NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Manatee Co. uses former drug users to coach current users

Posted at 5:08 PM, Jan 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-15 20:09:25-05

BRADENTON, Fla. — A drug treatment program that was started in Manatee County is going to be implemented in other counties across Florida. Tuesday, Manatee County Commissioners recognized the opioid peer mentor program. The program pairs former drug addicts with people who are trying to recover.

"They meet with them several times a week, coming out of the jail or in certain hot spots to help them seek treatment,” said program manager Joshua Barnett.

The program enrolled about 175 users. Barnett said not one user has relapsed since enrolling in the program.

“If I can take off the credentials and the lab coat and come to your house and share with you my personal story then you are more likely to let me help advocate for you,” said Barnett.

Barnett said he has secured funding for the program through 2019.

Manatee County mom Gerrie Stanhope is advocating for the program. Her son died from a drug overdose in 2014.

"I know they won’t quit until they want to,” said Stanhope.

She is glad to see the program being expanded for another year.