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'Hope United' program to continue in 2023, working with people who experienced an overdose

The McNabb Center runs the program and it was initially funded through the United Health Foundation. It will continue due to funding from the UT Medical Center

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A program designed to help people who experienced an overdose in East Tennessee will continue through 2023 after the McNabb Center announced it would get funding from the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

The "Hope United" program started in 2018 when the McNabb Center received a grant from the United Health Foundation. Through the program, peer navigators work with the UT Medical Center Emergency Department and speak with hospital patients who were given naloxone for an overdose or have a substance use disorder.

The McNabb Center said these peer navigators provide a level of relatability for patients, as well as provide hope for recovery. They use motivational interviewing to encourage patients to pursue recovery and to hope for an "improved way of life." They also provide information about resources for patients, families and staff.

With that information, patients can take the first steps toward substance use treatment and also find help in securing treatment.

“We are grateful to United Health Foundation for helping us get this pilot program off the ground and to The University of Tennessee Medical Center for supporting our continued collaboration to provide these valuable services,” said Jennifer Hill, senior director of adult substance use treatment services at the McNabb Center. “This program not only benefits the individual receiving treatment but the community at large.”

Originally, the Hope United program was meant to engage 250 people who were given Narcan and help them enroll in community treatment services. After four years, the program has managed to engage with and help around 1,200 people.

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