In response to the Opiate Crisis in Lakewood, the ADAMHS Board, the Woodrow Project, the City of Lakewood and Cleveland Clinic Lakewood Emergency Department have developed PROJECT SOAR, Support Opiate Addiction Recovery. This is a collaborative community pilot response program centered on peer support.
According to the City of Lakewood website, in 2017 Lakewood had 126 overdoses and 20 deaths; between January 2016 – March 2017, Cleveland Clinic Lakewood Emergency Department had 158 overdoses and 95 were known to involved opioids; and Naloxone saved 62 lives.
The first access point for PROJECT SOAR is the CCF Lakewood Emergency Department. Certified Peer Supporters may have their first contact with the struggling individual. The SOAR Team Home Visit is the second access point. The Quick Response Team (QRT) consists of a police officer, a fire fighter and an addiction services counselor. A third access point is the fire station, known as the Safe Station. All these access points allow the addicted individual to have contact with peer support.
Why does the program use peer support? A Peer Support Specialist is a person in longtime recovery, who can offer their experience to someone who has just survived a frightening, and perhaps life-threatening episode. The Specialist is the link between treatment and the larger communities of people struggling with addiction, such as treatment centers, sober living facilities, 12 step recovery groups — all phases of the recovery process.
PROJECT SOAR is an amazing and innovative program for the Lakewood community.