Opioid overdose, caused by heroin or prescription pain medication misuse, is life threatening and requires medical intervention. Emergency responders often use naloxone (Narcan) an opiate agonist that works by blocking the effects of opioids and reversing an overdose after being administered by injection (arm, thigh or buttocks) or nasal spray.
Mercer Council’s OORP is working to reduce the number of opiate overdoses in Mercer County by assisting in ending the revolving door or opiate use/abuse. Historically, overdose survivors have been caught in a vicious cycle of substance use, in and out of emergency departments, without being connected to critical resources that can lead them to recovery.
Our goal is to be this critical connection.
The Program employs Recovery Specialists (RS), Patient Navigators and a Clinical Supervisor
Upon receiving notification by the dispatch center, the RS will meet the patient at bedside to establish a supportive relationship and help motivate them to accept treatment. Recovery Specialists are uniquely qualified, as they are in their own process of recovery from substance use disorder and understand firsthand about addiction and recovery. The Recovery Specialist’s will support the patient though the first critical 8 weeks of recovery by face to face meetings, telephone calls and continuous encouragement and support.
The OORP’s full time Clinician fulfills the role as Patient Navigator. They link the patient with appropriate treatment and recovery services. They provide case management services in the life domains of housing, finances, healthcare, legal, employment and family needs. They also collaborate with treatment and detoxification provider to ensure the best coordination of care for the individual in need.
The OORP’s Supervisor is also a Clinician who oversees the Recovery Specialists and the Patient Navigator. The supervisor reviews all data, ensures quality assurance, demonstrates and imparts knowledge of addiction and recovery.
How a Recovery Specialist is deployed
All hospitals in Mercer County participate in the program through their emergency departments (RWJ University Hospital Hamilton, Capital Health Regional Medical Center, Capital Health Medical Center, St. Francis Medical Center) and all use the same protocol for treatment.
Hospital staff, EMTs and law enforcement officers contact a central dispatch center after an individual who overdosed has been revived by Narcan and has been brought to the ED. The central dispatch center contacts the RS on-call. After obtaining consent from the patient, conversation is initiated by the RS, motivating them to seek treatment, connecting them to resources and providing follow-up support.
The RS will be available for follow-up assistance for at least 8 weeks to help encourage them through the early stages of recovery and moving toward self-actualization.
Follow-up family care and support is also offered.