Kimberly Hunt was a popular student athlete, playing basketball and softball at the high school she attended in Roanoke County.
She never knew what hard drugs were until the summer before college, when she went to a party where drugs were plentiful. That’s when she first experienced heroin. And just like that, she was hooked. Her addiction followed her to college, killed her basketball dream and eventually overtook her life, leading to legal trouble and multiple rehabilitation attempts.
Finally, exhausted by the roller coaster, Kimberly took a job at a convenience store. After four months, focusing her energy on her job and working six days a week, she had given up drugs and even quit smoking.
Becoming pregnant gave Kimberly added motivation to stop using.
Now the mother of a 5-year-old daughter, Kimberly provides inspiration for others as a peer recovery specialist. It’s a new role developed as part of our multi-pronged effort to reduce drug addiction.
She’s part of a team of specially trained people in recovery from substance use and other mental health conditions who build trusting relationships with patients. The safe and supportive environment they create makes patients more receptive to care. Along with doctors, social workers and psychiatrists, the peer recovery specialists are a valuable part of our care team.
The program has done a lot for Kimberly, too. She now feels a sense of purpose and has regained her confidence.
“My arms still have permanent scars, but today I embrace them. I feel like this is what I was meant to do.”
– Kimberly Hunt, Peer Recovery Specialist