Wednesday, June 8, 2016

At the TCE-PTP June 6-8 session in Washington, DC

Andre Johnson: Making a Difference in Detroit's Recovery


It was a real honor to participate at the TCE-PTP Grantee Meeting held at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC, between 6-8 June (2016). At the session, Andre Johnson, 46, a Detroit native and CEO of the Detroit Recovery Project, was one of several speakers who discussed addiction recovery today in the United States.
Andre Johnson

The Detroit Recovery Project is considered by many to be a model in community recovery intervention. Most recently, in April this year, Mr. Johnson was honored for his work " respond to a nationwide problem with prescription opioid and heroin abuse" at the White House by President Obama. 

Mr. Johnson traced the beginning of his organization back to 2003, when a conversation between two of his mentors, Mr. Alan Bray and Dr. Calvin Trent, culminated in the seed from which Mr. Johnson's organization would grow. 

"First, [the Detroit Recovery Project] began with a Recovery Committee, then it became a Recovery. Along the way, Mr. Johnson said, the group sought out the advice and counsel of then-Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) Dr. H. Wesley Clark

What began as a conversation about making a difference concluded in an organization that has, indeed, made a difference in fighting addiction in the Motor City. 

Mr. Johnson said that, when his organization began, it was not perfect in providing services to those who need them. However, by working diligently to improve the Detroit Recovery Project, and its approach of Peer to Peer (PTP) counseling, the result has been individuals in his community finding recovery where they might otherwise have not. 

Mr. Johnson lauded the PTP approach and encouraged other organizations throughout the nation, at the TCE-PTP event, to continue similar work at their organizations. 

(Jim Purcell is a graduate of the NY Theological Seminary who works in the area of addictions recovery. He is a United States Army veteran and a former journalist for such publications as The Star-Ledger, Jersey Journal and Ocean County Observer, among others.)