Enabling Staff to Address Triggers for High Drug Use and Overdose in Rural West Virginia

Addressing High Drug Use and Overdose in Rural West Virginia

Quarantines and closings triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated long-standing difficulties facing care providers in remote areas of West Virginia, a population already facing some of the highest rates of substance use disorder in the nation. During the pandemic, drug overdose deaths in West Virginia almost doubled. 

Staff at the Southwestern Regional Day Report Center (SRDRC)  needed a way to overcome the isolation created by the region’s geography and high poverty levels, an issue compounded by the pandemic. In 2020, the SRDRC turned to CHESS Health’s eRecovery Solution including the Connections app. Downloaded to their clients’ phones, the app provides a 24/7 connection to a community of support as well as other critical resources.

SRDRC clients faced considerable challenges in their recovery, with few physical resources nearby and a limited schedule of in-person mandated meetings – a schedule often disrupted during the pandemic. The Connections app offered SRDRC staff a HIPAA-safe way to communicate and maintain contact with their clients while also providing clients with an array of vital therapy tools, including Digital CBT, motivations, check-ins, and a moderated peer community.

Another feature SRDRC staff and clients see as highly valuable is the ability to join virtual support meetings, enabling them to meet those mandates from anywhere. 

“It has completely changed the way I interact with my clients and the way I provide treatment for my clients,” says therapist Jerrica Evans. “What helps us is that even our probation department has really brought into the Connections app. They speak very highly of it.” SRDRC staff can also utilize data compiled through the Dashboard to deliver detailed reports on their clients’ activities and progress to probation officials. 

It has completed changed the way I interact with my clients and the way I provide treatment for my clients.

Jerrica Evans, therapist

It quickly became integral to their work – and to the lives of their clients, who voiced a desire to continue using the app, post-pandemic. “With their cell phone being right there in their hands, it means recovery is there any time they need it, anytime they need help,” adds Evans. “It’s absolutely phenomenal.”

Read more about the full Case Study, Bridging the Gap: How SRDRC Transformed Substance Use Disorder Treatment in Rural West Virginia.

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