State to begin sending recovery coaches to emergency departments

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A change in the system could help your loved ones who are suffering from drug addiction.

At Lawrence & Memorial Hospital’s emergency department they often see the same overdose victims over and over again and a new program is aimed at stopping that.

The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will now begin sending recovery coaches to emergency departments. They will help people dealing with opioid, alcohol or other drug-related overdoses.

“Sadly some of the staff know them by first name upon sight,” said Jay Osborne who is one of the new recovery coaches.

“When people overdose there’s a vital window in which we can potentially intervene to help connect them to services,” said Miriam Delphi-Rittmon, Ph.D., Commissioner with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

The new program has been doing that for a month now with the recovery coaches who sometimes arrive minutes after the victim is revived.

“This is so far the first time people are being presented with the opportunity of going to treatment from the hospital as opposed to researching it on their own,” said Osborne.

And that could make all the difference. Osborne says they can often get addicts help they could not find on their own.

“We will call 20, 25 providers throughout the state and actually locate a bed and then bring them there in real time,” said Osborne.

43 overdose victims are now what they call recoverees. One man who was no longer welcome at home now has hope.

“What I want to share is without the support of these three coaches he would have given up Sunday night, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday,”said Jennifer Chadukiewicz who is with Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery, the agency providing the recovery coaches.

If the victim has a willing heart and no limits on location, Osborne says he can help.

“Inspire hope because once there’s just that glimmer of hope all things are possible,” said Osborne.

This new program is provided at four area hospitals in Manchester, Windham, and Norwich, as well as, New London.

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