September is National Recovery Month, which spreads awareness about how substance use treatment and mental health services can help people live healthy, rewarding lives. An important part of recovery is support, and peer support specialists are an integral and growing component of this support. Peer support specialists are people in recovery who use their lived experience to help support others.
Comagine Health subcontracts with the Oregon Health Authority on the “PRIME+” program, which uses trained and certified peer support specialists to help prevent overdose and injection-related infections, and support linkage to care. Starting with three pilot counties in 2019, the program now covers more than half the counties in the state.
In participating counties, peer support specialists forge partnerships with hospitals, emergency departments, EMS, health clinics and community agencies to engage individuals identified as at risk for overdose and/or experiencing substance use issues. The peer support specialist connects with the individual, either on-site or in the community, to offer support, identification of needs, harm reduction and daily life resources, and assistance linking to needed treatment, such as:
- Substance use disorder treatment, including medication treatment
- Primary care, infectious disease screening, care and treatment and other participant-identified needs
- Point-of-care rapid hepatitis C and HIV testing
“PRIME+ is an exciting partnership between OHA leadership in substance use disorder treatment and infectious disease prevention and community-based peer support organizations," said Gillian Leichtling, research and evaluation director at Comagine Health. "We are pleased to collaborate in a project that brings to scale a merger of interventions developed through our team’s research with OHSU and OHA initiatives.”
PRIME+ is supported by funds from SAMHSA’s State Opioid Response Grant and CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis.
Comagine Health’s Research and Evaluation Team collaborates with academic, government and nonprofit partners to conduct behavioral and physical health studies. Our work focuses largely in the areas of prevention and treatment of substance use disorders, controlled substance prescribing practices, harm reduction interventions, initiatives to promote community health and equity, and development and testing of tools for professionals and patients.