of jail.”

Working to fill those gaps are the “peer supporters” of their new business.

“One of the clients we took off the street, he truly was struggling and COVID made it even harder,” Murphy said. “The sober living homes and homeless foundations were closed or not accepting new clients. He had literally had nowhere to go. So we got him in and we got him hooked up with our Peer Supporter Seth Barnes, who we’re really proud of, he’s doing big things, really helping people. Seth has helped him, he has held his hand and been that person for him. This guy now has an apartment, he’s doing really well. He’s been sober throughout.”

Murphy said peer supporters do everything from helping patients get their license back to helping them find a job. And they are called “peer” supporters for a reason. All of the peer supporters at Peer Solutions are in substance-use recovery.

“That alone means companionship, Shay Walters said. “Truly, that is what a peer supporter is.”

The group hopes to one day have former patients working for them as peer supporters.

The founders also hope their business will help address the homelessness issue in Parkersburg, something Rich Walters says treatment facilities are often blamed for creating or growing.

“So, what Peer Solutions does, is try to capture that person. That when that person leaves that facility, that we want to get them assessed, we want to get them services, truly get them back on their feet and get them in a position where they can excel, and thrive in life, until they won’t become homeless, they won’t become a statistic out here on the streets,” said Rich Walters.

The founders say they accept walk-ins and referrals.

“We’ve had a few people that have just walked through our doors and they were like we don’t really know where to go, we really need help, and we heard you might be able to help us,” said Murphy.

The service is covered by West Virginia Medicaid.

Peer Solutions is located at 1701 7th Street in Parkersburg.

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