RASE of York and Adams Counties was established in 2015 and exists to reduce the stigma associated with the disease of addiction as well as offering Recovery Support Services, Recovery Coaching, and Buprenorphine Care Coordination.

The York office is located at 18 South George Street, just off the square and in close proximity to many treatment and recovery oriented services and public transportation. The second office, located in Hanover, is located at 1 Center Square.

RASE of York and Adams counties lends guidance not only to the individual who suffers, but also to their families, loved ones, employers, friends, neighbors, and the community as a whole by providing a variety of services. One of those services is the “Warm Hand-Off” or “WHO” initiative. We asked Katelynn Henicle, who is a Warm Handoff Responder with RASE, for more information about this program. Here’s some of our conversation:


What is the WHO (Warm Hand-Off) initiative?

The WHO initiative aims to ensure that overdose survivors are provided with resources, access to treatment, and hope of recovery. The initiative was created for overdose survivors, but we serve anyone suffering from substance abuse disorder. We work with Gettysburg Hospital, Hanover Hospital, York Hospital, and Memorial Hospital. Not only will we refer people to immediate detox treatment, we also provide coordination for LOCA (level of care assessment), outpatient services, recovery housing, recovery support, and other resources that will aid the participant.

What has been the biggest success of the WHO initiative?

One of the biggest successes of the WHO initiative has been breaking the stigma of addiction. Through working with the emergency departments and local governments we have educated people on how to help those who are suffering. We also get to be an example of recovery in the community, allowing us to be a light in the darkest moments of people’s lives. There is a small window of opportunity to work with people after they overdose. The WHO program offers that immediate action right from the emergency department by peer support. The WHO initiative has also created the model for continued engagement. We follow up with people up to a year after our first encounter. This consists of aiding them with all resources at multiple stages of their journey. Some people may refuse treatment, but from building rapport during that encounter, they might call three months later for help.


What needs to be in place to ensure the future success of the WHO initiative?

For there to continue to be success with the WHO initiative we need to maintain easy access to treatment. Continued support and resources are required when battling the disease of addiction. It may take someone multiple times in treatment until they are able to maintain recovery. For WHO, employing people in long term recovery has been the most beneficial aspect I have seen personally. People suffering from addiction are more receptive to someone with lived experience.


What do you believe is the most impactful thing our system/community can do to help individuals pursuing recovery?

I believe the most impactful thing our community can do to help individuals pursuing recovery is breaking the stigma of addiction. This would create an effect on the lives of people before and after treatment. Addiction is not overcome in 30 days of treatment. Addiction affects the whole family, and the whole community. With an attitude of understanding and compassion we create an environment for recovery.


To find more information about the RASE Project, please visit their website online.

CHAMPION: Jeff Scheerer

Jeff Scheerer is a Recovery Support Specialist at Family First Health and is living in long-term recovery. He has been in recovery for 7 years – during which he has started a family and become an advocate for others in recovery or seeking recovery. We recently spoke with Jeff about the recovery journey.


How did you enter into a commitment to recovery?

It started with a lot of trial and error, and getting to a place where I could see the truth of my situation. I couldn’t get myself out of the hole that I dug. I surrendered to win.

Was there anything specific that helped you stay the course when the recovery process felt daunting?

Support from other people in recovery. I thought I could do it myself and tried that for years. Participating in AA meetings made the difference for me. The meetings become the glue that I needed to hold my recovery together and helped me to realize what the full spectrum of recovery looked like.


Tell me about your role as a Recovery Support Specialist at Family First Health.

I connect with patients as a person in recovery to help them define what recovery will look like for them – helping them to walk the path of recovery, being an advocate for them, being a truth teller, sharing experiences and giving hope.

Also, I am part of the newly-formed Rapid Response Team. Along with a York City Police Officer, I meet with individuals who recently suffered a non-fatal overdose – connecting with them where they are in the community and giving them resources with the goal of getting them into some level of care.


What led you to this work/what made you want to help others?

I was given an opportunity to become a recovery support specialist by someone whom I met in a meeting and decided that I couldn’t not try.  Many people have supported me through my recovery journey and I wanted to be able to support others in a similar way. I am very passionate about the work that I do. If I can help one person, that’s a huge win.


What advice do you have for families or friends who are walking the recovery journey with someone close to them? How can they best support their loved one?

Set appropriate boundaries and educate yourself on what addiction looks like. There is a fine line between addiction and enabling. Being able to support someone seeking recovery or in recovery is important and that support looks different for everyone.


In your opinion, what is the greatest roadblock to slowing down the Heroin epidemic?

A combination of a lot of things – such as: access to treatment, proper after-care facilities, education, stigma and funding.


What else should people know about addiction and recovery?

Recovery is possible! Without recovery and support in my own life I would not be where I am today.  We do recover!


To find more information about Family First Health’s Substance Use Services program, please call 717-801-4864, or visit us online.