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Last updateSat, 20 Oct 2018 12am

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    Friday, October 19, 2018-12:06:24P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Blue Ribbon Action Team brings back recovery support to community

THE CNMI Blue Ribbon Action Team, with the support of the Community Guidance Center or CGC, is bringing back recovery support to the community with an action plan to assist people who have alcohol, drug-abuse or mental-health problems.

The Blue Ribbon campaign was established in May 2017. Its members are representatives from the faith community, the Division of Public Health Services, CGC, the Superior Court’s Drug Court program, HOPE Recovery Center, the Division of Youth Services and other community service providers.

Herb Sablan, CGC substance-abuse-treatment supervisor and Blue Ribbon team lead coordinator, said the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration under the Bringing Recovery Support to Scale Technical Assistance Strategy project has provided them with training and technical assistance.

A four-day training session started on Monday and continued until Thursday. It was facilitated by Faces and Voices of Recovery executive director Patty McCarthy Metcalf and Peerlink lead project coordinator Robyn Priest.

Peerlink leader project coordinator Robyn Priest discusses  training and technical assistance with Community Guidance Center staff in their office at TSL Building in Garapan on Thursday.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. LirioPeerlink leader project coordinator Robyn Priest discusses training and technical assistance with Community Guidance Center staff in their office at TSL Building in Garapan on Thursday. Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

Voices of Recovery and Peerlink are based on the mainland U.S. 

Through the technical assistance extended to the Blue Ribbon team, Sablan said they can now easily identify target priorities. For example, “How do we continue to maintain individuals or families in the different services that we provide and how do we keep them at the forefront as we do this together?”

He said the Blue Ribbon group will continue to work as a team.

“In the states, different organizations are doing their own thing. It is kind of scattered, and nobody is communicating. But we are trying to work as one group in the CNMI…and address…drug and alcohol issues as well as those related to mental health,” he said.

Their goal, he added, is to “move forward and plan forward so we can help people pursue long-term recovery and maintain their wellness and health — it is a lot of work.”

Faces and Voices of Recovery executive director Patty McCarthy Metcalf conducts a policy training with members of the community at the Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center on Wednesday. Based in Washington, D.C. Faces & Voices of Recovery is “dedicated to organizing and mobilizing the over 23 million Americans in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, our families, friends and allies into recovery community organizations and networks, to promote the right and resources to recover through advocacy, education and demonstrating the power and proof of long-term recovery.”  Contributed photoFaces and Voices of Recovery executive director Patty McCarthy Metcalf conducts a policy training with members of the community at the Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center on Wednesday. Based in Washington, D.C. Faces & Voices of Recovery is “dedicated to organizing and mobilizing the over 23 million Americans in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, our families, friends and allies into recovery community organizations and networks, to promote the right and resources to recover through advocacy, education and demonstrating the power and proof of long-term recovery.” Contributed photo

In an interview, Metcalf said she has faith in the Blue Ribbon team because it is directly involved with the community.

 “And they have ways to find support in their community to deal with alcohol, drug and mental-health challenges.”

She said the CNMI has a lot of strength. “This is a community that cares, and it is the Blue Ribbon team’s vision and mission to help people. That is a big strength and a good starting point.”

She said the Blue Ribbon team has come up with three goals to make the CNMI more recovery-oriented:  strengthen partnerships among the community action teams; identify what their training and technical-assistance needs are so they can do even better; and build up their recovery community organization so people in recovery and their family members can be part of the solution by providing peer support.