Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton announced on November 1 a new Recovery Coach Program for addicted persons. He called this program the first step in helping individuals on the road to recovery.
Dalton was joined by several municipal police chiefs and executives of Gloucester County’s two hospitals as he made the announcement.
As part of the program, police who administer the heroin overdose antidote Narcan offer individuals the opportunity to meet with a recovery coach once he or she is stabilized at a hospital, but before being discharged. The trained coaches will encourage and guide addicted persons into treatment and support them afterward.
Police may also offer the services of a recovery coach to anyone who would benefit, even in a non-Narcan encounter.
Recovery coaches are an expansion of a two-year-old agreement with Inspira Health Network and Kennedy Health to replace Narcan doses as police departments use them, Dalton said. “To date, they’ve helped 240 people who were resuscitated after being administered Narcan in Gloucester County.”
The Recovery Coach Program is the next step that helps individuals receive treatment.
City of Angels NJ Inc., (COA) is providing recovery coach training. The non-profit helps addicts find treatment and also supports their recovery.
Recovery coaches will be knowledgeable about treatment programs in the State and around the U.S., and will also provide emotional support to those who struggle with addiction, Dalton said.
Similar programs around N.J. report 80 percent of those who receive Narcan accept a recovery coach, the prosecutor said. “In Gloucester County, it’s my hope it will be 100 percent.”
Inspira Chief Executive and President John DeAngelo said his health-care network looks at the Narcan resupply and recovery coach programs as part of a larger collaboration between South Jersey hospitals to improve mental health services. “For us, this is something that is actually working and we’re very glad to participate in it.”
Kennedy Health CEO Joseph Devine said he was impressed that the coaches trained by City of Angels stay with someone for a long period of time. “The only way people can be helped is to make sure people are watching out for them and actually helping them through the process.”
Kevin Mear serves as COA’s chairman and his son’s death from an overdose propelled him from a public utility career into advocacy for the addicted. “In New Jersey, we are under siege with some of the nation’s purest heroin available,” he said.
Praising the police for cooperating with addiction fighting programs, Mear said: “They are stepping forward and recognizing that we are not going to arrest our way out of this. We’ve got to do more.”