On Tuesday, two guest speakers came to lecture — Chelsea Crocker and Pat Dooley. Crocker and Dooley are Certified Recovery Specialists (CRSs). CRSs, or peer specialists, are certified by the state. As Crocker described, “We’re like resource brokers.” They operate as the middle men for people in any stage of recovery, including the very beginning stages of treatment. If a client needs help figuring out what fines they need or pay, or where they can go for a specific resource or program, CRSs are there to help.

I’d never really thought about this as a job, but the more they talked about it, the more I realized just how vital it is. At one point during the class, Dooley mentioned that they’re not just different from social services in terms of their job description, but also in how they approach a client’s problems. They’ve come through roughly similar situations, so they’re more approachable to clients. He said that meeting someone on a peer-to-peer is the big thing.

“This isn’t treatment, it’s recovery,” Dooley said.

It’s interesting how similar themes continue to pop up no matter who is speaking in class (which is a sign of just how important these things are). One thing that was mentioned was the huge stigma that still remains against MAT. People are literally dying because they’re afraid of going to meetings that could help their recovery because they could be ostracized by the group for a solution that’s aiding them. It’s frustrating, and honestly heartbreaking, that this is a thing that’s happening.