Strong and sustained recovery from substance use disorder requires frequent access to transportation for medical treatment and services, as well as employment opportunities for long-term financial stability. However, affordable, safe, and reliable transportation can be difficult to obtain, creating a barrier to recovery.
To improve access and reduce transportation barriers, Recovery Point West Virginia developed the Routes to Recovery program, which provides free transportation services throughout Cabell, Kanawha, and Wayne counties for individuals in substance use disorder recovery.
Recovery Point received a two-year Core Priorities grant from the Pallottine Foundation of Huntington in 2020 to launch the program. Since the fall of that year, Routes to Recovery has served more than 700 people, providing over 11,000 rides across 40,000 miles to appointments for medical treatment, probation, drug court, education, employment and legal services.
In 2021, the Foundation awarded Recovery Point a Healthy Communities capacity building grant to provide technology that tracks data relating to the rides, including a rider satisfaction survey. To date, over 3,800 riders have taken the survey and nearly 99% have rated their ride experience as very satisfactory.
Tiffany McMillan of Beckley, West Virginia, started her recovery journey in September 2021 at Recovery Point’s long-term treatment facility for women in Charleston. She recently entered Phase II of the program, which focuses on building life skills and integrating back into the community.
McMillan said Routes to Recovery has helped her get organized and prepare for life after the recovery program by providing her with reliable transportation to and from services needed for sustained recovery.
“When I was out there doing drugs, I didn’t care about a lot of things and put it to the wayside,” McMillan said. “Now there are a lot of things that have to be done that weren’t a necessity for me when I was not sober. Routes to Recovery helped me a lot in getting my life back on track so when I leave the program, I’ll be leaving on a good note. It has been a blessing to my recovery.”
Not only does Routes to Recovery provide transportation to those receiving treatment, but it also employs graduates of the recovery program as drivers, helping them to develop a new skill set, gain employment experience, and become financially stable.
Amanda Wilson graduated from Recovery Point in November 2021 and was immediately hired as a program monitor. In May 2022, she moved on to become a Routes to Recovery driver for the women’s program. Wilson is originally from Jackson County, West Virginia, but has established permanent residency in Charleston to continue her recovery.
“I love my job,” she said. “It’s really great to watch the growth of the people you go through the program with. It gives me a lot of hope for the future, and I never thought or cared about the future when I was in active addiction. I think it’s really important for the girls to have a ride to doctor’s appointments and I love that we get to give them support and sometimes just talk to them one-on-one about their week. We encourage them that being in recovery is worth all the emotions that come with it. We really do become like family here.”
Recovery Point provides residential services in Huntington, Charleston, Parkersburg, and Bluefield. Brittany Lowther, project coordinator, said she and her team hope to grow the Routes to Recovery program to serve more counties throughout the state.
“Transportation can be such a barrier here in West Virginia,” she said. “Routes to Recovery is hoping to continue to grow and help even more people with rides. I would love to see us expand into other counties and eventually all over the state. We are in the business of helping people and I’m grateful to be a part of such an awesome project!”
For more information about Recovery Point West Virginia, visit www.recoverypointwv.org.