Seven days a week, 365 days a year, Advantage PROUD helps to connect, engage, support, encourage, and walk with people who have a history of taking pain pills or heroin.

PROUD, or Peers in Recovery from Opioid Use & Dependency, can help a person who needs detox and stabilization, residential treatment, out-patient educational groups, individual counseling, or a combination of services.

In December, Advantage PROUD hosted a NARCAN (naloxone) training event for staff at one of its internal programs, the Homeless Day Service Center.

Catherine “Cat” Mills is the Program Manager for Advantage Behavioral Health Systems’ PROUD program and she explained that the “purpose of the naloxone training was to educate people on the effects that opioids have on the central nervous system, on signs of overdose, and on the use of Narcan (brand name) naloxone to reverse an overdose.”

The program also touched upon Georgia’s 9-1-1 Medical Amnesty Law, which provides limited immunity from arrest to those seek medical assistance or those seeking medical care on behalf of a person experiencing an overdose.

As Cat Mills said, “trainings are important to the work of PROUD because it is a way to engage families and friends of active users into a conversation about unmanaged addiction, signs of overdose, treatment options and the hope of recovery.”

But this training was only one part of the many things PROUD has accomplished so far. Recently, they were awarded funding by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities to expand the program and serve more individuals.

They also currently have 110 active participants and hope to grow to hold 200. Not to mention five healthy babies were born by the end of 2019 to mothers who were successfully utilizing Medication Assisted Treatment as part of their recovery.

But the PROUD program is only as good as the people who work there. Cat Mills is a perfect example of this:

“I am a Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist (CARES). This means I am a person in long term recovery. I have 11 years and 10 months since I was self-medicating to change my feelings. Today, I lift up my recovery and share about it because today I am accountable to my community, to my employer, to my family, to myself, and to my Higher Power. I am a mom, a supervisor, a recovery coach, a wife, a friend, a daughter, and I am grateful.”

With passion and talent, Cat Mills and the rest of the PROUD team are making a difference in our community. Here at Envision Athens, we have the deepest respect for the work you are doing to make Athens a safer and more compassionate space for everyone.

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