After someone overdoses on opioid drugs, the lifesaving drug Narcan® gives them a chance to live. But it cannot cure someone of an addiction or even help them avoid another overdose. Today, a special program addresses these issues by helping people take the difficult but important steps to overcome addiction, so they can return to a safer, healthier life.
“As part of the Opioid Overdose Recovery Program (OORP), we help patients find the services they need after an overdose,” says Anthony Brutico, DO, medical director of the Emergency Department at Newton Medical Center. “We also help those in the Emergency Department who are simply looking for assistance with addiction and dependence.”
OORP is a coordinated program between professionals from Atlantic Behavioral Health, the Emergency Department at Newton Medical Center, and the nonprofit Center for Prevention and Counseling, a local leader in treatment and prevention of substance misuse.
“The support for these patients starts right away, while the patient is still in the emergency room,” Dr. Brutico says. There, trained volunteers – “peer recovery coaches” who have had personal experiences with addiction – meet with them. They continue to work with them for weeks after their Emergency Department visit.
“Even someone who is strongly determined to quit misusing substances is likely to struggle,” Dr. Brutico says.
“The role of The Center for Prevention and Counseling after the hospital stay is critical,” says Lori Ann Rizzuto, a licensed clinical social worker and executive director of Atlantic Behavioral Health. “They connect people to the services they need, including those available in the community where the healing process continues.
Today, OORP’s success impacts people in over a dozen area counties.