Actions

Virginia program that 'offers hope' seeks funding for 2nd year: 'It is possible to change people’s lives'

Courtney Nunnally: 'This is definitely not what I thought I’d be doing with my life 10 year ago'
Posted at 4:28 PM, Oct 29, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- It has been nearly a year since a handful of police departments in Central Virginia implemented a program called Project Recover.

It takes recovering addicts and pairs them with law enforcement and EMS to offer guidance to those who overdose or are struggling with substance abuse.

Courtney Nunnally, a recovering addict who founded the nonprofit organization Addiction Uncuffed to help get people into treatment, partnered with the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Virginia for Project Recover.

Courtney Nunnally
Courtney Nunnally

For its first year, the project received a $302,000 federal grant to hire peer recovery specialists who have turned their lives around after waging long battles with addiction.

The program's supporters are currently searching for funding for a second year.

Nunnally has found that what once was her struggle has now become her strength. In fact, a decade later she is helping others that were once in her shoes.

“This is definitely not what I thought I’d be doing with my life 10 years ago,” she said.

Poster image (70).jpg

Nunnally is one of four peer recovery specialists part of Project Recover. The recovery specialists partner with Richmond, Chesterfield and Henrico Police Departments as well as the Richmond Ambulance Authority.

She said they bridge the gap between those that have addiction and the community. She said they work to reduce the stigma, get people addiction help and get Narcan (naloxone) on the street.

It is all with the goal of getting people help and reducing the number of overdoses.

“It is clearly possible to change people’s lives. It offers them hope,” she said.

Capt. Daniel Minton with Richmond Police Community Youth and Intervention Service
Capt. Daniel Minton with Richmond Police Community Youth and Intervention Service

Nunnally and her counterpart, Capt. Daniel Minton with Richmond Police's Community Youth and Intervention Service, said they have learned a lot in year one.

In fact, Minton said that before he met Nunnally, law enforcement nationwide tended to make arrests if they found drugs and assumed that would help fix the problem.

“We know now that cuffing people who are already cuffed to addiction doesn’t do anything good other than exacerbate the problem," Minton explained. "These methods actually get people on track to the road of recovery.”

But Nunnally and Minton said that the need locally is even greater than expected. As a result, they hope to get more local, state and federal funding so they can change more lives.

Nunnally said there are not enough recovery specialists to provide the support that is needed.

As Project Recovery nears year two, Capt. Menton hopes more people have experiences that make them realize that officers and these peer recovery specialist are there to help.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

CBS6-News-at-4pm-and-Jennifer-Hudson-480x360.jpg

Entertainment

Watch 'The Jennifer Hudson Show' weekdays at 3 p.m. on CBS 6!

📱 Download CBS 6 News App
The app features breaking news alerts, live video, weather radar, traffic incidents, closings and delays and more.