PORT JEFFERSON STATION, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Jen Brock was addicted to opioids and spent time in prison.

“I had a 10 year gap. No one was going to hire me based on my resume,” she said.

A nonprofit took a chance, and she is flourishing.

“Now is what matters,” she said.

Other recovering addicts are now hoping for similar success stories.

“Opiates. That’s what really brought me to my knees and had me begging to get help,” said Jessica B., who’s in recovery.

Help for her came in the way of a U.S. Department of Labor grant issued to Suffolk County, earmarked for those affected by the opioid crisis. It awards part-time temporary employment at nonprofits.

“The grant, we believe, is helping individuals make that transition back,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Stephen Brazeau directs Pax Christi Hope House Ministries. He hired Jessica after others said no.

“Giving people employment opportunities to feel meaning, function and purpose,” Brazeau said.

Friends and families say compassion and second chances can’t come soon enough.

“The opioid epidemic boils down to the human cost and damage that has been done to people’s lives, families and communities,” Bellone said.

The jobs program is not only for recovering addicts. Struggling family members who lost loved ones to the diseases of addiction are encouraged to apply, reported CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.

“You feel very helpless and hopeless, so this program really saved me,” Jessica said.

She chose to work at a homeless shelter that has gotten her back on her feet again.

So far, 50 Suffolk residents touched by opioid addiction have signed on to the jobs program. Many want to become New York state certified recovery coaches.


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