MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — Helping those impacted by the opioid epidemic: that’s the mission of the Manchester HOPE Initiative. On Tuesday, News 8 got an exclusive look at the town’s renewed efforts to address this issue. 

“There are a lot of awful stories attached to Opioid Use Disorder, but there’s also a large subset of people who get to the other side of it and recover and go on to live beautiful, fulfilled lives,” explained Sarah Howroyd, president and co-founder of the Manchester HOPE Initiative

Howroyd co-founded the Manchester HOPE Initiative with the Manchester Police Department in 2015 to help those impacted by the opioid epidemic. Its mission is to give people the resources they need to begin their road to recovery. 

“If I can do it, anyone can do it,” said Howroyd. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

To continue their efforts to address opioid and other Substance Use Disorder issues in town, they recently partnered with the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR). Through CCAR, they now have a recovery coach, who works directly with community members.

“We’re actually the first town in the country to have the town pay for a recovery coach,” explained Howroyd.

Manchester Police said the HOPE Initiative has greatly helped them help those struggling with addiction.  “Our officers are kind of that initial contact,” said Lt. Ryan Shea, Public Information Officer for the Manchester Police Department. “We’re the gatekeepers to all of these other resources. Through the HOPE Initiative, we’ve enabled the officers to put them in touch with these long term recovery assets.”

Manchester Mayor Jay Moran told News 8 he’s proud of the work that’s been done and he’s encouraging other communities to take steps as well to tackle this epidemic. 

“I always say, ‘if it saves one life, it’s worth everything,’” said Mayor Moran. 

For more information about the HOPE Initiative and CCAR: