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Sober Peer to Enhance Addiction Treatment

Adult and Teen Challenge USA will soon begin using Sober Peer as part of its ministry platform, making the program even more effective and far more available to individuals struggling with addiction.

“What would it look like to put hope within reach of every addict — online?” That’s the question Global Teen Challenge President Jerry Nance challenged leaders with more than seven years ago. Today, Sober Peer Enterprise and its social media Sober Peer App are just weeks away from going live — having been in beta testing for several months.

Gary Blackard, president and CEO of U.S. Missions Adult and Teen Challenge USA, explains that Sober Peer Enterprise is a measurement platform for addiction centers. The on-demand Sober Peer App is designed for individuals struggling with addiction to be able to quickly and easily access online, community, and even professional help.

Another key component of Sober Peer is that through its measurement platform it continues to quantitatively verify that faith plays a significant role in positive recovery outcomes.

Although Sober Peer might be viewed as “software,” science is what is taking place. Through ongoing daily surveys of students, it identifies how psychological, emotional, and social issues are interconnected, and influence the recovery process. In short, when a user enters his or her information/responses, the Sober Peer program examines hundreds of variables across the information of thousands of users, easily identifying patterns, which leads to recommended treatment for a successful outcome.

“Beta testing began in October with two centers,” Blackard says. “We now have 22 centers beta testing the enterprise portion of Sober Peer. The app has been in beta testing on a more limited scale with individuals for several months as well.”

Sober Peer Enterprise will go live in March in the United States, with the app going live in April. Nance expects the app to be available globally within 24 months.

“In the United States,” observed Nance in a recent newsletter, “we have multiple state and drug agencies watching and waiting to see how they might utilize the Sober Peer technology in other programs that are seeking innovative ways to combat substance abuse and treat addiction.”

In addition to enabling centers to more easily identify challenges certain students likely will face due to their past experiences and current states of mind, Sober Peer will enable millions of people, who would never consider entering a residential program, to get access to help.

Steve Trader, CEO of Global Teen Challenge, observes that another powerful benefit of the Sober Peer App is that it allows for individuals to stay connected even after they complete the program.

“The ability to stay connected is critical,” Trader states. “We still have too many graduates and folks who complete our programs who stumble and fall because they cannot stay connected. Sober Peer allows them to stay in almost constant contact with the same coaches and counselors who helped them from the beginning. Even in Beta testing we have seen how this can keep individuals from falling back into the difficult challenges of addiction.”

Nance says that Sober Peer is launching in English, but a Spanish version is not far behind. Other languages will be added on a regular basis as Global Teen Challenge addresses the needs of Teen Challenge programs in 129 nations around the world.

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.