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Support Mechanisms for Peer Specialists

Peer recovery support services (PRSS) are increasingly being offered across diverse criminal justice settings to address opioid misuse and achieve positive outcomes. The power and potential of PRSS come from the unique roles that peers play, promoting both hope and pragmatic steps for change. As peer practitioners move into a variety of roles in the criminal justice system, programs need to carefully plan and prepare to integrate peer supports into their portfolios of services. This preparation should include consideration of the support mechanisms organizations and supervisors make available to peer specialists to ensure systemic promotion of adequate self-care.

This session focuses on how supervisors and administrative staff members can:

  • Set a context in which peers can implement self-care.
  • Promote wellness throughout their organizations.
  • Identify common challenges organizations face when promoting self-care for staff members or PRSS programs.
  • Describe the steps necessary for developing a context of self-care specific to their programs.


Our presenters have a broad range of experience developing and implementing ethical frameworks for PRSS programs in criminal justice settings—from crisis response to prison-based programs to support for reentry:

  • Tom Hill, M.S.W., is the senior advisor for Addiction and Recovery at the National Council for Behavioral Health. He is a person in long-term recovery from addiction and has professional experience spanning grassroots community to federal systems organizing. Mr. Hill has worked to enhance lives and promote recovery through improved addiction treatment (including with medication), peer and other recovery support services, and harm reduction.
  • Linda Sarage, M.Ed., M.A., is the coordinator of the Addiction Recovery Coach Certificate Program at Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts. She is an administrator and instructor for recovery coach training, providing coursework and internship opportunities to help meet requirements for recovery coach certification in Massachusetts. She is also a Recovery Coach Academy lead trainer.
  • Ruth Riddick, CARC-RCP, is a certified addiction recovery coach (CARC) with a coaching, training, and mentoring practice at Sobriety Together. She leads all community outreach at the New York Association of Addiction Services and Professionals (ASAP) and serves as a curriculum developer and trainer at ASAP's Peer Workforce Initiative (PWI) and as a peer ethics advisor to ASAP's New York Certification Board (NYCB). Ms. Riddick has also served as a recovery subject-matter expert at the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) and the Opioid Response Network (ORN STR-TA).

To view a PDF version of the slide deck from this webinar, click here.

Several resources were made available with this webinar.  

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