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Indiana Connects Hoosiers With Peer Support For Substance Use, Mental Health Disorders

WFIU/WTIU

Indiana is getting more people with mental health and substance use disorders connected with “peer supports” – trained professionals who have personal experience with those challenges.

Indiana Addictions Issues Coalition director Brandon George said the state isn’t just dealing with a COVID-19 pandemic – it’s also still struggling with an overdose and addiction epidemic. And he said COVID-19 has exacerbated that problem.

“We had hundreds, if not thousands of recovery resources, social supports, meetings, churches – all the places where people with substance use disorder go to get help – no longer accessible,” George said.

READ MORE: Recovery Resources Adapt To COVID-19 Social Distancing, 'Stay-At-Home' Orders

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Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Dr. Jennifer Sullivan said the peer support expansion, announced Thursday, will send at least 40 full- and part-time professionals to recovery groups around the state.

“These organizations include treatment providers, criminal justice partners, syringe service programs and others,” Sullivan said.

The expansion is funded by a federal grant.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.