An innovative approach to preventing overdose deaths in Broome County is being recognized with additional funding.

Broome County officials were joined by local law enforcement and substance abuse treatment professionals today to announce a $262,000 grant for the Addiction Center of Broome County.

The federal funding will pay to hire two additional peer counselors and a part-time nurse practitioner.

The peer counselors are recovering addicts themselves who work with addicts inside the Broome County Jail, those in the District Attorney’s diversion program and make wellness checks on people who have survived opioid overdoses.

Family Navigator & Peer Coordinator Jill Lloyd says, “We’re giving people employment opportunities that have a history of addiction that may not have had the ability to work in this field.  And now it comes full circle, they get to help the next person so it’s also creating jobs.”

Andrew Sweet is an ACBC Peer Advocate and a recovering alcoholic and drug addict.

Working in conjunction with the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area or HIDTA Task Force, Sweet visits addicts who are referred by law enforcement, hospital emergency rooms and homeless shelters to see if he can assist them with accessing services from treatment to housing to public assistance.

Sweet says having two more peer advocates would allow ACBC to reach out to OD survivors within 24 hours, rather than two weeks. “I was flipping burgers before I was doing this.  I had really no intention of getting involved with the treatment field. It was just something that presented itself, and in my own program of recovery, I strive to be as helpful to as many people as I possibly can. This job just seemed like a good fit.”

ACBC is one of only 12 programs across 10 states receiving funding from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in collaboration with the University of Baltimore’s Center for Drug Policy and Enforcement.