Opioid Overdose Recovery Program
In 2016, to combat the growing opioid crisis, Eva’s Village expanded its substance use disorder services to include one of the first state sponsored Opioid Overdose Recovery Programs (OORP). This program has created a standardized protocol that health professionals, law enforcement and government agencies follow with one shared goal: to help break the hold heroin and opioids have on the populace. It is based on the understanding that while reversing an overdose can have a short term life-saving result, it also presents an opportunity for long term recovery. After the overdose has been reversed, many survivors are trapped in the cycle of repeated drug use and may not receive the necessary treatment and recovery support services in emergency rooms.
The OORP is simple in its steps but lifesaving in its results. When an individual has been reversed from an overdose, the hospital emergency room staff immediately contacts one of the Peer Recovery Specialists from the Recovery Community Center at Eva’s Village, who are on call 24 hours a day. The Peer Recovery Specialist – who is not only trained, but also in recovery from addiction - visits shortly after the patient regains consciousness in the emergency room. The timing of the connection is the linchpin of this innovative program and is based on the premise that the overdose itself may be traumatizing enough to motivate the person to make a permanent change away from opioid use. However, individuals who have come to Eva’s through the OORP say that the number one reason they were persuaded to enter treatment is the connection they make with Eva’s Recovery Specialists.
The specialist then assists with coordinating the next steps so the patient can go directly from the hospital emergency room to a residential opioid recovery program at Eva's Village (or to another program suited to the patient’s needs). "Each encounter with a patient counts as a success, because our Peer Recovery Specialists have opened a door to recovery by offering patients and their families links to support and treatment," says Cindymarie Dix, CPRS, Director, Peer Recovery Services at the Recovery Community Center, who oversees the program.
The OORP not only focuses on engaging individuals and family members immediately after reversal, but also includes a 90 day follow-up period to strengthen the relationship and to explain, advise and educate them about recovery resources. The three-month follow-up period is an essential component of the program, as it creates multiple opportunities to persuade individuals to accept treatment and support services. To date, approximately 80% of OORP clients have accepted or participated in some kind of recovery support.