NANTICOKE, Pa. -- People recovering from drug addiction can now learn to help other addicts.
Luzerne County Community College cut a ribbon on Wednesday, opening a new institute where those who know addiction firsthand can become counselors.
Staff members at LCCC say this institute is available to everyone, but it is specifically designed for those in recovery from addiction, looking to become certified recovery specialists. Students in recovery we spoke with are excited about the potential impact.
After 25 years, Dan Shission is going back to school at Luzerne County Community College. He hopes to enroll in the school's new addiction recovery program and become a counselor.
"When I was first in recovery 11 years ago, I was seeing counselors who didn't have an addiction problem and I was trying to relate to them, and they were trying to relate to me and it just didn't work out sometimes. And now that this program came about, I was able to take the opportunity to enroll and hopefully help people out in the community."
At the start of this semester, a ribbon was cut and a check of $1.19 million was given to LCCC to open the AllOne Recovery Educational Institute which the college says will provide innovative and holistic support for students in recovery and get them ready to take exams to become certified recovery specialists.
"Connecting recovery with education, it supports the person's overall wellbeing and helps them to strive to reach their full potential. Having an atmosphere in a college where you can go and be with likeminded people who are in recovery, supports that recovery," said John Fabiseski, certified recovery specialist.
"It demonstrates that as part of our community, we are aware of the epidemic of addiction. We are aware of the population of individuals in recovery, and we want them to come to an environment where they are going to be supported and successful," said Janis Wilson-Seeley, social science and history department chair.
Professors involved with the new program tell Newswatch 16 they've already encountered a lot of interest.
"It's continuous. The addiction epidemic has affected not just our valley, the whole nation, and this is continuous. I have six students (who) came to me yesterday on day one and said, 'I am here because I am in recovery and because of your addiction recovery program,'" said Professor Heather Jones.