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Opioid peer coaching program to begin in Manatee

Program is first in the state
Posted: 5:38 PM, Jun 08, 2017
Updated: 2017-06-08 17:38:11-04

Jessica Zeilman said she was in a very dark place in the beginning of 2016.

"I was doing heroin and cocaine, you don't care about yourself in that hopeless state," said Zeilman.

She eventually found a faith based recovery group to help her get clean, but she wishes she would have found that support sooner.

"I found myself on my knees at my friends grave who had died from an overdose and I asked god to give me something that would change everything," said Zeilman.

County leaders are establishing the "recovery peer coach program" for current users. The idea is to pair past users with current users for guidance.

"They have the support of someone who isn't clinical, but someone who has navigated the struggles of recovery," said Health Services Manager Joshua Barnett.

Barnett said the program will be paid for by state funds.  It's one of the first opioid peer coaching programs in Florida.

"I absolutely thing it would be very effective if its done correctly, having someone to keep you accountable who has been there is a good thing," said Zeilman.