Peer support possible link to kicking opioid addictions

Published: Jun. 29, 2017 at 3:21 PM AKDT
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Fiend 2 Clean started as a Facebook page with inspirational quotes and videos to encourage people to stop using drugs. Then, it started growing, becoming a way to volunteer and connect people with the resources they'd need to stop using opioids and heroin.

Fast forward several months and Fiend 2 Clean creators, Karl Soderstrom and Kerby Kraus, both who are recovering addicts, have now pushed their program into becoming a leader against the opioid epidemic in Alaska. In May they opened two homes, one for men and one for women, where people who have recently left treatment can figure out their next steps.

"Our team members have lived experiences with addiction they've overcome addiction, they've graduated treatment, they've lost their kids, they've got their kids back and they're just trying to show these other folks, these new folks, how to do that and it's a lot easier to show them how to get there if they've been there themselves," Soderstrom said.

Soderstrom says peer support is non-clinical work. A person in that position essentially helps someone figure out how to get a job, a license, a car, insurance, make it to drug treatment and do housework. Most days start with meditation, scheduling and a chart listing everyone's chores.

"So when I got clean I needed to address my trauma, I needed to address my anger, I needed to do that in a treatment setting, but I also needed a job, a place to live, a transportation and I needed like a support group and a support network. Peer support really helps people navigate those non-clinical services. It helps them build those core pillars of recovery."